“A lead is like someone giving you a stack of business cards to call.”

While at a recent event at the Paul Brown Stadium, I was able to enjoy lunch with several professionals I knew through my affiliation with Business Network International (BNI). As luck would have it there was a lovely, young women who was also at the table who was not a member of BNI. The topic of selling came up and during the discussion the quoted comment above was said.  I immediately knew this was worth sharing, especially with those of us who still find ourselves cold calling to generate leads.

In my opinion, networking is a form of cold calling, with the exception that everyone attends an event for the same reason but without any doors shutting in your face, unanswered phone calls, or a gatekeeper that doesn’t grant access.  However, just because you did have a conversation at a networking event, received a business card, or were greeted warmly, there still isn’t any guarantee of any future business.  You are actually starting relatively cold with that lead.

With referral marketing the word “cold” is removed.  In fact, the correct word that should be used is “warm” or “hot.”  Why?  Because the sales process has fast-forwarded past all the networking, cold calling, follow up calls and emails ~ to the point that there is actually a need to address. This specific need has been uncovered by someone else you know well, who has told that customer he or she should seriously consider doing business with you.

Imagine for a moment how much more you could sell if your focus was on referral marketing. Imagine time spent in front of customers who want to see you versus being in the trenches looking for a way in.  Priceless.

Keep it simple.

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