Sales is an admirable role in your organization because nothing happens until someone sells something. You can have the most incredibly designed product or service – and if you don’t sell enough of them, ultimately your business is doomed.
So as we begin Q4 in the calendar year, think about ACTIONS you can take to grow the number of conversations you’re having with future buyers, because of all the conversations you have, only some will be with qualified buyers. These are people in companies where your product or service can help them now, and not only do they see the value, but they can fund it as well.
I was recently asked what MY favorite growth hack for a B2B seller would be. It took me no time to respond. Although I have could have focused on improved social strategies, within LinkedIn, Twitter, and through content I have another strategy that reaps more rewards over time.
This idea actually can work through social connection – but it is not exclusive to it. It can be used with email, the phone, and through the mail.
"The Third List"
My top growth hack strategy is to always think about a third list.
Your first list that you have when you are in sales is your customer list, if you have been there long enough to have clients – periodically reach out to them to see how they are doing with your services, and see how else you can help them. This leads to referrals and upselling opportunities if you build strong enough relationships and always add value.
Your second list that you have when you are in sales is your prospect list – or “future buyers” list. These are the people in your pipeline you are reaching out to in a one-off basis. Gain insight about them and reach out. Then another, then another. It is a slow but strategic way to grow business – all the while learning how you can help these buyers based on their situation, their needs, and their aspirations.
Your third list – well that’s where the magic happens. This is a list of strategic referrers and strategic partners. They are people that can refer you and recommend you to multiple people on an ongoing basis. This could mean millions or multi-millions of dollars – just from building these key relationships and again adding value.
My friend Eben Greene at United Creations helps corporate clients develop authentic brands by uniting a company’s vision, voice, and values. His company works with bigger companies, and since it involves the vision, voice, and values of a company this means he needs connection to C-suite leadership.
Anyone working with executives at midsized and bigger companies could be a referral source for Eben and his team. A SaaS rep who just worked with a C-level decision maker could be a great introducer or referrer. A leadership coach or team could refer him in. An accounting firm already working with a big company could make an introduction to their CFO.
He could get an internal referrer who might be in another department, like HR, to connect him to their CEO or regional executive. Even though that person is internal, chances are they have peers at other corporations who could get excited about what Eben and his company are doing too. All these folks go onto the third list.
The fantastic thing about the people on this third list is that they can refer you over and over and over again. [This might be a good time to mention that you must add value to their worlds, as well – referring them or helping them solve challenges or attain goals.]
Grow your third list to 50 or 75 people – perhaps you start small and work to add one referrer every month. That’s 12 each year – within 3 years you’ll have at least 36 strong referrers and recommenders. Because of new features in tools like LinkedIn, it is easier to do this now than it was before.
Talk to the people on your list monthly or at the very least, every other month. Become the person they like to hear from because of your upbeat personality and ideas that help them grow their business.
This third list will grow you a solid, healthy business for now and for years to come. Treat those on your list as if they were gold, because they are.
I started this post sharing my favorite growth hacking tip because I was interviewed for a blog post of top tips. If you’d like to read the rest of the hacks, they are not on our blog but are good tips. Go here:
This is another one you might want to check out:
Lori Richardson helps mid-sized companies grow revenues by solving key issues in their sales department - like recruiting, retention, diversity hiring, process, pipeline and leadership. She speaks at CEO groups on topics of sales growth. Clients include companies in the technology, telecom, manufacturing, distribution, and professional services industries. Subscribe to the award-winning blog, follow her on Twitter
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