March

6

Netting Sales Through Referral Networking

Posted Mar 6th, 2008 by Lisa  Category: Business

 

Netting Referrals Via Networking

With talk of a recession picking up momentum, consumer confidence sinking more than 10 points since January 2008 and a nation leading foreclosure rate, what strategies can the north Ohio and south Michigan small business owner turn to combat angst-producing sales declines?

Foremost, an owner might want to do an economic audit of their own market before singing the blues. “Our sales are up over last year,” said owner of the Perrysburg business, The Chocolate Shoppe. As a result, Debra Gorman has not modified the 2008 marketing plan that she designed in late 2007. “We are fortunate, that in our business, we don’t order product until we need it,” she said. “We have the ability to gauge every day’s sales and if we need more product, we can get it quickly.”

Albeit soft, said RE/MAX real estate executive Rick Turner, “I am pleasantly surprised at the amount of work that I’m seeing in the real estate market.

“Buyers who have been on the sidelines, waiting for the market to bottom out are now, at least, inquiring about what is available and the phone is ringing…sellers are starting to come to grips with these new market realities and I am selling homes again.”

Architect Greg Kissner, AIA, does not feel as optimistic about the region’s current economic state; his industry is intimately tied to the real estate market. Although, since joining a networking group, he too, has experienced a gain.

When money’s tight, there’s not much room for error. Sales tactics during an economic downturn necessitate the leveraging of relationships and a more strategic take on customer acquisition.

Each of the previously mentioned professionals either owns a business or is responsible for its building and all have found that being a part of a networking group has helped them to fortify sales during lean times.

“With the state of the (real estate) market in decline,” said Turner, my first reaction was to remake my business…but after working through my business plan, I realized that the majority of my business came from past clients and referrals.”

Gorman tracks her sales made through referrals; she has been a member of Business Network International (BNI) for over 11 years. BNI is one of several area groups that cater to the passing of referrals for sales attainment. The Wall Street Journal named BNI to its list of top 25 franchise performers in the Feb. 12, 2008 issue. The list was based upon three years of data analyzed by independent research firm FRANdata, located in Arlington, Va.

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4 Responses to “Netting Sales Through Referral Networking”

  1. Eric Hundin Says:

    I found your site on technorati and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. I just added your RSS feed to my Google News Reader. Looking forward to reading more from you.

    Eric Hundin

  2. Todd Schager Says:

    BNI is a fantastic organization and most of the referrals that are passed through the organization are actually very highly qualified referrals. BNI has a ‘Giver’s Gain’ philosophy which is simply fantastic. It’s a bit of a shift in traditional marketing perspective, but it works. It’s much more of a ‘farmer’s approach’ as opposed to a ‘hunter’s mentality’ meaning it is a gradual cultivating process as opposed to a shotgun process.

  3. Markeith Johnson Says:

    I love network marketing, my home based business is thriving because of it. I sell telecommunications networks, video phones, cellular service, and direct tv. New technology and business opportunity in this slow economy. It is also a great feeling to help other in their quest for financial freedom. Our video phone is the really great take a look.
    http://www.uic.acnrep.com/a_products_digitalphone.asp?flag=1&CO_LA=US_EN

  4. Kevin Carmony Says:

    I’ve been a BNI member for almost 17 years now. It has been a major reason for my success in the financial services industry by accounting for approximately 25% of my annual income each year. I’ve met so many high quality business professionals over the years and have become a conduit for my clients and friends whenever a product or service is needed. BNI is top on my goal list each year for my annual marketing plan. Anyone desiring to grow their business through direct referrals needs to check out an opportunity in one of the many chapters in Northwest Ohio. It’s time well spent on growing your business and taking it to the next level!

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