Wouldn’t it be nice if you could bypass the competition and get in front of hundreds of qualified prospects who are looking forward to talking with you? No cold-calling or expensive advertising. No sales calls to people who don’t understand what you do or the value of it. No waiting months for people to decide whether to trust you or not.
What would that do to your sales cycle? Your revenue? Your profit margins? Let’s talk about a way you can accomplish this.
The principle is this: all your potential customers—the people most likely to invest in your services or products—all have advisors that they trust. These Trusted Advisors are professionals that not only do their job well, but take a pro-active role in identifying ways to increase clients’ profits. Generally, these Trusted Advisors have created such a reputation for recommending profitable change that their clients no longer question their recommendations. Now imagine what it would be like if you had a team of these Trusted Advisors recommending your services and products to their customers—customers who have a genuine need for them.
Forming partnerships with professionals in these Trusted Advisor positions would have four key advantages as a marketing model:
1. Collapse your sales cycle
This is not just a referral system. Your partners are in a trusted position and know your customers’ businesses intimately. They’ve already identified a need for your service or product. By the time you start talking to the client a major part of your sales process is already complete. Approval time within the customer’s company is also shortened because of the trust relationship.
2. Increase your closing ratio
The customer is usually prepared to buy before you start talking to them. Your sales reps have less convincing to do. The sales role changes from convincing the customer to buy, to identifying the services and products needed.
3. Improve customer loyalty
People do not stop using products and services recommended by Trusted Advisors unless forced to by extreme circumstances. Doing so risks losing the advantages gained through the recommendation and possible alienation of their Trusted Advisor.
4. Make competition irrelevant
There is no competition because the Trusted Advisor recommendation trumps all other factors and he or she is only recommending your company.This model works because the level of trust between advisor and customer is so high that it goes unquestioned. As a professional recommended by a Trusted Advisor, the client accords you a similar level of trust. You become associated with the profits and success the advisor is known for achieving. In the customer’s mind, anything else risks decreased profits or failure.
So how do you get started in using this marketing model?
Start by creating a profile of your ideal Trusted Advisor partner. At a minimum, your profile should identify the kinds of clients they work with and service areas that are complementary to your service or product (so that it would make sense for them to recommend you). Then interview your own clients and identify their Trusted Advisors. If a Trusted Advisor services one client who has need of you, it is likely they also service others. If you are breaking into a new market, interview a select group of potential customers in that market.
Once you’ve identified potential partners, it’s time to contact them and build relationships. Remember that you’re not just looking for a new sales rep. You’re looking for someone who can understand the value of what you do and has such confidence in your ability to provide that value that he or she is willing to stake their reputation on it. This takes more than a sales pitch and a promise of great commissions.
Identifying these potential partners and gaining their trust will take time and concentrated effort. In many ways it is similar to building a relationship with a client. But instead of one relationship resulting in one customer, each relationship results in potentially hundreds of customers. You’ll be leveraging your time and resources for exponential increases in sales, revenue and profits.