How to Leverage Your Customer’s Network for Fast, Organic Growth
Stop wasting time & resources on Customer Acquisition…
You may be missing the goldmine within your book of business already:
Your current clients might have hundreds, or thousands of untapped connections with your ideal clients.
I recently had a conversation with Jay Gibb, the CEO & Founder of CloudSponge, who’s an expert at helping non-technical entrepreneurs (like myself) build their ventures.
Early on, Jay noticed that people weren’t using referral systems to leverage their existing customer base for growth — so he founded CloudSponge.
The goal is to dramatically increase your existing referral program’s performance.
Airbnb is a great example:
Invite a friend, and not only will they get a discount after booking, but you will too.
Airbnb wins, because their software brings that individual’s contacts to one place, giving them access to a long list of warm leads.
Jay went on to explain just how easy it is to give your current customers more value and leverage their network for fast, organic growth.
And it’s a lot easier than you think!
How to Leverage Your Current Customer Base
Far too often, we place an imbalanced emphasis on acquiring new clients.
Yet we forget that we could be – and should be – leveraging the people in our communities for more business referrals to find more people like them.
“We should try our best to systematize things like referrals”, Jay said. “And if you can’t get referrals because it’s not appropriate for some reason, then you’re existing customers should be leaving you reviews, instead.”
“We should try our best to systematize things like referrals.”
FOUNDER OF CLOUDSPONGE
Let’s say that is the case; Let’s say that you can’t get reviews for some reason:
If you’re a brick and mortar business, have your customers leave a review on Yelp.
If you’re an agency maybe, have them leave a review on Clutch.
If you’re a SaaS company like CloudSponge, have them leave reviews on G2 Crowd or Capterra.
These are happy customers who’d be delighted to help you grow your business, so you can continue providing exceptional value.
But you have to ask.
Sometimes you might have to ask again and again.
Jay even recommended that you reach out to satisfied customers you’ve asked referrals from before and say something like, ‘Hey, you made that referral last year — have you met anybody since then that you think might benefit from our service?’
Even if it’s years later, you’d be surprised by the positive responses you may get.
And when you do start seeing results from within your current client network, Jay said, “It always turns into natural, organic growth.”
“It always turns into natural, organic growth.”
FOUNDER OF CLOUDSPONGE
Pause for a moment to and ask yourself this question:
‘Are we leveraging our current customers for growth somehow?’
If the answer is ‘no’, you’re in luck.
If the answer is ‘yes’, you’re still in luck!
In other words, if it appears that you’ve already achieved maximum results from within your client base, there’s always more that you could do to take your company to the next level.
That could be:
- Case studies
Most people will find that they can do more.
Even in sales, individuals notorious for getting to the bottom-line, most people don’t do more, because there’s almost a level of discomfort preventing them from reaching out to current clients.
But here’s the deal:
If you’re doing good work and helping them be more successful in their industries, why wouldn’t you ask them?
Consider a hypothetical example: you reach out to one of your top clients (maybe an account who contributes to 20% of your business) and ask them for a referral.
Imagine they reply that they can’t… What then?
Jay said the best thing to do is just ask them why not:
Maybe they can’t think of anyone from the top of their head who could benefit.
Or maybe you need to talk about incentives.
And when it comes to incentives, everyone wins – Most people love the idea of being able to give the people they care about, a great deal.
Most of the time, that’s all it takes to get somebody out of a rut, encouraging them to seek out others to refer to you.
Let’s Talk Frigid Outreach
For the sake of devil’s advocacy, let’s imagine the worst case scenario.
Perhaps right at this moment, the customers in your network truly aren’t in a place to refer other people to your business.
Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered!
In fact, Jay said that you could turn even the most frigid engagements into customers with these two tips:
Warm up the relationship:
Before reaching out to propel them further through the funnel, one of the easiest ways you can warm up the conversation is by engaging with them on social media.
Sometimes this is easier said than done; consider the next tip instead.
Do your Homework:
Jay said the one thing that consistently gets him to reply and take a meeting is when he sees that the person reaching out has done their homework.
In other words, they’ve spent some time qualifying the lead and determining if the problem that Jay has is one they can actually solve — “Which is probably around 1 out of 50 emails”, he told me.
But don’t fall into the trap that the other 49 fall into.
Don’t be one of the people who send an inmail message reading: ‘This is what we do … So you have 15 minutes to talk’?
Not only is that extremely unhelpful, but Jay said that he’s never going to answer those sorts of messages.
However, if you look into that person’s business or listen to podcasts similar to the podcast I interviewed Jay on, then you almost automatically stand out and above ‘noise’, as Jay put it.
You can more effectively show them that you’ve tailored your message for the person you’re reaching out to, personally by hand.
Here’s a beautiful example that Jay recently encountered:
A sales person from G2 Crowd sent him a personalized screencast (about 30 seconds long), she crafted specifically after researching CloudSponge.
She even included her own face in the upper right hand corner.
Inside the G2 Crowd program, she made a CloudSponge demo to show him exactly what his page could (and would look like) if Jay was to sign as a client.
She wanted him to get a front row look at the sort of value CloudSponge would receive.
She even went above and beyond to show him the people who had already visited the demo account in the last 7 days so he could reach out to them.
Here’s how he replied to her message — It’s priceless.
“For me, I had no choice — I was compelled to reply”, Jay said, “She spent time; she sent me a screencast; I had never seen her before and it was totally cold, but it was brilliant and done properly. The next thing is we had a linkedin conversation and we had a phone call … that’s definitely what got my attention.”
“I had no choice — I was compelled to reply.”
FOUNDER OF CLOUDSPONGE
Jay’s Acceleration Insight
At the end of the interview, I asked Jay for one piece of advice, extending to sales and marketing professionals, that if they were to incorporate it into their work, it would be critical for them in hitting their targets.
His insight to accelerate your business:
“Focus on the conversions — it’s quality over quantity in my mind”, Jay replied.
“Focus on the conversions — it’s quality over quantity in my mind.”
FOUNDER OF CLOUDSPONGE
If you send out really bad emails or make a lot of really bad phone calls, it’s not going to help you hit your number in the long run.
To add to that point: unless a company or individual can genuinely grow from your product or service, there’s really no reason to cold call them.
Focus on getting those really high conversion rates, and don’t stress out if you can only send 10 emails a day, instead of 100.
It’s a demonstration of respect that won’t go unnoticed.
If you’re taking the time to really understand someone’s perspective; understanding their unique value proposition or problem by doing your homework, then you’ll show them that you have a genuine interest.
Even if you can’t spend hours looking into that prospect, it will be worth it overall.
If you don’t use iTunes, you can listen to every episode here.