The best way to prospect is by asking for referrals, getting introduced, and seeing referrals from people who have bought from you.
The huge advantage is that the people that refer you, is that they transfer some of the trust they have in you to the referred lead. By introducing you to the referral, that makes the relationship stronger and now you are a trusted adviser, instead of a salesperson (In the mind of the referred lead). And because the client that referred you bought from you, there is the strong likelihood that the referral will buy from you as well, because the referral see the fact that their friend bought from you as a strong endorsement…
So why should you cold call as well? Even when you have plenty of referrals?
Because customers tend to give you referrals that share something in common with them. For example, you may be getting mostly names of business owners in the same business, members of the same club, people employed at the same place, family members. And what happens eventually is that you start seeing the same names over and over again.
One way to make sure that doesn’t happen is to ask for referrals outside the core group. For example, you keep getting referrals that are employed at the same business..or in the same industry. That pool of referrals isn’t infinite. Eventually you will be getting the same names repeatedly. So asking these people to refer people outside of their place of employment or outside of their industry is a good way to get “new blood” in your bank of referrals.
But another way to guarantee a fresh supply of places to call is by going some cold calling. A cold call outside of the core group of referrals. These new customers will then give you referrals of their own. A fresh supply of referrals in a new “referral chain” that will dilute your “Putting all your eggs in one basket” referral program.
When I cold call, I like to talk to people outside my immediate area, and outside the core business I’m working with. The reason is…if the economy changes…or demand changes…or you get replaced with another supplier..or “gasp” a new salesperson with talent……you still have a pool of leads that you can call without skipping a beat.
The added benefit of occasionally cold calling, even when you don’t need to…is that you retain the skill in case you move out of your area, and need to start this prospecting process anew.