The results of this question only confirm the importance of prospecting and the difficulty people will have with it in 2009. Seeing the “referral” number at only 28% is also a concern, as it says the average salesperson hasn’t done a good enough job creating significant value for the customer. A good rule of thumb to remember is that the level of referrals a salesperson receives is always in direct proportion to the quality of service provided. Referrals are extremely cost effective because of the minimal amount of time spent prospecting to get them and the fact many times the customer is ready to buy.
Staying in touch with current customers is essential if you want to develop referrals. It’s too easy for customers today to accept what you’ve provided them as the norm and to lose sight of the added value you bring. This is a strong reason why I take very seriously the need to have a marketing plan that is not only designed to attract new customers, but also to reinforce your value proposition with your current ones.
Finally, seeing the “advertising” score at only 13% is not a complete surprise in our current economy. This tells me that people are willing to put their marketing resources into only what they believe are sure things and if their advertising hasn’t paid out in the past, they’re not likely to invest in it in the future.