You’ve heard, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” At Greythorn, we focus on both, considering we are selling the best and brightest in the healthcare IT field. But the “who you know” can help you expand your network and lead to more sales. There are several points in any sales process that can lead to the growth of your referral tree; from the initial outreach to ongoing client relations. With the right combination of communication and perseverance, you can increase your connections, and as a result your sales will grow. Here are 5 tips to help expand your network at various points of the sales process:
1. Networking – Whether speaking with an existing client on a regular basis or shaking someone’s hand for the first time at a networking event, there is always the opportunity to expand your referral network. Even if you determine your new contact isn’t the best fit for you or vice versa, they may know someone who is. Ask if they have a contact at the hospital that could be a good fit for your services. Getting a name to contact can make the sales process easier.
2. Cold Calls – This can be the most dreaded part of sales, but every call is an opportunity. With the end goal of expanding your network, ask the person on the other end of the phone if they can refer you to someone else that can benefit from your services. Even if your current contact doesn’t set up an appointment or place an order, it’s worth asking if they know anyone else who might be interested. There’s nothing to lose, so go for it.
3. Constant Contact – This one is much easier. You already have the account and are building a relationship with a customer. Keep it going. Add the customer to your network on Linked In, and browse their connections to see if anyone else would be a good match for your services. If you can come up with a couple of names, ask your customer, either through Linked In or in person, if they can make a referral on your behalf. Having the name is half the battle, and if your customer is happy with your service, the door is wide open for a positive referral to someone in their network.
4. Closing Time – If you just closed a deal, having found the perfect fit for a customer’s needs, this is the perfect time to ask if they have other opportunities for your services. Will they need other resources we provide soon? Are there others in their network that will have a use for the same resources? Immediately after closing is your greatest window of opportunity for referral.
5. The Lost Deal – A lost deal is not a lost cause. While you never want to see a customer go, a lost customer does not always mean an unsatisfied customer. If a customer’s reasons for leaving are budget or needs based, then this is still a contact in your referral tree that you can touch base with from time to time. Continue the relationship, and you may be first on their mind when someone in their network mentions need for what you offer.
Every conversation can be an opportunity to expand your contact network. With your main point of contact as the foundation of expanding relationships, ask “Of all of my contacts, who would be most in need of my staffing/business/product/services?” or “Do you have colleagues that need similar services to what we do for you?” Even if there is no quick connection, you are planting the seed for future conversations, even when you are not in the room.