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The ultimate sales app

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Salespeople love their apps — LinkedIn, Twitter, Salesforce, Google+, the list goes on and on. But the only app that’s guaranteed to do all of the above doesn’t require a smartphone, a tablet or even a computer. Plus, it’s 100-percent free to use by anyone on any platform.

I’m talking about referral selling, and its main feature is you. Your success isn’t determined by the number of devices connecting you to the outside world. It’s determined by the number of relationships connecting you to your prospects.

Some things never change

Over the last 30 years, I’ve seen technologies come and go. Many of them have contributed to the effectiveness of salespeople, but none of them has managed to replace us. There are hundreds of great applications that help us work more efficiently, but selling is (and has always been) a person-to-person business. Tweets and status updates will never replace real human engagement.

Referrals get you in the door

The sales process has only two steps: getting in the door and everything that happens after that. It might sound glib, but if you don’t get in the door to meet with your ideal prospects, nothing else really matters. Sure, you can craft spectacular emails or cold call prospects, telling them how you’ve helped others like them. You can reference trigger events and try every ploy to get around gatekeepers.

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But why waste your valuable sales time with a cold outreach when your call could be welcomed by your prospect? Referred prospects expect to hear from you. They actually want to talk to you because someone they know and trust has vouched for you. Your relationship with your referral source gets you in the door, and your sales savvy helps you close the deal.

Referral selling is the most powerful business-development strategy in existence. Here’s why:

  • You score every meeting at the level that counts.

  • Prospects are presold on your ability to deliver results. Your sales time shortens by at least 20 percent, and you arrive with credibility and trust already earned (not an easy task for most of us).

  • Referred clients are more profitable, their deal sizes are larger, and they’re more likely to offer you further referrals. Referral selling is your biggest competitive differentiator. You get in early and uncover problems before your competition knows what hit them. But to get those referrals, you must logoff, pick up the damn phone and have a real live conversation.

Bring back balance

New technology is alluring. It’s easy to get sucked into the digital universe. But while we’re constantly checking our phones to ensure we don’t miss something “out there,” we’re missing opportunities to connect with the people right in front of us. Our relationships are what really matter — in life and business. This is true for everyone, but even more so for salespeople, whose job is to build relationships.

So what do you do? Simple. Use technology to facilitate your sales process — to conduct research, find referral sources, organize information and provide buyers with the tools they need to make the right choices. But don’t rely on it to make a sale.

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