Referrals: A Powerful Sales Tool

This article is the second in a series focused on shopping local.  This article focuses specifically on referrals, a powerful and inexpensive sales tool.

By Maria Nieves, President & CEO

Referrals, referrals, referrals…as the world gets both larger (i.e. think global connected by social media), and smaller (i.e. as in shopping local), referrals remain a very powerful sales tool.HCCC_Shop_Local_3.5x4.5

Think about it.  When you’re looking for an expert to help remodel your home, a health professional, or you’re in the market for a new car, wouldn’t you rather go to someone that is referred by a trusted source?

Here at the Chamber, we believe that potential customers prefer to take their business to someone they know–or know of–than to complete strangers. When you’re introduced to a prospect through a personal recommendation, that prospect is going to have a higher comfort level.

That’s why in our efforts to help our members boost their business, we have actively been making many more referrals and introductions for our members.  In fact since the beginning of 2014, we’ve made more than 20 referrals on behalf of our members. It’s all part of our SHOP LOCAL initiative to help drive business and dollars back into Hudson County’s

We’re in a unique position at the Chamber to help make these types of connections.  We often get phone calls at our offices from the general public, folks both in and out of Hudson County, asking about all types of services.  When we get such questions—whether the caller is looking for an insurance agent, a printer, promotional items or a photographer—our first and only thought is to refer this prospect to a Chamber Member.

I recently received a phone call from a woman who resides in Virginia, whose daughter was in the process of re-locating to Jersey City.  Her daughter was in need of renters and automobile insurance.  Could I help make some referrals?  I picked up the Chamber’s 2014 SHOP LOCAL Member Directory, looked through the insurance category and tried to identify those members I know offer residential and personal insurance products.  The rest is easy.  I always provide the contact information to the caller and I always let the member(s) know about the prospect’s inquiry.

Now imagine that in addition to the staff here at the Chamber helping to make referrals, all of our members did the same for each other!  If you’d like the Chamber and fellow Members to help your business with referrals, my suggestion to all our Members is threefold:

    • If you need a referral or an introduction, please ask specifically and we’ll try to help make it happen.
    • Attend Chamber events and get to know the staff.  The more we know you and your business, the types of services and products you offer, as well as the type of customers you’re looking for, the more awareness we have and the better we can make referrals on your behalf.
    • Attend Chamber events and get to know other members and let them know you’re open to making and receiving referrals.  It’s the power of referrals multiplied by all of our 350+ Members. You never know when a fellow Member can help to connect you.

Referrals can be a powerful sales tool.  They can cut through all the noise in the marketplace.  I encourage our Members to be mindful of how to use this powerful tool that can take “word of mouth” to the next level and consider how referrals and the Chamber can help you to grow your business.

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