by Jimmy Talbert
Any business owner, salesperson, or marketer knows that a powerful way to stand out in any market and stop losing to your competition is through the endorsement of influential people or companies. A powerful endorsement is typically given in one of two ways: A recommendation of your company, product, or service or, a referral with the name/contact info of someone who could use your product or service. If you are not generating enough recommendations or referrals that ultimately result in additional revenues, then take a moment to reflect on the following questions.
Who has Influence over your target market?
A center of influence is a person, company, or group that has inherent influence into your target market with the credibility to influence them toward your business. Identifying this center of influence is paramount. Once a center of influence has been identified, the biggest mistake that sales people and business owners make is the creation of a one-sided relationship. The one-sided relationship of asking, nagging and bugging an influencer about sending business their direction is the fastest way to ruin a potential long term revenue stream and additionally the brand that you have tirelessly worked to create.
Why does this typical method turn off the influencer?
You wanted to have a good relationship with this person, you were nice, thankful, and appreciative of everything they sent over. What could have cannibalized this valued relationship?
A relationship with a center of influence needs to be treated like a true partnership. Failing to create a true partnership will result in a loss of market position and strong hold of future revenues. A true partnership is built on aligned goals, vision, and must be mutually beneficial. In other words, failure to create a real partnership with a center of influence in your market will result in lost revenues. Your market is full of prospects looking for your products or services. Unfortunately, your market is also full of your competitors. They will buy from someone, you need to build these vital relationships with centers of influence to ensure they buy from you.
How do you align goals with a center of influence?
Create a partnership with aligned vision and goals. Aligning your goals or strategic vision with a center of influences goals and vision is an art; if mastered it will lead to the holy grail of revenue to your business. At the beginning of 2016 I had the pleasure spending time with an Infusionsoft customer, “Beth Davis” while attending a speaker acceleration conference in Dallas. Davis is the owner of Gold Star Referral Clubs and an author of books about building referral based businesses. Davis’ research shows that 90 percent of buyers prefer to get a referral for a product or service and 75 percent of satisfied customers said they were referred to the vender they purchased from. How does this fit with aligning goals and strategic visions? Happy customers deliver happy feedback to the referrer and reinforce that they did the right thing. It’s important for both parties to share goals and an understanding of how the partnership contributes to those goals.
In my experience developing relationships and strategic alliances. I have both strengthened and hurt these relationships by applying or forgetting one concept, “reciprocity.” This one word encompasses several key point—a mutually beneficial relationship, an aligned vision and goals, and consistent personalized communication.
The real question is, why is it so difficult for small businesses to create, grow, and communicate to a referral network? Simply put, most small businesses are pulled into so many different directions that they miss the opportunities to make the communication to their network targeted, timely, relevant, and personalized so that they can build relationships. The juggling of time, tasks and relationships is why the need for a CRM, marketing automation, and sales system all in one is so vital in the small business space.
Infusionsoft is the only reputable solution that truly provides all of this within the confines of a solution that’s affordable for small business and manageable by small business owners. Aside from a powerful marketing solution, Infusionsoft provides clients with free, pre-built strategies for their clients to plug in and start benefiting from immediately, just a few examples are:
If you’d like assistance developing a referral strategy or a sales and marketing strategy request a complimentary Growth Plan.
Jimmy Talbert is the sales conversion strategist at Infusionsoft. As such, he is responsible for the optimization and strategy of lead-to-sales conversion by the alignment of, top of funnel marketing strategies, mid-funnel educational strategies, and sales conversion tactics, while ensuring the lifetime customer value and the strategic alignment thereof. Throughout Jimmy’s five years at Infusionsoft he’s had the pleasure of working with thousands of small businesses.