7 Ways to Generate Referrals Without Cold-Calling
When we were kids, our nightmares were mostly based on ghosts, monsters and scary creatures our imagination lead us into believing they exist.
As we grew older and changed, even our frights and fears evolved. If you are a businessman, entrepreneur, sales guru or a salesman at the beginning of the career, there must be one thing you are not a big fan of – cold calls.
What are cold calls?
Cold calling is sales technic based on forming the contact with someone who hasn’t heard about our brand, service or a product, with the main aim of convincing them into buying your product, saying yes to your service or cooperation.
So basically, your main task is to raise awareness about your company and score leads you can generate into sales.
This technique can really upscale results, therefore it was really popular and efficient back in the days.
However, people have changed since then, and it’s a bare fact that they don’t enjoy answering calls coming from unknown numbers or picking up their phone just to realize somebody is trying to sell them something.
You probably feel the same when somebody tries to reach your private phone and amaze you with their offer (that most of the times you don’t need at all) and that’s why there is so much inconvenience when it comes to cold calling.
People feel uncomfortable performing cold calls, potential customers share their discomfort, and there goes the effort you put into the wind.
Does it really have to be like this?
Well not, not at all.
Developing alongside the technology and society, solid technics to avoid cold calling (yet achieve desired results) have come to our rescue.
What are the alternatives and how you and your entire company can generate referrals without cold calling – we teach you in the following article.
7 WAYS TO GENERATE REFERRALS WITHOUT COLD-CALLING
Now we go deep into each of the 7 technics you can use to generate leads without cold calling.
These technics have been proven to bring even better results than cold calling to some companies that chose to master them.
If you choose that as well, we don’t doubt you’ll make it to the stars.
1. Build Your Network of Referrals
Let’s face it, networking is considered to be one of the most important skills of 21st-century business.
There are countless companies and business giants that build everything on the strong connections they had.
It’s true, building a strong network you can rely on isn’t easy. And maintaining such a network’s loyalty is even harder, but mastering this skill is proven to pay off enormously.
You remember how we explained the behavior of an average citizen these days – not likely to answer your call as they don’t like being disturbed.
On the other hand, we live in a modern world where the most practiced way to socialize is on social media networks.
This is not a judgment but an observation – people spend more than 3 hours on average each day on their social media.
If you check the infographic below, you’ll notice how much social media has developed in previous years and how important it became to us.
No matter how old your targeted customers are, they will inevitably use technology in their own way.
Of course, alongside the difference in age comes a difference in types of the preferred social media network.
You can check the popularity of social media networks based on the age of the audience in the marketing chart below.
This chart can help you determine where you can find your targeted group based on their interests and hobbies and define your strategy for approach.
Don’t get us wrong – over usage of social media for entertainment is bad, but using social media in a smart way to get closer to your customers, build your own referral network and increase your business is an amazing opportunity window.
Turning your head away from this opportunity would be wasting your business’ potential.
In order to avoid that, we want to teach you how to build your network using social media.
Start by asking yourself: “Why do I use social media in the first place? How do I choose who I want to follow? How do I decide which brands I want to see on my dashboard?”
These questions might seem basic, but will get you where you want to go, we promise.
After you write down your answers (and it can be anything – be honest with yourself) we guarantee that you’ll find at least one common thing for all of the answers.
Without further a due, we’ll uncover that answer for you: value.
You use social media, you follow specific accounts, you choose what you want to see in your feed all with one cause: they bring some special value into your life.
Now that you understand this concept, you have to ask yourself what is it that you can offer to your network that will bring values to their lives?
Think about this and don’t refrain from going deep into this topic.
It’s crucial to figure out what is your unique value proposition you can offer to your network and make sure you provide them with it constantly.
It might sound scary in the first place. You might be wondering “Why do I have to give away my knowledge/skills/product/service for free? Who guarantees it will pay off?”
We understand that you feel the risk, but kindly remind you that the scariest moment is always just before you jump.
In order to empower you more, we encourage you to:
- choose a social media network or tool you find most relevant to your field (Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, e-mail, etc.)
- define one thing your potential customers would find most valuable and possibly couldn’t get from anyone besides you
- offer it to them for free for a month a see what happens
Offering it for free in this context doesn’t mean approaching them individually and offering your services for free like that, but constantly creating and posting content that will add values to their lives and start desire with them to follow you and eventually purchase everything you have to offer.
By “giving away” your resources for free, you become more transparent and valued. People recognize what you know and start perceiving you as an expert.
Once they see how your free material improves their lives, they will consider buying from you as an investment, not a cost.
You will build your referral network and eventually generate even more leads from it.
2. Focus on Your Current Customers
In your search for new customers, it might sound controversial to focus on the current ones you have.
But it is true.
In order to continuously get new customers and ensure growth in sales for the long term, you must redirect the focus of your company on customers.
Do you know what the most efficient way to gain somebody’s trust is?
Think about it from your perspective.
If you wanted to buy, for example, a washing machine, you would probably not go just to any store and buy the first one that you see.
What would you do in order to feel sure about buying some specific model of a washing machine?
You would ask for recommendations, of course!
And where do you get recommendations?
Well, from happy customers, which means that your current customers need to be your number one focus if you want to grow your business.
We have to mention social media once again and the huge effect it has on our lives.
Sometimes we don’t even ask our friends but check online what are people that we believe know the best are saying about some product.
You can think about this as an additional marketing strategy and engage an influencer to help you generate new leads.
All in all, word-to-mouth marketing is a powerful tool. If you use it correctly, it can bring a lot to your business.
And all you have to do is devote yourself to your customers and become completely customer-centric. They will know how to appreciate it and reward you for it.
For example, you can ask them to recommend your brand if their expectations were met, and in most cases, they will do so.
On the other hand, you probably won’t even have to ask them, as people enjoy sharing the good things and news with others, so they will either tell their friends and family about your company or post a picture on social media where they will praise you.
There’s no better promotion than the one coming from people who have experienced what you have to offer.
3. Ensure that Your Product is What the Market Needs at the Moment
Do you know how many entrepreneurs fail each year just because they have taught that their idea is the best and that it will change the world?
A lot, really a lot.
The fact is, every idea is a good idea, but not every idea is good for each moment and each market. That’s what you have to think about.
Instead of calling people and trying to sell them your product, how about researching whether they actually need your product or find it relevant for their lives?
Please do not feel offended, as we believe that what you have to offer is really unique and something special.
But we are not your customers, so the only group whose opinion you should worship is that of your customers.
How to know what your customers think about you?
It’s really easy.
There are different ways to approach your potential customers (without cold calling) and figure out whether your product makes a positive impact on their lives and adds value to it.
There are a lot of forms, quizzes, and surveys you can ask your target group to fill in.
The problem starts to develop when you have to recognize who was actually honest with you and whose opinion is relevant and useful for your idea.
There is a good book every entrepreneur should read, and it talks about communication with (potential) customers and getting to the bottom of your market (figuratively).
The book is called “The mom test” by Rob Fitzpatrick, and it teaches you how to ask the right questions in order to get honest answers.
It is the perfect book for you to learn how to figure out whether your offer is actually needed in your market right now.
Btw, it’s called “The mom test” because usually it’s toughest to get the honest opinion from our moms because they are always overprotective and want us to be happy, even if the cost for that is to lie and say something good about our product/service/company that they actually don’t believe.
Once you figure out how to ask good questions, go out and ask people.
After you collect feedback, you’ll have a clear picture of how relevant your product to your market actually is, as well as what exactly you should do in order to make it more customer oriented.
Once you get at least a couple of people on board with your product and ensure that their expectations are met, you will generate referrals more easily than you can imagine right now.
4. Collect Feedback as It is Made Out of Gold
And it really is! Someone once told me – “The best present you can get is honest feedback”, and that’s true.
You can learn so much from the feedback you get and improve your product/service/company based on it.
Who can help you improve your offer than people who end up using it?
Make sure that you collect feedback regularly. It can be on a monthly bases through the general messaging system (a common newsletter or email for all customers) or more personalized approach (sending the message, calling each person to check on their satisfaction after the purchase, etc.).
We recommend the more personalized one as this is the way to show that you care.
By asking customers how satisfied they are with your product and service, you show that you care about their opinion and satisfaction and destroys any idea of you being in this business only for the money.
So don’t be afraid of negative feedback!
You should really appreciate when customers are being honest with you, as that shows that they believe in your brand and potential for improvement and want to stick around and help you get even better, so they can enjoy even more.
“The mom test” should also help you learn how to collect feedback in a way that guarantees it’s honest.
Getting the answers should definitely not be your last destination, as now the most important step is to analyze the data you have collected and built strategies for improvement.
It’s not easy to make modifications and improvements, but you have to stick to it until you reach your goal.
The difference between the leaders in the market and average players is that the best ones do all necessary things to become and stay the best, while the average ones only think about and talk about what they should improve.
Talk the talk and walk the walk.
Embrace the feedback, put your customer in the first place, define strategies for improvements and execute on them!
Your current customers will notice the difference and make the extra effort to recommend you to everyone around themselves.
5. Build Referral Programs
Tactics and strategies are half of the work nowadays, so why don’t we build a special tactic increase number of referrals? You’ve seen this before definitely.
Almost every successful company build a referral program in order to gain more referrals.
CEOs who are smart enough will recognize this opportunity as an amazing investment that can bring them a lot of new customers.
If you, for example, charge for your product 300 dollars and promise to give your customer 50 dollars discount for next purchase if they bring you a new customer, you will highly increase your chances of getting that new customer.
We all know somebody who knows somebody who could benefit from products and services we use as well on a regular basis.
If we are satisfied with what we are getting and have an intention of purchasing it more in the future, why wouldn’t we refer it to somebody we know could benefit from purchasing it as well?
People sometimes need a little push, and that’s exactly the effect you are going to get if you establish such program.
Imagine that one satisfied customer refers to 10 new ones. That means that you would earn an additional 3000 dollars thanks to the recommendation.
If you are afraid that it just isn’t worth the effort when you give the customer their deserved share (10 x 50 dollars = 500 dollars), think again.
Even without those 500 dollars, you have earned 2500 dollars, you wouldn’t have if it weren’t for your customer’s recommendations.
Some companies even build internal referral programs, specially designed for employees. if the culture in your company or organization is healthy and your employees enjoy working, you will have a higher chance of getting referrals.
Just by promoting their work in your company, they raise awareness of your product.
If you reward them by increasing their salary for some percentage each time they get you 10 new referrals, you will find yourself with new customers in no time.
It’s maybe the simplest way to build a referral program, as employees already have a strong belief in the company.
Another interesting thing is that some companies choose to ask people who said “No” to them for referrals.
Let’s face it – if you have made a contact and connection with somebody already and you see that you can’t close the sale, don’t make your time and work pointless.
Offer them to still cooperate with you by referring their friends to you and award them for their help.
They might be in love with your offer but just can’t afford it personally right now.
Be thankful to your customers. Push them a bit to recommend you. Award them for being loyal to your brand and helping you grow your business.
6. Be Present on Events
If you are familiar with your target group, then you know their habits and hobbies. You know what’s important to them and what kind of events they visit.
Here’s the crazy idea: instead of boring and unpleasant cold calling, how about showing up on the events you know your target groups visits and talking casually and pleasantly about the things that are important to you?
Here’s why this is so important:
- By showing up on events your target group visits, you get to know them and learn about them
- Even if you go individually, you represent your company and raise awareness about it
- By showing up on events, meetups, seminars, and conferences you show that you are keen on learning and improving and that will help you gain people’s trust
- By having pleasant talks with your potential customers, you increase your chances of them becoming actual customers
There are even more positive sides of showing up on events, but let’s keep it on this as there are the most important.
We’re sure that some additional are popping in your mind right now.
If that’s not the case, make sure you attend an educational event as soon as possible, so you can experience the benefits from the first hand.
If there’s a chance for you to score a speaking place in the conference or seminar, you are playing to win.
By showing up, sharing your knowledge and adding value to the people who came for the exact reason to gain value, you present yourself as an expert and your company as the one that can provide your target group with solutions.
Go where your target group goes.
Get to know your target group and build relationships. Share your knowledge and earn their trust.
7. Be Unapologetically You
This one goes without saying, but we’re going to say it anyway. Be yourself! Be authentic! Show your unique value proposition!
Don’t try to copy others and try things that aren’t aligned with the brand you want to build just because it works for other people. It won’t work for you if it’s not true to your values.
Bear in mind the fact that your product or service can’t be good for and liked by everyone.
It’s the hard truth, and sooner you learn it, sooner you’ll devote yourself to people who actually value your company and what you have to offer. And that is the only important thing.
If you present your brand too diverse and shop up in a lot of different fields, nobody is going to believe that you are an expert in anything.
And you won’t be, due to the lack of focus.
Instead of trying to be good for everyone, present everywhere, and somebody you obviously are not, stay true to your values, brand, and customers, as this will bring you more referrals than just showing up with average performance in different branches would ever.
Whether you are a sales person eager to close more deals, CEO or entrepreneur, we believe that these technics will be more than enough for you to generate referrals and grow your business.
Always remember to stay true to your values, put your customers in the first place and use all your resources wisely, and we strongly believe that everyone would recommend you and your business with huge joy.
Good luck and stay the best!