Get Over the Recession: Three Key Tips to Referral-Sales Success

The recession is old news. Get over it, already. It’s time to define your own business success with a proven, results-oriented sales methodology: referral selling.

I’m tired of recession talk. The National Bureau of Economic Research reported in December 2008 that the U.S. economic recession officially started in December 2007. That’s 19 months and counting…

It’s everywhere, everyday: Economic uncertainty, corporate reorganizations, layoffs, unemployment, recession news specials, large-industry bankruptcies, financial and credit industry crashes, foreclosures… Enough, already. I’m exhausted. And I’m tired of the malaise in sales:

  • I have no leads
  • No one will talk to me
  • I can’t get a meeting with key decision makers
  • No one’s buying…

… enough excuses. It’s time to stand up, take a deep breath, and construct your own business future.

Get a Move On

It’s time to move beyond paralysis, and take action. If you haven’t already shaken off the economic fear and loathing, now’s the time! Get moving with a solid, results-oriented business-development plan: Referral selling. Cold calling doesn’t work (it never does). Buying lists doesn’t work. Referral selling – and the tenets of a referral-selling strategy – help you get ahead, stay ahead, and ace out the competition in any economy.

Recently, a Selling Power Magazine survey asked salespeople their best strategy for this (down) economy. The top three (most popular) strategies were to:

  • Make more calls
  • Focus on better prospects
  • Improve sales process

Shouldn’t we always be focused on these strategies? A smart referral-selling pro always has these sales tips in mind–not just in a recession. You’re savvy. You’re resourceful. It’s time to get a move on.

3 Key Tips to Referral-Sales Success

Shake off the recession inertia with these No More Cold Calling tips. Referral selling is the only proven business-development strategy – in any economy. If you aren’t already onboard, start now, and get on the business end of sales success.

1.    Find a New Niche: This is not the time to do “everything.” No one wants a generalist. Decide on where your company is the expert, and the more granular you can be, the better. As an example, targeting insurance companies is too general-do you deliver the best value to employee benefits providers, financial advisors, senior market, life insurance sales? Technology is too broad-is your expertise in software, hardware, Internet, virtualization, storage, etc. And then go deeper. Define your niche by:

  • Geography
  • Type of buyer
  • Global vs. local reach
  • Channel vs. internal sales organization

You get the idea…

2.    Be Innovative: Unprecedented events demand unprecedented solutions. I don’t believe in the saying “Think Outside the Box.” There’s no “Box” anymore, and there hasn’t been for a long time.

  • Get critical: Get rid of your “sacred cows.” Toss processes and strategies that aren’t driving revenue.
  • Get fast: When the economy slows, the pace of your decision-making must speed up. You’ll never have all the facts, so go with what you know-now. Sharp, quick decisions.
  • Get focused: If the U.S. founding fathers could lock themselves in a room during a sweltering Philadelphia summer in 1787 to write the Constitution in just a few weeks, we can make tough decisions and tough choices.

3.    Dazzle Your Current Customers: It’s just important as (if not more) to care for your current customers as it is to secure new ones.

  • Get connected: Talk to your customers. Pick up the phone or schedule a face-to-face visit. Email is efficient, but it’s not personal. Find out how your customers are doing and explore specific strategies for helping them in their business. Customers are more willing than ever to think differently, and are open to new ideas.
  • Get smart: Your current customers are your best source of new business-both within their own company and to refer you to other people they know. Don’t neglect them at the expense of new business.
  • Get generous: Give something for free. Yes, free. Give your customers one of your services, training, or contacts. Now is the time to help. Period.

It’s time. Get focused, creative, and generous. You can succeed in sales in this – and any – economy. Your outlook and commitment to a referral-selling sales plan makes the difference in your success.

Are you tired of recession talk? Comment and let me know what you’re doing to boost your sales.