If there’s one phrase that strikes dread in the hearts of your sales team, it’s cold calling. No matter how many great programs you design, no matter how many threats you make and weekly quotas you set, cold calls somehow never get the attention you hope they will. The reason cold calling doesn’t work is simple, says speaker and consultant Tim Templeton, author of The Referral of a Lifetime: The Networking System that Produces Bottom-Line Results…Every Day! (Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2003). Cold calling is a pain, it’s uncomfortable and reps just don’t like to do it – so they don’t.
The solution, says Templeton, is to focus on referrals instead of shot-in-the-dark cold calls. Templeton offers these suggestions for creating a successful referral network.
Decide what kind of referrals are going to help you. If you’re an electronics rep, you might represent 20 to 25 product lines and know all the manufacturers. Instead of trying to get more manufacturers, use your network to get a foot in the doors of retailers. Templeton offers two key questions that everyone should ask: What is my sales cycle? How can I generate more referrals from my clients?
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