A prospect is someone who is not now our customer. How can we show appreciation to someone to whom we have never sold anything?
When we first meet someone new, we should send them a note to thank them for the contact and let them know that we want to meet with them and get to know them better. Then, we should follow up with them and meet for a chat to establish a relationship. They should remember us when we contact them; they are not a cold call; they are someone who recognizes us when we call them to meet.
Then we meet them, do not try to sell to them, exchange information, and start establishing a networking relationship. After the meeting we should send them a thank you note for the meeting and information, reassure them that we value the relationship, and indicate that we will be glad to exchange any referrals that may come forth.
This is the important aspect of dealing with prospects, treating them with respect and courtesy. We follow up with them each step of the way and establish the relationship in a non-threatening manner. Then we follow up some more, referring any prospects that we can to them, and thanking them for any referrals that they send to us. Help them get whatever they need.
Referrals from prospects are more valuable than those from customers. If a prospect provides us with lots of referrals, it means that the prospect trusts us. People who trust us should eventually do business with us. If we legally can do so, depending on your industry, we should reward anyone who gives us a referral, but at the very least thank them, in private and in public, for their referral.
Why do we thank them? It shows appreciation for their trust in us. Why do it in private? Our referring party needs the pat on the head. Why do it in public? It shows everyone else what a professional partner the referring party is and what a professional we are to gain the trust of the referring party. This appreciation process applies equally to referrals from customers.
Once at a networking meeting, I said that I would not pressure anyone at the meeting to be my customer. I said that I wanted their referrals; I wanted all their family members, their neighbors, their banker, their grocer, their mechanic, their co-workers, everybody in their lives. The intent was that if they referred all those people to me, they would trust me enough to do business with me themselves. I eventually obtained orders from almost the entire group. Why? I gained their trust, I showed my appreciation for their referrals, and I did what I said that I would do, provide the best customer service that was possible.
Gratitude Marketing is an important basis for our business dealings. While it may not always gain us a customer, it will help us gain, and retain, a relationship with our prospects, the same prospects who should be a source of valuable referrals. Use Gratitude Marketing to foster a relationship with everyone that we meet. We never know who will be a source of business for us. Please leave your comments, or email at Jim@JimTeasley.com, or call at 360-314-869, so we can discuss them. I will honor any questions or comments as I honor those from my networking partners.