There are an infinite number of banner ads to click that promise a ton of leads. If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. Downloading a list of contacts is a very passive and ineffective strategy for generating sales leads. Working from a base of existing customers is a much more effective approach.
Leveraging your existing customers before seeking new ones is a basic rule of marketing followed by successful businesses of any size; sole proprietors to Fortune 100 companies. The difference between existing customers and strangers on a list of leads, is that existing customers are people who you’ve worked with; people who know the quality of your services first-hand.
“A study, co-authored by Shawndra Hill, Wharton professor of operations and information management, found that consumers are far more apt to buy a company’s product if they are ‘network neighbors’ with existing customers.”
If you are providing quality services, your clients will naturally be inclined to advocate for you. These natural referral systems reward professionals that go out of their way to provide outstanding services. Creating the “WOW” effect for just ten of your client’s will do more for you than and excel file full of cold leads.
To bring customer advocacy full circle, you should consider rewarding clients that go out of their way to send you new business. Run a promotion campaign and offer a gift to let your clients know that you appreciate their positive referrals. Rewarding your clients is one of the easiest ways to say, “Thanks for spreading the word, keep sending me qualified sales leads.”
A strong business referral network is the best source of new business.