Catching a Buzz!

Published on July 2, 2001

Buzz Marketing is the latest fad being talked about. The idea is to use a handful of carefully chosen trendsetters in a community to act as “influencers”. For instance, you can call up your friends or associates and act as an influencer regarding a product or service you highly recommend. If the pitch is done right, the expectation is the message will spread spontaneously like a virus. Face-to-face Buzz Marketing is the same thing except it is done in person. People learning about products and services from their ‘coolest friends’.

Companies are spending lots of money on this new marketing fad, which was featured in a recent issue of Business Week. What was not mentioned is that this concept is not new to sales people. We call it Referral Selling. There is nothing more powerful than having a customer recommend you and your products and services enthusiastically to peers and associates. This act automatically transforms a conversation from being a cold call (a pain in the neck interruption) to a warm conversation. You have the introduction, now it is up to you to convert the sale.

The problem is many salespeople do not effectively harness the power of Referral Selling and many times miss out on opportunities. Salespeople erroneously think that customers will automatically refer them without being asked. Not so! your customers are busy with their own lives. While they appreciate your services, building your business is not the upper most thought in their mind.

The human being traditionally is not proactive. Walking down the street, how many times do you see people volunteering to hand money over to the homeless. Yet, if a homeless person asks you for money, their chances of getting it are dramatically increased. Expecting customers to voluntarily refer you is likely to lead to missed opportunities. Asking customers to refer you is taking control of your own destiny and making sure you are not leaving any opportunities uncovered.

Of course referrals come in several forms, such as testimonial letters, phone calls, etc. However you use your customers for referrals, remember that you have worked hard to create this success. It costs you less in time, effort, and expenses to sell this way. It is more profitable. What are you waiting for?
Spread the buzz about your products and services by leveraging your sales through referrals. What have you got to lose? Everything!

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