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The size of your sales pipeline will determine how tough of a stand you take when negotiating a new deal. If you haven’t started a renewed effort to expand yours for 2009, there is no better time than the present.

One of the best ways to expand your pipeline is by reaching out to all of your past and present customers. Referrals help you tap into prospects who many times have already been pre-sold on you and your company. In addition, asking current customers for prospects will often open up additional business with existing customers, so the process becomes extremely productive.

Tapping into existing customers is not difficult.  All you have to do is pick up the phone and ask them if they know of other people who could benefit from the same things they found in dealing with you. It’s not rocket-science by any means but I’m amazed at how few salespeople actually do it.  In addition, don’t think you need to offer the customer who gives you a referral something in return.  If they like the service you provide, offering them something in return may actually be perceived as a slap in the face.

Let’s all go out and make it a great year!  The sooner you have a pipeline that is over-flowing, the sooner you’ll feel comfortable avoiding a price discount or anything else to try and close a sale.

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