22 Pro Hacks For Starting A Referral Program

Posted by Roman Bodnarchuk on Sun, Sep 25, 2016 @ 17:09 PM

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1. Scripts and practice. My perspective on this is not just gonna come from the marketing side. We take a full funnel approach, so I’m gonna be talking to things relative to marketing and sales. When you’re starting a referral program, when you’re asking your sales people, your business development folks, and your customer service teams to generate referrals, to ask for referrals, you need to give them a script.

If you don’t give them an explicit script, they will not be able to ask for referrals in the way that you want them to. They won’t be comfortable with it. The main reason why sales people have call reluctance is because they are not comfortable and confident in what they’re about to say, and what they’re about to ask.

Not everyone is going to follow your script word for word, but if they have something to start with they can personalize its, and then they can practice it. We don’t give musicians a set of music and send them out to Carnegie Hall. We don’t hire professional athletes and send them right into opening day, so why do we give our salespeople scripts right when we are starting a referral program, and then at the sales kick off say, ‘off you go.’

Practice breeds familiarity and comfortability and confidence. Give your team scripts. Give them some starting points. Practice with them. Encourage them to practice with you, practice with their team, practice with their peers, to become better.

2. Never use the Linkedin Tool to generate referrals. Please don’t ever use the LinkedIn tool to generate referrals, like ever. LinkedIn is a fantastic tool, as you all know, to find out who you know, who other people know. It tells you where all the relationships exist. But no matter how strong that relationship, if you ask for a referral through LinkedIn’s tool, it will come across as cold. It will come across as spam-y. Use LinkedIn to find the information you need to figure out who knows who, and then go to a more natural channel. Use the phone, do it in person, send an email. Generate that referral in a far more natural way.

3. Read Joanne Black.

Joanne Black is an author and a blogger. She is based here in the San Francisco Bay area. I consider her the queen of referral selling. Her second to last book is called ‘No More Cold Calling’. Her last book is called ‘Pick Up the Damn Phone’. She’s really big on referral selling. This book, for me, is a treatise, I think that’s the right word, on referral selling. Great examples, great tactics. Highly encourage you to read this book when you are first starting a referral program, or if you already have one. There are implications in here, mostly for your sales teams, that I would encourage you to teach your sales team how to do, but great ideas for marketers as well to create a systematic way of generating a referrals in your business.

Referrals are not a random act kind of thing. Too often we think of asking our sales to get referrals, and so we’ll get it when you can. Joanne will teach you how to do this in a systematic way, so this becomes a much bigger, much more consistent stream for your business.

4. Read To ‘Sell Is Human’.

Another book that I recommend is ‘To Sell is Human’ by Daniel Pink. This to me might be the most important sales book written in the past ten years. Mainly because it takes the idea of selling, and makes it something that non-salespeople are comfortable with. We do a lot of training and best practice sharing with account management teams that do not want to be sellers.

They do not want to be cold calling. They do not want to be put in a selling environment. This book teaches examples of selling that aren’t about selling; they’re about real people connecting with real people about things they care about. When you can do that in an environment that doesn’t require you to close, you are in a much better place.

Quick example on this. We had one of our junior marketing people go to a conference last year. She’s an introvert, and she wasn’t really excited about doing a lot of the parties. She was terrified to talk about Heinz Marketing when she went to a cocktail hour. She was like, “How do I bring us up?” I said, “Let me make this really clear, and really easy: don’t!

Have a conversation with people about what they care about. Have a conversation that is fun and engaging for them, for you. You can talk about business later.” Daniel has a bunch of great examples in this book. It’s a quick easy read. Take a 2 and a half hour plane ride, and you’re done. For starting a referral program, I highly recommend that one.

5. Use values-added assets in your introductions.

I frequently get requests from BDRs, inside sales reps from organizations saying, “Hey, you’re a friend of our business. I notice you know so-and-so. Would you be willing to make an introduction?” I say, “Sure. I would be happy to make an introduction.

Can you give me a couple lines to make that introduction?” The lines they give me are, “Well we sell a widget, and the widget does this, and we do these features, and will you take a demo.” It drives me nuts. I’m not comfortable making that introduction if I don’t really know if they need that, right? If you’ve got some kind of an asset to offer and to show, it makes the referral that you are asking for much more appealing.

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This is the front page of an ABA workbook that we did with a company called Integrate. It is a step by step tactical tool that can show you how to implement an ABM.

If you have a best practice guide, or if you have a recording of video from something like an event like this— you’ve got something of value that you can give someone that they can share on your behalf to make the referral—then you still get the introduction, but you do it in a softer way. You make it easier for those referring you, and make it more comfortable to do so. They are far more likely to do it if you provide materials for them to use.

6. Outro.

If you’ve heard of Quota Deck, it’s the same company, they just re-branded earlier this year. With this tool, basically you can go onto Outro, create a profile, and tell them what kind of people you want introductions to, and what kind of business you want to do. Other people will go onto this network and do the same thing.

You all say, “Here’s what I do, here’s what I’m interested in.” They will make connections for you. They will matchmake based on your common interests and common requirements. They will either give you introductions that you can then make on your own, or you can make it so that it is automated. Literally while you are sleeping, your sales reps can be generating referrals for themselves. Just like any lead source, some of those referrals are better than others. It’s a common source, built on common interests.

I’ve been using this in my business for a while, and it’s given us a good volume of leads, and actually some good introductions and opportunities. Probably a good tool from a sales enablement standpoint for your sales team, but I like it a lot 

 

7. Make yourself more share-able.

This encompasses a lot of different things. What is something that you can actually be known for, that people want to share you about? Be known for something that makes you memorable, that makes you share-able. If you go to my bio on our website, you’ll see that I live on a 105 year old farmhouse with chickens. I talk about chickens a lot.

You go to my Instagram feed, you’re going to see a lot of pictures of my kids, a lot of pictures of BBQ chicken. Those kinds of things make us human. They make us more memorable. If all you are is your business, if all you are is what you’re selling, that’s not as interesting. That’s not as memorable.

Make yourself someone that people care about. Humanize yourself. I think Jay [Baer] or Joe [Chernov] talked about this this morning: I’ve never met a building that writes a check. It’s people that write checks. People that are not always making logical decisions. We’re making emotional decisions. We’re not always choosing things that are the best. Sometimes we’re choosing things because they are our favorite.

That relates to B2B buying. It relates to relationships. It relates to referral programs. Make yourself more share-able. Help your sales reps to understand what this means, and help them learn to make themselves more share-able. Allow them to be someone that can relate to another human beyond just being a sales rep.

If you’re making an outbound phone call, we encourage salespeople to use a 3-by-3 method. Take up to 3 minutes, and find up to 3 things that you can connect with that person about. If there are things you have in common, great. You both love the Chicago Cubs, you both have chickens. Maybe they were an Olympic rower, and you didn’t do that at all, but you’re curious about it. Make yourself interesting, make yourself more share-able.

8. Use every department in your organization—and theirs.

Your best referrals aren’t always going to come from your sales people, or their salespeople. They’re not always going to come from Chris here at Intuitive. Chris is a great guy. Chris knows a lot of people. Maybe Chris’ accountant is actually married to the best friend of the person that runs marketing for my dream client. It’s better to leverage the entire organization and figure out who has those relationships.

You don’t need a referral to the decision-maker. You don’t need a referral always to the person who is going to write the check. You need the door opened. The same reason why you don’t always need a referral based on your product and service, and the fact that you want to show someone a demo. Give them something of value. Connect based on some mutual interest to get in the door.

9. Be more aggressive with LinkedIn connections.

If you’re going to use LinkedIn as a way of understanding where the connections are, if you’re going to use LinkedIn as a means of understanding who knows people that you know, people that you want to get introductions to, then you need to get your company networked to LinkedIn.

A very simple trick for you and for everyone on your team: every morning, look at your calendar from yesterday, and look at all the people you met with. I guarantee you, if you look at that on a regular basis, you will find people that you assume you are connected to, but you’re not. If you don’t have that connection, you can’t see where your mutual connections are. The more actively you can do that, the better off you’re going to be.

10. Be precise about requests.

If I go to Chris and say, “Hey Chris. You love what we do, right? You love what we do, right? Can you make some referrals to us, like every once in awhile? When people need marketing help, can you make referrals?”

He’s gonna say okay cause he’s a nice guy, but he’s going to leave this room and forget, because that was a very generic and ambiguous request. If I go to Chris and say, “It looks like you know Joe at Acme Corp. How well do you know Joe? Would you mind making an introduction to Joe for me?”—that is a specific request. I have given him a task. I have given him something specific that he can do, that I want, that he can check off from his list. That is a much strong way to power your referral program.

11. Be more generous.

Anytime you’re giving a referral, anytime you’re introducing someone from your network, you’re putting your own reputation on the line. The people referring you know that as well. You need to have a reputation of giving beyond the ask and  of giving people more than they expected–not just a demo. When Chris knows that he’s going to introduce me to someone, he knows I’m going to give them more than time than they expect.

I’m going to answer every question they have. I’m going to be an open book of ideas and best practices to give them. I’m making a good impression on that person. I’m reflecting well on Chris. Chris is far more likely to use me as a referral source again. This takes a little extra time and it takes a different mindset than just saying, “Well, time is money, and I can’t do this.” It requires a bit more of an investment.

We’ve all been in situations where we have seen people who are generous. People that give more than they expect. They stand out. These are people that not only get higher conversions on their referrals, but these are people that get more referrals. The have a more successful referral program overall.

 

12. Thank you notes.

Not thank you emails. Not thank you Facebook. Not thank you text, but notes. Handwritten notes. If you’ve seen my penmanship, you know that that is a terrible idea for me to do myself. Thankfully there is a company calledMaillift. There is a handful of companies that do this. I prefer Maillift. It’s a company out of Austin. You can either do this right within Salesforce, or you can send them an email template.

They have, I cannot even make this up, they have a team of retired school teachers that will write your letter for you. They will write it. You can pick the stationary, they’ve got a bunch of examples. It looks like something I might have written. Literally, I’ve got an email template that I can send them. I can do it from a plane without WiFi.

They send this letter out. I can’t tell you how big of an impression that makes. It’s just like sending an email, but if you’ve got some note cards, and your penmanship is better than mine, send a quick note. Send a thank you note for dumb little things that people wouldn’t expect. It makes a huge impression.

13. Leave voice mails.

This isn’t even about asking for the referral. This is just about setting up the referral. You have to build the relationship before you need it. If you wait to build a relationship, and wait to build credibility and build a reputation until right when you need the referral, you’re less likely to get it. When you leave a voicemail, you’re not expecting people to return the voice mail. You’re expecting them to hear your voice. There is science behind how important, and how impressionable, people are when they hear your voice versus just seeing your voice in text. It is very, very important.

14. Follow-up.

This is a simple topic. Just do what you say you’re going to do. When you take notes during conversations, every morning, look at your notes from yesterday. Look at all the checkboxes that are unchecked. Make sure that you follow up with people. Even if it’s just to tell them you are about to do what you said you’re going to do. Accountability is so important in building that reputation, in building that trust that can generate you more referrals.

15. Be synonymous with something.

This is a picture of Kraig Kleeman. He calls himself ‘The World’s Greatest Cold Caller’. We can spend another 15 minutes debating whether or not that is true, but that is his theme. When you think of cold calling there’s a couple people I think about. I think of Wendy Weiss, who calls herself ‘The Queen of Cold Calling’, and I think of Kraig Kleeman, who calls himself ‘The Greatest Cold Caller in the World’. You may not decide to be that bold, but is there something specific you become known for? That your company is known for? That you’re known for? That your sales team is known for that makes people think of you right away when they’re interested in giving a referral?

16. Daily tools.

There’s 4 of them that I’m using on a daily basis. Some of them overlap with each other. All of these are looking at my network. They’re looking at my calendar, and they’re reminding me to follow-up.

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1. Newsle, which I think just re-branded 2 days ago to ‘LinkedIn in the News’, or something like that, is looking at all my first connections, and telling me who is in the news, and who was quoted in a press release. Who was published somewhere?


2. Contactually: I can tell Contactually that I want to talk to this group of people every 2 weeks, this group of people I want to talk to once a month. Every morning, Contactually will tell me all the people I’m out of band on. They look at my email, my CRM, my social channels. If I wanted to be in touch every 2 weeks, and it’s been 15 days, they tell me. It’s my safety net.


3. The N is for a company called Nudge. Nudge was founded by a couple former Eliquo people. It’s amazing the Eliquo community now has all these other startups. They’re doing great, great work.


4. Accompany is a tool that works for you to accumulate and organize personal details about all of your contacts, to help make maintaining human connections much easier. Before meeting with someone, you can view their profile in your account and refresh your memory on the specifics of their professional history, their family, and their recent life events. This helps you engage in personal, genuine conversation each time you meet up with any of your contacts, no matter how many contacts you have.

17. Daily do list.

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I mentioned things you’re doing every morning. This is my list every morning at 7:30. There is a handful of things I am reminding myself to do. It’s follow-up with people. It’s sending thank you notes. I’m using tools to ask for referrals. To follow-up with referrals. And also giving referrals. If you want to get more referrals, you have to give referrals. You have to be generous with your own network as well (that should be #23 on this list).

18. Use excuses to reach out.

Someone’s birthday. They got a job promotion. Little things make a big difference.

19. Respond to every birthday message.

On your birthday, I would encourage you to block off 2 to 3 hours, if you can to respond to every single birthday message. Every birthday message is someone giving you their attention, and it’s mostly people that you haven’t talked to in a while. You don’t have to reply back and ask for a referral, but reply back and ask something to engage conversation. Every year on my birthday, I generate new pipeline for my business. Simply by responding to birthday messages—it’s unbelievable. Not even by trying to do it.

20. Free samples.

We talked about being generous. Offer samples of your ideas. Offer samples of what you’re doing. Make people walk away with some value. When we talked inside sales team I tell them, when your prospect looks up from that first phone call, I want them to lean back in their seat and say, “Wow, that was awesome. I would have paid for that.” What is that for you? What is that for your business? What is that for the value prop you’re trying to create?

21. Write more letters.

I’ve talked about my past through writing more letters. Could be for any particular reason.

22. Lead with the problems you solve, not what you do.

If you’re at a networking event, and someone asks you what you do, pretend they asked you the question, “What do you do for your customers?” Answer that question, because that’s really what they want to hear. That’s what they want to know. That will lead you to a better conversation, and it’s going to help you in the long run.

 

Topics: Sales and Marketing, sales, sales leads, Leads, real estate, marketing, Roman Badnarchuk, lead generation, Sales Training, N5R Sales Training, marketing agency, Top condo sales trainers, 2014

Increase Sales – 83% of Sales Depend on the Customer Liking You

Posted by Roman Bodnarchuk on Tue, Sep 20, 2016 @ 17:09 PM

Everyone knows people buy from people they like. Yet, you can’t really like someone you don’t know. You can’t like someone you don’t trust. And that’s exactly why most attempts to sell fail.

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Most entrepreneurs, business owners, and sales professionals push to sell at the first point of connection. A point of connection is the moment a potential buyer engages either with you or your message. Then they’re surprised when the other person is offended.

Remember that junior high dance when you tentatively asked a girl to dance with you. You waited for the slow dance then as soon as you got the girl out on the floor you squeezed her too close and put your hand on her bottom. She went stiff as a board before pulling away and slapping you.

Well, that’s kind of how your potential buyer feels. They gave you an inch and you went for the mile. Because you went too far too fast they turned coat and ran.

Here’s the deal. You don’t have to have a presentation perfected. You don’t need to know the top 100 closing techniques. You do need to understand how to develop relationships.

The key to sales success is your ability to start and develop long-term relationships. Once you accept this fact then you’re better equipped to make relationships. Plus it’s easier to transform those relationships into sales without the other person feeling violated. Sometimes you meet another person and it feels like you’ve known each other your whole life almost instantly.

However, that’s rare. In most cases relationship development is an incremental process. Because it is a process though relationship development is something you can consistently repeat over and over again with each new person from the first point of connection.

Most people are naturally a little guarded with strangers. Ever walked into the local coffee shop in small town America and noticed all eyes went immediately to you? Respect that and allow the other person to discover a reason to want to know you and know more about you.

Of course, most of us are self-centered so we are more interested in someone who has something we want than we are in someone who has something they want to sell us.

Prove they made a good decision when they decided to get to know you by adding value to them and their life. Focus on them, what they want, what they’re interested in, and what they’re looking for. Engage them and allow them to do the talking and the asking.

Relationships are give and take. Far too often sales conversations are nothing but you talking about you and what you have to offer. And that’s exactly why it doesn’t work.

 

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Topics: Sales and Marketing, sales, sales leads, Leads, real estate, marketing, Roman Badnarchuk, lead generation, Sales Training, N5R Sales Training, marketing agency, Top condo sales trainers, 2014

How to Adapt Your Negotiation Tactics Depending on Who You are Talking to In The World

Posted by Roman Bodnarchuk on Mon, Sep 19, 2016 @ 17:09 PM

You can't expect negotiations with the French to be like negotiations with Americans, and the same holds true for every culture around the world.

British linguist Richard D. Lewis charted communication patterns as well asleadership styles and cultural identities in his book, "When Cultures Collide," which is now in a third edition. His organization offers classes in cross-cultural communication for clients like Unilever and BMW.

Although cultural generalizations can be overly reductive, Lewis, who speaks 10 languages, insists it can be done fairly. "Determining national characteristics is treading a minefield of inaccurate assessment and surprising exception. There is, however, such a thing as a national norm," he writes.

Scroll down to see Lewis' insights on negotiating with people around the world.

Jenna Goudreau contributed reporting.

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Topics: Sales and Marketing, sales, sales leads, Leads, real estate, marketing, Roman Badnarchuk, lead generation, Sales Training, N5R Sales Training, marketing agency, Top condo sales trainers, 2014

7 Ways Inbound Marketing Drives Website Conversion Rates Through The Roof

Posted by Roman Bodnarchuk on Sun, Sep 18, 2016 @ 17:09 PM

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1. Tell Them What You Do In The Headline

Marketers get caught up in their own creativity and sometimes bury the lead, making it even more difficult for prospects to quickly know what you do and how you can help them. A cyber security company used the headline “Appearances Can Be Deceiving.” It's creative and it’s accurate, but can you tell me what they do? No! 

Here's a better headline: “Your Job Might Be In Jeopardy If Hackers Are In Your Network Right Now.” This would likely encourage targeted prospects to read more, visit more pages on the site, and then convert from an anonymous visitor into a lead for this company.

2. You Have To Pass The 'Scratch Out, Drop In' Test

Your website has to be different than your competitors’ websites. If you can scratch out your name and put in the name of any competitor and what the site says would still be accurate, you have an issue. Your prospects are going from site to site looking for differences. Your site needs to be different. It has to look different, say different things and provide a different experience.

Good marketing is about standing out in the crowd. Make sure your website stands out and helps your company appear different than all of your competitors. Again, this is not about design; it's about messaging, stories and the experience.

3. Make Sure Your Story Is In The Right Order

Human beings process information in a very linear and systematic way. If your website presents information out of order, the people you want to convert on your site are going to feel uncomfortable and bounce off before converting.

To prevent that, stick to the process that a human being’s brain goes through when making decisions. Start with a pain statement that all prospects can connect with in 10 seconds, then follow up with your solutions so they know quickly that you have a way to solve their specific challenges. But you’re not done yet.

You're remarkable, right? Of course you are because you’ve been following our advice and you know your business has to stand out. Make sure your visitors see how remarkable you are right on your home page.

Now that prospects know you understand their pain and you have remarkable solutions, it’s time to make them feel even safer. This is where you bring in the social proof. Only now are they ready to evaluate your case studies, success stories, logo library or testimonials. But if you present these too early, your prospects won’t mentally be ready to process this type of information out of order.

4. Add The Right Offers On The Right Pages

On Wednesday I wrote about having pages for awareness, consideration and decision-making. Once you have your site set up like this, you need to map the conversion offers to those pages in an equally strategic manner.

You can’t put all your offers on every page and expect that the more offers you use, the more leads you’ll get. Trust me, we did that and it didn’t work. We want you to avoid making the same mistakes we did. Less is more in this case. Prioritize your best offers at the right stage in the sales funnel and then use only those offers.

5. Always Answer Questions

Your prospects have questions and they’re coming to your website to get answers. Make sure your website is built, designed and written with this in mind. Each page should have a specific question in mind, answer that question and then offer even more information to help prospects with their individual buyer journeys.

If you don’t know what questions your prospects are asking, you need to find out. You can ask them directly, you can ask your sales reps or you can ask your customer support people. All these folks know exactly what prospects and customers ask at all stages of the sales funnel.

6. Make Sure It Works On All Devices

Search for the keyword "mobile searches" and you’ll see a variety of data points that all point to the same conclusion. People are doing searches on their phones. In some cases, 50% of the initial searches for content are done on mobile devices, and the initial experience prospects are having with your company is on the responsive version of your website.

This means your site has to not only be responsive, but it also needs to be designed deliberately and strategically to support that initial experience on a prospect’s phone. How many times have you visited a website on your phone only to have a mediocre experience? Probably too many times. The result is a less-than-stellar feeling about that company. Perhaps you never even try to connect with them again. This is what you want to avoid.

7. Watch Visitors' Behavior

As smart as we all think we are, we rarely nail anything right out of the gate, and your website is no different. No matter how much time and money you spend designing it you won’t actually know how users, visitors and prospects will respond to it until you launch it. That’s why we prefer an Agile, 30-day approach to website builds instead of the long and painful six-month website project. Get something up quickly, get data and then make adjustments over time based on visitor data.

Since conversions are our goal, you need to see how visitors are making their way through your site. For example, I see a lot of sites with the offer at the very bottom of a long scrolling page. That might make sense on paper, but when you see that visitors are not reading all the way down the page, you have an issue.

If you don’t get this user behavior data you’ll never know whether the issue is your page, your offer, your copy or your design. This could contribute to inaccurate decision-making based on bad assumptions. You should be able to limit this with the right application of tools and technology.

Tightly integrating messaging, search and content along with web and conversion strategy is at the core of what an inbound marketing engagement is all about. If you think about your website as more of an experience for your prospects and you include conversations about the above marketing elements, you’ll see a major lift in your lead generation in no time.

 
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Topics: Sales and Marketing, sales, sales leads, Leads, real estate, marketing, Roman Badnarchuk, lead generation, Sales Training, N5R Sales Training, marketing agency, Top condo sales trainers, 2014

It’s Time To Have “The Talk”…About Your Sales Pipeline Stages

Posted by Roman Bodnarchuk on Sat, Sep 17, 2016 @ 17:09 PM

Sales And Marketing

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I know it’s scary, but your teams need to come together if you want to stop prospects from falling out of the buying process. The reality is B2B decision makers are tuning out all the email campaigns and cold calls because they no longer trust your sales reps and marketing messages.

No matter how much content marketing, nurturing and social selling you do, one thing won’t change: your buyers’ fear that they’re making the wrong choice. They’re more afraid than ever before because they’ve never had more options. They’re terrified because their next promotion, their job and—more importantly—their reputation are all on the line.

Instead, your buyers turn to their peers to make important buying decisions—and they don’t always hear good things (or anything at all) about your brand. This only increases their fear, uncertainty and doubt about your brand—as well as the chance they’ll look for other vendors.

So, how do you change the conversation going on around your buyers?

We’ve written a guide that explains how marketing can support all stages in the sales pipeline to stop the silent killer and grow revenue through an advocate marketing strategy.

 

Read on to learn more about why your sales and marketing teams need advocates to prevent deals from being derailed.

How advocacy stops your prospects from falling out of your sales pipeline stages…

The problem is, you can’t tap into peer-to-peer conversations about your brand yourself. You need help from your company’s advocates: those happy customers who are willing to introduce you to their networks, ease the minds of skeptical prospects, and share their success stories with the world. Their word means more than anything your sales and marketing can say about your company.

You can’t alleviate your buyers’ fear on your own. You need help from your advocates—your buyers’ trusted peers. If your marketing team doesn’t have an advocate marketing strategy in place today, they’re not doing enough to help you achieve your revenue targets.

Advocate marketing is the systematic practice of:

  • Engaging your customers all the time—not just when you need something from them
  • Asking them to talk about their experiences with your brand
  • Recognizing and rewarding them every time they help you out

Here’s how advocate marketing can improve your pipeline:

1. Fill your pipeline with warm referral leads

You are 4.2X more likely to get an appointment if you have a personal connection with a buyer.

Your advocates have your next customer in their networks—you just don’t know about them yet. If your marketing team doesn’t have a formal referral program in place, you’re missing out on red-hot leads that convert better and close faster because they have a trusted peer reference built right in.

2. Close deals faster with advocacy, not references

80% of buyers said they were doing more research before buying, and 53% said the purchasing cycle had become longer from the year prior.

Waiting until the end of the final stages of your sales pipeline to introduce a reference is too little, too late. You need advocates to support your prospects at every stage of the buying process—not just at the end. You can’t do that with the handful of references you have today.

3. Improve your online reputation

The buyer’s journey may be up to 90% complete before a salesperson is contacted.

Buyers look to third-party review websites, such as G2 Crowd, Spiceworks and AppExchange, to see what their peers are saying about you long before they speak to your sales team. The only thing worse than finding negative reviews is finding no reviews at all. Asking your advocates to post genuine reviews will help prospects put you on their vendor shortlist sooner and make a buying decision faster.

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Topics: Sales and Marketing, sales, sales leads, Leads, real estate, marketing, Roman Badnarchuk, lead generation, Sales Training, N5R Sales Training, marketing agency, Top condo sales trainers, 2014

Should We All Be Working 3-Day Workdays?

Posted by Roman Bodnarchuk on Fri, Sep 16, 2016 @ 17:09 PM

Why scientists think we should be working three-day weeks

 
 

The over-40s are at their best if they work fewer than 25 hours a week, according to new research.

The study, published by the University of Melbourne, looked at the cognitive ability of Australians aged over 40. For up to 25 hours a week, cognitive function was improved by working more. However, after that increasing working hours begins to have a negative impact on cognition.

“In the middle and older age, working part-time could be effective in maintaining cognitive ability,” conclude the authors. “Our study highlights that too much work can have adverse effects on cognitive functioning.”

The researchers used the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey and three measures of cognitive ability. Their results are outlined in the chart below.

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The charts highlight the peak in cognitive skills at around the 25-hour mark – for both men and women. This initially declines gradually, until a steep drop as working hours become much longer.

However, the study did only assess over-40s, so whether they are any different from the rest of the population is not clear. Equally, the gradual decline indicates that longer working hours up to a point are possible, without significant impact on performance.

Geraint Johnes, professor of economics at Lancaster University is quoted by theBBC as saying: “The research looks only at over-40s, and so cannot make the claim that over-40s are different from any other workers.”

An ageing population

The results are potentially significant as the global population ages and people work later in life. The authors highlight that for those over the age of 40, working part-time – for example three days a week – could have cognitive benefits, both for workers and business.

Although limited in its scope, the study does offer a potential solution to making the most of an ageing workforce.

 
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10 Steps to Win the Sale Every Time

Posted by Roman Bodnarchuk on Thu, Sep 15, 2016 @ 17:09 PM

Keep Winning

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There's nothing more frustrating than having worked on a deal for weeks or even months just to have the prospect say, "You know, I'm not sure this is the right time for this project. Why don't you check back with me in six months." As soon as that sentence is uttered, the deal is essentially dead. Time to start all over again with someone new.

Deals that end in no decision can be even tougher to swallow than those lost to a competitor. The interest was there. The budget was there. The timing was right. So what in the world went wrong?

According to Anthony Iannarino, president and chief sales officer at Solutions Staffing, closing isn't merely a matter of asking the prospect for their business at the end of the sales process. Instead, closing is a series of commitments -- both big and small -- that the salesperson secures from the buyer along the way.

 

1) Secure a commitment for time.

If a salesperson can't get on their prospect's calendar, they won't be able to do the discovery and qualification necessary to launch the buying process. For this reason, the first commitment reps should secure from their prospects is for time, Iannarino said. He recommended empathizing with buyers by acknowledging how busy they are, and then promising to add value by saying, "if you give me X minutes, I wont waste one minute of that time."

2) Secure a commitment for exploration.

After the prospect agrees to give you time, they then need to agree to explore problems and potential solutions with you. What would change look like at their organization? "You need to do discovery work and offer the customer the chance to do discovery work as well," Iannarino said.

3) Secure a commitment to change.

The commitment to change is more difficult to establish than the actual close, Iannarino said. But it's essential to winning the deal.

"At some point in this process, you have to ask the customer if they're willing to make changes, spend money, change internal processes, [and] devote energy to this," Iannarino said. "Until you can get very real about what change looks like in their organization, what you have is a lead, not an opportunity."

4) Secure a commitment to collaborate.

If the buying process is 100% led by either the prospect or the salesperson, it's not going to end well. Iannarino pointed out that buyers are knowledgeable about their problems and have opinions on how to solve them, and therefore, salespeople need to collaborate with them to create the solution.

5) Secure a commitment to gain consensus.

"When I look at stalled deals [and] deals that die because they end in no decision, this is generally what's missing -- consensus," Iannarino said. All it takes is one dissenting stakeholder to sour the rest on your product or service. With this in mind, salespeople need to ask their contact to involve all relevant parties in the buying process and help those stakeholders get on board.

6) Secure a commitment to invest.

According to Iannarino, there's no such thing as "better, faster, and cheaper."

"If you're really building a solution that’s going to drive their business forward, you're going to have to ask them to make the investment," he added.

7) Secure a commitment to review the solution.

Get the buyer to agree to review your solution with you before deciding one way or the other. This gives you the opportunity to iterate if they're not blown away by your initial proposal.

8) Secure a commitment to resolve concerns.

Cold feet at the end of the process is natural, Iannarino said. But good salespeople will help their buyers work through their concerns instead of fading into the background and allowing doubt to take over.

9) Secure a commitment to decide.

After checking off the eight steps above, reps then need to ask for the prospect's business -- point blank.

"If you’ve done all this work and gained all these commitments, you're obligated to ask for the business. More than that, they want you to ask for their business," Iannarino said. "Give them the opportunity to say yes."

10) Secure a commitment to execute.

Most important of all, salespeople need to ask the customer to deliver on the promises they made during the sales process. To drive real and lasting change, a new product isn't enough -- buyers need to make the necessary internal changes as well.

"Really what we sell are strategic outcomes. We don’t sell products, services, or solutions," Iannarino explained. "The execution is where they get that outcome."

 

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Topics: Sales and Marketing, sales, sales leads, Leads, real estate, marketing, Roman Badnarchuk, lead generation, Sales Training, N5R Sales Training, marketing agency, Top condo sales trainers, 2014

The Best Practices for Lead Response Management

Posted by Roman Bodnarchuk on Wed, Sep 14, 2016 @ 17:09 PM

 
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Topics: Sales and Marketing, sales, sales leads, Leads, real estate, marketing, Roman Badnarchuk, lead generation, Sales Training, N5R Sales Training, marketing agency, Top condo sales trainers, 2014

The Price is Right

Posted by Roman Bodnarchuk on Tue, Sep 13, 2016 @ 17:09 PM

“Make your product easier to buy than your competition, or you will nd your customers buying from them, not you.” - Mark Cuban

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 40% (20 out of 50) of the fastest-growing B2B companies make their pricing public.
 
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Of the 20 companies that make their pricing public, 14 use tiered pricing.

 

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Of the 14 companies with tiered pricing, 6 have CTAs prompting enterprise customers to request quotes.

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Why do companies treat selling to the enterprise di erently than selling to everyone else? ere are lots of factors, but it usually comes down to scale. Rolling out a product or service to a massive organization can be a seriously complex (and expensive) undertaking.

So while being able to make unassisted purchases on a B2B website is convenient for most, enterprise customers need to be able to talk through the ner details of your product/service with a real human before they buy.

 

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Topics: Sales and Marketing, sales, sales leads, Leads, real estate, marketing, Roman Badnarchuk, lead generation, Sales Training, N5R Sales Training, marketing agency, Top condo sales trainers, 2014

The Path to Purchase

Posted by Roman Bodnarchuk on Mon, Sep 12, 2016 @ 17:09 PM

“Our jobs as marketers are to understand how the customerwants to buy and help them do so.” - Bryan Eisenberg

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B2B websites lead people down 1 of 2 paths: toward a product, or toward a salesperson.

The experience prospective customers have when they land on your website can be crucial to whether or not they end
up converting. As Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield once commented:

“... even the best slogans, ads, landing pages, PR campaigns, etc., will fall down
if they are not supported by the experience people have when they hit our site, when they sign up for an account, when they first begin using the product and when they

start using it day in, day out.”

In analyzing the websites of the 50 fastest-growing B2B companies, we found two distinct paths that companies typically try to send potential
customers down
. They either direct people to A) engage with the product
or service in some way, or to B) engage with a salesperson or other company representative to learn more.

62% (31 out of 50) of websites have primary CTAs directing people to the product/service.

38% (19 out of 50) have primary CTAs directing people to talk to Sales.

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Of course, many of the companies that have product-focused primary CTAs also have secondary CTAs for talking to Sales. And remember the 11 companies with live chat from the previous chapter? All 11 of those websites have product-focused CTAs.

e takeaway: It doesn’t have to be one way or the other. Within the 50 fastest-growing B2B companies in the U.S., both tactics are employed. You can encourage people to discover the value of your product through having them experience it for themselves, and you can provide them with an opportunity to talk to a real person if that’s what they want.

Regardless of the path you choose to send people down, make sure that their rst experience is (as Slack's CEO recommended) a positive one.

 

36% (18 out of 50) of the fastest-growing B2B companies o er free trials or freemium versions of their product.

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A free trial or freemium version of a product can be a driving force behind a company’s growth. It’s a model that allows prospective customers to experience rst-hand how a product is going to perform, which reduces the need for canned sales pitches and aggressive tactics.

As Roger Lee of Battery Ventures once wrote:

“Instead of hiring a huge sales force and sending these people out to convince potential customers to buy your product -- the way Oracle, SAP, Microsoft, and even Salesforce.com built empires -- a freemium model is a perpetual motion machine through which your product sells itself.”

 

Of the 18 companies with some free component to their product ...

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Topics: Sales and Marketing, sales, sales leads, Leads, real estate, marketing, Roman Badnarchuk, lead generation, Sales Training, N5R Sales Training, marketing agency, Top condo sales trainers, 2014