A businessman presenting funding strategy to a woman

How to Use Referral Sources to Increase Sales

referral sources

Do you want to routinely meet and exceed your monthly sales targets using referral sources?

Want to increase your sales with a trusted network of contacts?

Want to have fun with new business development?

Look no further than your own database. There remains one constant truth about building relationships and new business development — even since the days of cavemen when one person recommended the best spear sources to one another. Your existing network is one of the best opportunities to connect with prospects and increase sales.

Referral sources = More closed deals

69% of companies with a trusted referral program will close deals faster. When you work in partnership with your network of contacts, it’s possible to close the majority of your referral opportunities. This is an extremely effective method to grow your sales, and the trust is a key component.

Cultivating referral sources not only increases sales, but it can enrich your life as you develop your network with a selection of people you know, like and trust. Building a referral network takes a certain amount of dedication.

Dr. Ivan Misner, the CNN designated “Father of Networking” and founder of BNI and the Referral Institute, points us in the right direction with his fishing analogy.

“Referral marketing is like fishing with a net. You think about how to cast the net to optimize your chances of catching fish. You choose a likely spot, throw your net and when you pull it in, you find a number of fish. You have a pretty good idea of how many fish you’re going to catch if you do this a few times, but you don’t know which individual fish are going to end up in your net. The fisherman concentrates on casting the net, not on the individual path of one of the fish.”

Referral marketing is ultimately the practice of building a base of customers and clients through support from your network of contacts. This is a systematic cultivation of business by referrals.

So referral marketing is more about intentionally growing your network as a system — regularly and consistently casting your net. Learning how to grow your network systematically for exponential sales growth is the new tool for a very old business development method.

Here are five steps on how to create a referral from your network to increase your sales.

referral sources 5 steps

1. Create trust in your relationships

A referral is a transfer of trust. A member of your network shows that they believe in your business when they give a referral. They are giving a piece of their reputation to your prospect.

The extent to which that this conviction is shared with your prospects has everything to do with how willing members of your network are to roll out the red carpet. Only strong relationships with a solid based of trust will create strong referrals. Build those strong relationships.

Takeaway: Strong relationships = Strong referrals

2. Share your business knowledge

Only 12% of your network can help you with a referral. These people are the members of your network who know you, like you and most importantly, trust you. You and these valued members of your network will need to continually share business knowledge with one another.

Selecting the right members of your network for these 1:1 conversations is key. They must have the right attitude, motivation and be in a strategic position to help. And, of course, you must have the right mindset to manage this conversation. Reciprocity is king here. You are helping one another with referrals, so seek out the ‘givers.’

Takeaway: Referrals come from strategic 1:1 conversations

3. Understand the needs of one another’s prospects

You and your referral source must understand and clearly articulate the needs of one another’s ideal prospect. Armed with this knowledge, you can qualify all referral opportunities for one another. At this point, the closing rate of the referral starts to track above 34%, going north to a 50% closing rate.

Takeaway: Your educated referral source can qualify your prospect for you 

4. Learn about one another’s solutions

Both you and your referral source must be able to articulate your solutions clearly to one another. Learning the elements of your solutions helps with preparing the way to a higher quality referral.

Takeaway: Articulate your solutions clearly = Higher closer rate  

5. Set up an appointment to connect

The overall goal of this process is to create the all-important appointment with the prospect, but make sure the right people are attending. Dedicated referral sources attend one another’s first appointments with the referred prospects whenever possible. This can help you achieve an 80% closing rate.

Takeaway: Make sure you meet together with the prospect and your referral source

 

Following these steps will help you effectively leverage your referral sources to increase your top line. It’s time to put these steps into action. Which network contacts will you reconnect with to set up your next referral conversation?

 

Paula Hope, Booked SolidPaula Hope, referral marketing expert, coach, consultant, trainer and author has been helping aspiring professional service providers create the revenue they really deserve for over a decade. Connect with Paula here via email or the Booked Solid website.

Diagram showing a list of latest findings

Recent Fundings – May 2018

A conference

7 Quick Ways to Prepare for a Conference (& Stand Out From the Crowd)

Prepare for a conference

You’ve registered for the event, booked your flight and scheduled the time off in your calendar. Done, right? Not quite. There are some quick and easy things you can do right now to prepare for a conference in the future.

Whether you’re looking for a new business opportunity, sourcing inventory, learning about tools of the trade or running a booth on the exhibition floor, there’s so much more you can prepare that will help you learn more and connect with the right people. Most importantly, you’ll stand out from the crowd, and that can help you close deals.

These seven things will make a big impact.

1. Set a goal for the conference

 prepare for a conference set goals

Time required: 15 – 30 minutes

Go into the conference with a purpose. What do you want to achieve? Who do you want to meet? How will this connect to the big picture strategy for your business?

Write these goals down — and if you’re attending with others, make sure you’re all on the same page. Just like a pilot needs a map and navigation tools, these goals will keep you on the right course.

2. Write on your business cards in advance

 Prepare for a conference business cards

Time required: 10 minutes

Personalize a batch of business cards before you pack your bags. If you have a booth, write your booth number or location, along with the conference name on the back of your card. People will be able to find you easier if you meet them away from the booth, and they’ll remember you when back home updating their contacts.

If you’re on the sales side, you could provide a special “conference-only” discount or product offer on the back of your card. Or simply write your basic goal such as, “Looking to improve our manufacturing automation.” Your card will instantly be seen with more value.

3. Connect on social media in advance

Prepare for a conference social media 

Time required: 30 minutes

Check out the conference schedule and website. If there are keynote speakers, particular vendors and industry experts that will be in attendance, reach out and connect with them online.

Your best bet to start is on LinkedIn and Twitter. Influencers and keynote speakers will usually be listed on the event website, so feel free to reach out and let them know you’re looking forward to their session. Mention you’re hoping to say hello during the event, and this sets you up for a familiar in-person chat when you get to the event. That can be a helpful icebreaker.

4. Start setting up meetings

 Prepare for a conference meetings

Time required: 1 hour

Time will be a hot commodity, and the most prepared attendees will book meetings and prep their schedules in advance. Do a bit of homework to target your must-meet attendees, and then reach out to set up a meeting.

Add all your meetings to your calendar, and include blocks of time dedicated to taking impromptu meetings. Also schedule your preferred keynotes and breakout session directly into a calendar that syncs with your smartphone. Now you’ll have a customized, ready-to-go schedule that you can reference at a moment’s notice.

5. Add the LinkedIn app to your phone

 Prepare for a conference LinkedIn

Time required: 3 minutes

If you haven’t done this already, download the LinkedIn app and login so you’re all set up. This is one of the easiest ways to connect with people in the moment — sometimes even a replacement for exchanging business cards.

At the conference, simply add new connections to LinkedIn when you meet them. This shows you’re actively engaged, taking an interest in building a mutually beneficial relationship, and it can simply help confirm you’re connecting with the right contact. This little tactic will make a follow-up touch-point that much more seamless, and you’ll be a step ahead for a continued relationship after the conference.

6. Prepare for a conference by learning about the city

prepare for a conference boston

Time required: 15 – 30 minutes

If you’re heading somewhere new to you, research the history of the city, main attractions, fun facts and little-known trivia. Why? Aside from finding a great restaurant in the off time, it’s a perfect conversation starter or icebreaker with new contacts.

Undoubtedly, you’ll chat with people about and make casual conversation — discussing the conference center, the hotel, where you’re from and if you’re doing anything else while in town. Having an interesting tidbit will keep your conversation lively, give you a back pocket conversation topic, and most importantly, will make you memorable.

7. Perfect your elevator pitch

Prepare for a conference elevator pitch 

Time required: 30 minutes

You’ve set key goals, are an expert in your field and know the value you can provide others. Wrap those three things up into a 30-second statement that you can easily repeat when you meet new contacts.

Think from your audience’s perspective as you develop this pitch. They will be asking themselves, “What value can this new person provide me?” Answer that question in your elevator pitch — keeping it succinct and bold. People will instantly see what you can offer and want to learn more.

 

Follow these steps and you’ll be ready to get the most out of your conference experience, connect with new prospects and help grow your business through those new connections.

The next stage: Liquid Capital’s Brian Birnbaum pursues new opportunities

TORONTO, ON – When Brian Birnbaum, Sol Roter and Barnett Gordon first came up with the idea for Liquid Capital nearly 20 years ago, the concept was relatively simple: to help small, medium and emerging mid-market businesses fund their growth objectives by connecting them with a network of local, like-minded funding sources. Their respective backgrounds in alternative financing and accounting let them see a need for local, engaged and invested lenders backed by a national network.

To make this vision a reality, the trio determined its mission would be two-fold: To deliver the best factoring and alternative finance solutions on the market and to create a robust franchise network through which to offer them. Today, Liquid Capital is the only franchise in the world to offer factoring and asset-based lending.

From the beginning, Brian Birnbaum acted as president of Liquid Capital’s two franchise companies: Liquid Capital of Canada Corp. and Liquid Capital of American Corp. Thanks to his leadership, the organization has grown to include almost 100 franchises —and has won more awards than any other B2B franchise, including the 6 consecutive awards of the Bond Top 100 Franchise, the Canada Franchise Choice Award for 7 years running, and they are the only company to receive the prestigious World Class Franchise Award for 12 consecutive years.

In the wake of these tremendous achievements—and having met his original mandate—Brian believes now is the ideal time to use his extensive experience as a springboard to pursue new opportunities.

“My experience with Liquid Capital has been exceptional. I’m deeply grateful for the long-term relationships I’ve built over the last 20 years—with my co-founders, our staff and our entire franchise network,” he says. “At the same time, I’m really excited to move forward to the next stage of my career, where I plan to leverage the extensive expertise I’ve gained in the franchise business.”

While the news is understandably bittersweet, Sol Roter, President of Liquid Capital, says the organization is well-positioned to weather the change—thanks in large part to Brian’s integral contributions.

“Brian has been a driving force in Liquid Capital’s success over the last two decades,” says Sol. “We are all incredibly impressed with his achievements and grateful for the impact he’s had on Liquid Capital. We look forward to seeing what the future has in store for him—and for the organization he helped found.”

About Liquid Capital

Liquid Capital is a full-service working capital and trade finance network and has been in operations since 1999. The Liquid Capital network has the largest geographic footprint of alternative funding professionals, with over 80 independently-owned businesses across North America, offering clients a customized and flexible approach with local decision makers. We offer a complete range of solutions for all industries and provide immediate financing upon approval with no long-term contracts or hidden fees. At Liquid Capital, we help you grow your business.