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A referral is the second strongest lead in sales. The first is an unsolicited one. – Jeffery Gitmer
Sorry Jeffery, but I politely disagree. Referrals are by far the strongest lead imaginable.
Have you ever had anyone anyone call you business and ask for something you simply don’t do. When I worked for an advertising agency, there was another business with a similar name in town that rented giant inflatables for used car lots. About once a month, we would get an “unsolicited” call for a giant gorrila, of which we sold none.
Here are Sandler Training, we have gotten calls for dog training, personal fitness training, project management or technical skills training, all of which we do not offer. “Unsolicited” call-in leads are often one of the worst ways to find a potential client. In fact, it really only beats out cold calling.
Let’s talk about referrals and “qualified” leads that actually turn into business. Who do you think is more qualified to do business with you, someone who read or heard an advertisement or someone who was reccomended by a client or business partner who knows your business well?
Chances are that people who are reccomended, referred and introduced by your best client is far more qualified and prepared to buy from you than any “unsolicited” lead. Also, “unsolicited” leads are generally price shoppers, or browsers looking to do research or compare you with the other 14 bids they have. Referrals already see extra value you bring to the table and trust you way more than a number in the phone book.
Everyone wants the magic bullet of marketing to work, and no one wants to do the hard work of building real relationships, but the fact remains that it is the only path to consistent and sustained success in sales and life.