What is the value of the contacts you made today? If you have an answer to this question you are viewing the value of your contacts from a short term perspective. We never will know the value of any contact (person we converse with and get to know) until their life is over. So how do you increase the lifetime value of each contact you make and develop a valuable referral network? Most professional B2B Sales Managers would suggest:
- Don’t care about how much value someone can bring to you, but you do care about how much you can bring to them.
- Stop looking at “people” as prospects, suspects, customers and clients and you see them as people who might be able to use your help.
- Never determine the value of a relationship on whether they buy from you or not. Offer them your best if you win or lose, and maintain a relationship.
- Always give to the relationship when you get a chance. This could be as simple as staying in touch with a call, card or email, or sending them information that they can use in their business or life.
- Genuinely care. Don’t worry about if you are crossing some business/personal line. Caring is always good if it is recognized or not.
- Never burn a bridge, even if one is burnt back to you.
- Follow your heart; it is less risky than keeping up with the Jones’.
When you treat people like this you will be developing a solid referral network. People will want to do business with you.
Supporting Case Study:
Three years ago a consultant met and proposed a sales management solution to a V.P. of a large regional company. The V.P. chose not to buy, but the consultant stayed in touch. He contacted him two or three times for the past three years with industry information that might have been helpful to the V.P. This year one of the consultant’s clients opened an office in the V.P.s area. He gave the V.P. a call to see if his company would like to meet his client, for a possible strategic partnership. Two meetings later the two companies started a relationship.
Because the consultant was not short-sighted and practices building lifetime value this partnership was possible. Time will tell but I anticipate the value the two companies bring to each other will be significant over the coming years. As for the consultant, he happens to earn an override based on sales of his client which will return value to him.