100% Referrals vs. 100% Inbound Marketing

You've probably heard it before. I started my business in 1986. I had no money and not a lot of brains. I'd been in the industry for less than a year, but I did know how to make cold calls. So, I started. 30 cold calls every morning before noon. Spend the rest of the day following up on the promises that I made and received on the calls. I made thousands of cold calls in the first year of my business, but I didn't make any in year 2. I learned how to ask for and get referrals.

In 1994, I had a huge backlog of referrals that were waiting to talk to me. Not good. So, in the era of 'Yellow Pages being King', I switched my main office number to a non-published number. In other words, if you didn't know somebody that knew my number, you couldn't talk to me and I didn't care. When I sold that business in 2006, we were operating in 40+ states and a couple of countries.

A few weeks ago, I wrote, Starting a New Sales Job (or Starting Over) and it's probably gonna rank as one of my most popular posts ever, but ever since I wrote it, I've been thinking about how important referrals are to a business and the similarities between building a referral-based business and building an inbound marketing based business.

If you're reading this, you're probably not new. You probably have some business and you may have some happy customers. You may have also heard about how 'magical' inbound marketing is and if you learn how to do it and buy some unnamed software, you'll have an unending supply of prospects saying, "Please let me buy." and you'll live happily ever after.

Let's face it. You can't stop doing what you're doing to put all of your resources and time into inbound marketing. Think about it. When I started my company I made cold calls. I hated making cold calls, but I did it until I had enough referrals coming in to pay the bills. I made cold calls AND I ASKED FOR REFERRALS until I could transition to straight referrals. Same thing with inbound marketing. You need to keep doing what you're doing to keep paying the bills, but you need to START DOING INBOUND MARKETING today if you ever expect to get in the game. 

Incidentally, you may think that your customers are not on line. You may think that inbound marketing is not for you. No problem. Just tell me who you are so that I can tell your competitors that now is their chance.

So, why is an old sales guy talking about inbound marketing? Read this article.

The bottom line is that many marketing people don't understand how you got where you are. They can't help you sell and don't know how to help you get referrals. They want you to focus on views, hits, landing pages, blog posts, and other fancy metrics and they want you to stop doing what you're doing and put all your time, effort and resources into inbound marketing and they don't really care that you have to eat and pay the bills while you're building up your web presence. I am not trying to paint inbound marketers as bad people. They're simply polarizing to make a point, but the point is that you have to ease into it. Yes! Inbound Marketing is awesome, but let's pick a date and integrate inbound into your existing processes.

And that's why, this old sales guy is talking about inbound marketing. If you're looking to integrate, use your salespeople. They already know your customers and evangelists. They are connected to them or can easily get connected to them on social media. They can exponentiate the reach that your content has and the same way that they get referrals, they can get new followers, new on line attention and engage in on-line and real life conversations naturally. So, that like my referral business in 1987, you can be 100% inbound marketing (if you choose to) a year from now.

Want help, use the link to the right to schedule a call with me.

Topics: referrals, inbound marketing, sales ready leads


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