We all know that a personal recommendation from someone we trust is more powerful than almost any other form of advertising. Whether it’s a film, restaurant, or book, when friends endorse it, we’re likely to act. Also known as word of mouth sales, referral marketing is an effective sales tool in generating b2b leads because we instinctively trust a business that someone tells us they’ve had a positive experience with. These days reviews can work as well as referrals, in fact, a handful of 5 star Google reviews can make all the difference if you’ve shortlisted a bunch of suppliers who look similar on the face of things.
Referral selling and reviews
Referral selling is not new, it’s actually one of the oldest marketing techniques. Unsurprising, therefore, that it’s as effective for creating b2b leads as it is for consumer sales. One of the best ways to improve a company’s performance is to offer an outstanding service in a sustainable way. This means charging appropriately and having happy, engaged staff on your front line who reflect everything that’s good about your business and its objectives. This turns clients into long term advocates, who respect and champion your business leading to word of mouth referrals, as well as good reviews. According to a study by Harvard Business School, reviews have a direct impact on revenues. They go on to say ‘a one-star increase in a Yelp rating leads to a 5% to 9% increase in revenue’. Simply put – the better (and more) reviews you have, the higher your chances are for building a reputation that is trusted and has a loyal following – inevitably leading to referrals.
Selling is only one of your success measures
Although generating b2b leads that convert to sales may be the ultimate goal of marketing, moving the emphasis away from selling can actually help you to sell more in the long run. Not selling at every opportunity will help you to build trust with your customers and will show them that you’re putting their needs first. Instead of always looking for ways to make a sale, ask your customers if there’s anything that you can do for them. The more you can find out about their needs and their requirements, the easier it will be for your business to offer a relevant and high quality service.
Although it can seem counterintuitive, listening is an important part of the selling process, especially if you’re trying to build long term business relationships. Ask about your customer’s long-term goals and the challenges that they face in achieving those goals. When creating b2b leads try to remember important facts about the industry and the individual business and add to your knowledge bank regarding all aspects of your customers’ requirements. The more genuinely interested you are in their business and their world, the more you’ll be able to adapt your products and services to suit their requirements. The happier your customers are with your products, services and performance as a whole, the more likely they’ll be to tell others about your company.
Seek out new ways to help
One of the main benefits of listening to your customers and taking an interest in their industry is that it will give you the perfect opportunity to show how you can help. Explain to your customers exactly what you can do for them. Don’t exaggerate. Be honest about the products and services you offer. Customers are much more likely to respond well to a realistic sales pitch than to one that promises them the earth and stars. If your company offers a high-quality service, competitive prices and great products, customers are likely to refer your business to other potential clients. To find out more about how to generate b2b leads, sales or effective marketing techniques, take a look around our site today.