The secret to building a solid sales business? Five lunches and four breakfasts each week. That’s nine meetings a week. (It could be 10, but who wants to meet for breakfast on Monday morning?)

The magic meeting number. Nine meetings a week equals 36 meetings a month, equals 432 meetings a year. (A solid 52 weeks a year adds up to 468 meetings, but I subtracted four weeks for vacation and other things that get in the way—conferences, personal business, sick days, etc.)

Either way, the number—432— is staggering. This is what one of my clients asks his sales team to do. Do they reach that goal? Rarely. Selling is hard work. Continuing to expand our relationships and build our networks is hard work. But what a great return on your investment.

Set goals and stretch to reach them. In order to grow you need a goal. When your goal is to bring new clients to your company or your firm, your most important activity is expanding your referral network. Think of it this way: Say you have 200 meetings a year with potential referral sources. What if half (100) of those connections were to introduce you to a potential client?

Referrals deliver sales success. We know with a referral introduction to your decision maker, you will convert a minimum of 50 percent to clients. That means 50 new clients to your company. Sounds too good to be true? It’s not. But you need to work the process. If you work it, it will work.

Your biggest problem becomes following up on those great referrals. That’s a nice problem to have, and if you’re like me, you love having that problem. Nine meetings a week—go for it.

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Joanne Black is a professional sales speaker, sales webinar leader, and author of “No More Cold Calling: The Breakthrough System That Will Leave Your Competition in the Dust” from Warner Business Books. Visit www.nomorecoldcalling.com. © Copyright 2011 Joanne S. Black. All rights reserved.