3 Reasons You Need Non-Traditional Referral Help

    By Katie Parsons | Small Business

    Salespeople do not always have that distinction printed on their business cards. Often the most influential people when it comes to company sales have never read a book on referral selling or picked up a phone to make a sales connection. Some of the strongest “sales” people on your payroll may not even realize the influence that they have on decision makers.

    3 Reasons You Need Non Traditional Referral Help image non traditional referral help3 Reasons You Need Non Traditional Referral HelpNon-traditional salespeople exist in every company. Maybe it is the mobile application developer who regularly fields questions from clients in project meetings. Perhaps it is the editor who attends industry trade shows to simply be “the face” of the publication. You may even have salespeople in disguise who answer your phones or deal directly with the public. While your company may not have the resources to allow these other employees time to focus on sales, per se, there are ways to utilize them and their referral selling capabilities.

    1. Bring them in on sales initiatives. Not only is it valuable to let non-traditional salespeople know about your ultimate sales goals, but it is even more important to get their input. Consider the application developer I mentioned above. He understands the client and its needs/wants perhaps better than any other employee. He also knows industry trends and his own limitations. Bring him into sales and product brainstorming sessions. Ask him what things get a particular client, or group of clients, excited. In short, find out what he thinks will or won’t sell.
    • Have them set goals. If you cannot dedicate the time for your non-traditional salespeople to actually sell, you cannot give them measurable, tangible goals. What you can do, however, is incorporate a sales goal mentality into their job descriptions. Cultivate a company culture where new ideas and new sources of revenue are a collaborative effort and all ideas are welcome. Empower all employees to be salespeople through your company materials and training, even if they do not spend the time in the official role.
    • Ask for referral guidance. Come up with a consistent way to ask for ideas for new clients. Maybe it is a monthly form that you pass out. Maybe it is a shared Web document where employees can write down ideas for the sales team based on client interactions. If you have an employee that interacts with decision-making clients, ask for those clients directly for referrals at the end of a meeting. If there is a client that works regularly with a non-sales team member, why not have an unfamiliar sales person ask for the referral? Use the people on the front lines of your day to day operations and then pass the information along to those with the hours dedicated to taking the next sales step.

    For a company to truly take advantage of the power of referrals and industry connections, every employee needs to be part of the campaigns. Think about the non-traditional sales people in your company that are underutilized right now and how you bring them in to future initiatives. What non-traditional salespeople at your company are influential with clients?

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