All posts by Brandon

Brandon is a growth marketer focused on helping companies grow their networks and increase their monthly qualified leads by providing quality content around professional lead generation.

Referral leads not closing? Here’s how you can increase your referral lead quality

In businesses – like real estate – where people typically work by referral, many agents focus on bringing in a high quantity of referral leads. The idea is that if you have more referrals, you’ll automatically be doing more business, right?

Not necessarily.

You have to close those leads – turn them into loyal clients first. To do that, you need the right kind of leads: serious buyers and sellers who are eager to work with you. According to Seattle area real estate broker and business coach with The Success Perspective Nicole Mangina, quality matters just as much as quantity.

“Some referral sources – such as online lead aggregators and sometimes even other agents – provide low quality leads that require a lot of tail chasing,” states Mangina. “But referrals from people you know are the easiest, most cost-effective and most fun way to do business. Saying that it’s easy doesn’t mean that you don’t have to work to get the referrals and turn them into clients, but it does make that work a lot more enjoyable.”

So how do you get more of the prospects you really want to work with all the way: referral and initial contact to closing? By putting your focus on developing “referral-worthy” relationships, diligently planting and pruning your database, and developing good follow-up systems to bring more referrals to closing.

Be “Referral-Worthy” – Manage Your Relationships

The best referrals come from people you are in relationship with: current or past clients, friends, family or colleagues. According to Mangina, if an agent is not getting referral leads, or is having trouble closing them, it usually comes down to a relationship problem.

She states, “People need to know you care about them more than you care about the check. Never underestimate the value of live communication whether it’s on the phone or face to face. Email and texting will only get you so far.”

The quality of the service you provide is also critically important. Referrals entail risk on the giver’s part, so they are less likely to come from people who aren’t comfortable with your ability to deliver high-quality service. Quality referrals must always be earned, by providing awesome service and investing time into your relationships.

To make sure you are referral-worthy, ask yourself: Are you doing a good job of maintaining regular communication with contacts and clients, even when you don’t want anything from them? Are you providing exceptional service to every client, every time?

If the answer to either of these is no, this could be standing in the way of receiving higher quality referral leads.

Be a Good Farmer: Plant and Prune Your Database

Most new agents learn about farming: marketing to specific neighborhoods and working with the people in their sphere of influence. These people make up your “farm,” or database.

There is a temptation to think that the bigger the farm, the bigger the harvest. However, the real estate business is like farming in an important way – you can’t just harvest, you also have to plant and prune. Planting seeds means putting your focus on developing new relationships, as well as managing the ones you have.

A common estimate in the real estate business is that one in five people moves every year; in 2014, the US Census estimated this number at around twelve percent. That means between ten and twenty percent of people in your database may leave the area in any given year, making them no longer a great referral source for you. To keep things stable, you need to replace these numbers with new relationships and new referral sources.

A good farmer also knows that some seeds never sprout; in real estate, it’s a reality that some people simply won’t or can’t do business with you. Successful agents learn to spot these folks and act accordingly. When you put your focus on your best prospects and strongest relationships, and prune away the weaker, it actually strengthens your whole business. Pruning allows you to put more of your time into the relationships that are most likely to bear fruit.

Be Organized: Create a good follow-up system

Focusing on the areas above will help improve the quality of referral leads; now it is time to get them from referral to close. Setting up a referral follow-up system will help to ensure that your best referrals become clients that eventually buy or sell with you.

According to Mangina, “If the client isn’t going to buy or sell for 6 months, real estate agents who don’t have a good follow up plan tend to lose them. Just because it’s a referral doesn’t mean that you don’t have to bring your A game. When agents get lazy clients go elsewhere.”

How do you create a good follow-up system? This is where using some type of CRM application can really make a difference for you.

Your first step is to gather contact information from the person who provided the referral, and enter everything you learn into your CRM database.

Next, set up a time to call the referral as soon as possible – usually within a day is best, especially if your referral source told them to expect your call. In most cases, your initial contact will be a phone call, but if your referral source told you the person prefers social media, text, or email, these can also be good options.

During first contact, let the referral prospect know that you were referred to them by a friend, and identify by whom. Your first call is your chance to establish rapport and ask qualifying questions to determine what their needs are. Some great questions to ask:

  • Will you be buying or selling a home, or both?
  • Will it be a personal residence or investment?
  • What is your timeframe for making your move?
  • What kind of home are you seeking?
  • Why are you moving?
  • Have you started working with a lender?
  • How often and by what methods do you prefer to hear from me?

(In the future, we’ll be providing some great scripts for you to use in your qualifying conversations, right here on the KarmaCRM blog.)

Learn as much as you can, and enter notes into your CRM database so that the information is handy whenever you contact the prospect. This information will drive your follow-up plan.

Prospects whose timeframe is longer, say 6 to 12 months, might appreciate auto-prospecting from your MLS or personal website so that they can stay on top of what is happening in the market.

Adding every prospect to your monthly email list is another must – make sure your monthly emails provide helpful tips for where they are in the buying or selling process.

Automated contacts are great, but it’s also important to schedule prospects for regular personal contact from you. For prospects who are looking to move right away, you might follow up every few days. Prospects who will be moving in the next three months might get a weekly check-in call; if they are looking further out than that, monthly follow up may be fine. When in doubt, ask the prospect how often they like to be contacted.

Just remember to keep the client’s needs in mind, and add value every time you call. Look for opportunities to deliver helpful advice and service, whether it’s putting them in touch with other service providers like movers or home repair people, giving them the inside scoop on what you’re seeing in the market, or letting them know of any events happening in the area.

Finally, remember that not every referral is going to pan out. But if you focus on these areas, you will soon find that both the quantity and quality of your referrals is likely to improve.

Brandon is a growth marketer focused on helping companies grow their networks and increase their monthly qualified leads by providing quality content around professional lead generation.

Generating Referral Sales Starts with Doing Great Business

Can you guess the #1 source of business for real estate agents? Check out these stats for a hint:

65% of new business comes from referrals – New York Times

92% of respondents trusted referrals from people they knew – Nielsen

People are 4 times more likely to buy when referred by a friend – Nielsen

 As you probably already knew, referrals are king not only for real estate agents, but small businesses and other professional service businesses. Even though it’s no surprise to us that referrals are the lifeblood of our lead generation engine, many of us just aren’t asking our clients, for fear of a potentially awkward conversation.

Fortunately, you can avoid an awkward conversation, and have your clients rushing to refer you, by being a rockstar agent. We’re going to share a few quick tips to help you drive referral leads by delivering excellent work.

Rockstars…

Communicate

The first step in being a great rockstar agent is great communication. A good rule of thumb when dealing with clients, especially your more difficult clients, is to over-communicate rather than under-communicate. This means clear communication that lets your client know exactly what they need to know, and timely communication that gets your client the information they need when they need it. In our experience, lack of communication is the very first sign that a client relationship isn’t going to be fruitful.

Having a consistent schedule of communication with all of your clients is often the best way to ensure you are keeping up with necessary communication. That said,  without a system to track when you need to communicate with a user or client, you are doomed to forget. That’s where a CRM like karmaCRM comes in: This vital tool  allows you to set, manage, and be reminded of follow-ups via text message or email.

Challenge

Often times, disrupting how a client goes about their business can be the thing that sets you apart in their mind, when they get an opportunity to refer you. As a real estate agent or a service professional, this doesn’t mean insulting or tearing down your clients’ homes,  ideas, or businesses! Instead, you’ll present them with new information that may challenge the way they are thinking, and help them accomplish their goals

By putting the most relevant and educational information in front of our users, we challenge them to take the insights they have gained and apply them to help them achieve their goals.

At karmaCRM we recently challenged a user who steadfastly believed none of his clients would be willing to refer him to their network. We showed him a Texas Tech report stating that 83% of satisfied customers would be willing to refer a product or service to their network. He decided to give this idea — asking clients for referrals — a shot and was able to gather eight leads, and eventually three additional clients, in about an hour’s worth of time spent.

That user has since become a karmaCRM power user, and has referred us countless times. Disrupting his mindset and challenging him to be a better business owner made karmaCRM stand out as the most memorable CRM in his experience. From there, we simply asked him to keep us in mind when asked about his CRM of choice.

Plant the Seed

All too often, I see professionals who are incredibly hesitant to ask for referrals. In order to make asking significantly easier, you can plant a seed regarding referrals long before the engagement actually ends, so that your client can already be thinking about referrals they might be able to make. You can do this by simply showing how open you are to more business, and how eager you are to work.

When you working with your client, ensure you’re showing a real passion for what you’re doing, and communicate that what you do isn’t just for a paycheck. Also, make sure to communicate that you are in fact available for new clients. This means, take the word “busy” out of your vocabulary, at least while you’re with clients!

Make the ask!

We are continually asked by people in our network, and karmaCRM users, how they can improve their business, and who they should be talking to in order to get the advice they need. Luckily, karmaCRM is a great platform for business coaches, giving us countless business coaches that we can refer.

When we refer someone in our network to a karmaCRM customer, we make sure we send either an introduction email or a friendly note letting the business consultant or coach know that we have referred them. Not only do we love doing this for our users, but they are VERY likely to make sure to return the favor and refer karmaCRM.

Gaining referral sales comes down to building relationships, by going above and beyond your user’s, client’s, or customer’s expectations. Whether you are challenging your client with valuable information, or referring them to someone in your network, always remember to go above and beyond.

Next week, we’ll be diving into how to make the ask, and dissecting the different ways you can request referrals from your users and clients. In the meantime, we’re interested to hear from you guys! How do you position your clients so you can ask them for referrals? Let us know in the comments below!

Brandon is a growth marketer focused on helping companies grow their networks and increase their monthly qualified leads by providing quality content around professional lead generation.

How to Start Meaningful, Professional Relationships in a Room Full of 500 People

We’ve all been there.

Stuck in a room of 500 other professionals going from circle to circle, attempting to forge the beginnings of a meaningful relationship out of a business card and a cocktail. For many, these events only end with dozens of business cards to which you could hardly match the name with the face of its owner.

I know this struggle. I was the epitome of this struggle. That is, until I stopped networking, and started actually building REAL relationships.

The amazing crew at DC Nightowls holds co-working events at local DC co-working spaces every couple weeks, which are great opportunities to meet and network with fellow entrepreneurs and creatives. It was at their latest event, which was held at the beautiful 1776 in Washington, DC, that I began my journey of building 200 meaningful business relationships.

I walked in knowing no one and walked out with the building blocks of seven real relationships. These relationships represent possibilities for collaboration, advice, key introductions, and of course, sales!

So what was my recipe for success? Well…it all started with a dash of curiosity.

Start with a dash of genuine curiosity

When you start off any type of relationship, it can seem like there’s a 10,000 foot invisible wall that both parties have built and fortified. It’s up to each person to knock that wall down to allow a real connection to be made. In order to knock down those walls you have to make people feel comfortable, and the best way to do that is to get people to talk about themselves. I mean, who doesn’t love to talk about themselves to a genuinely interested audience?

However, sincerity is the key. It is important to walk into every conversation with a genuine interest in what the other person is doing. A genuine interest in their business, their career, their history, their latest vacation, their favorite restaurant, and their favorite team to root against (probably the Patriots or any team with a guy named LeBron).

You can start off with the obvious. If you’re at a startup event, ask about their business, their latest projects, and the latest trends in their industry. Also, remember to dig a little and ask the appropriate follow-up questions to further a rapport.

A great rule of thumb for every initial conversation I have with someone I’ve just met is to try and walk away knowing five interesting facts about that person.

ProTip: Someone’s name is not an interesting fact. Get to really know them! If you find out that someone was a founding member a 500 Startups backed company, you’re starting to find some interesting facts.

Remember to also look for a few clues that will give you insight on the background of the person you’re talking to. This can be extremely easy online since everyone has a Twitter, Linkedin, and often times a company profile that you can check. You can also do this easily in-person as well. Check to see what interesting t-shirt or shoes someone’s wearing. If they have on the latest Yeezy’s, chances are they are dying to tell you the epic story of how they obtained them. Paying attention to things like accents, body language, and other signs can give you great clues on a person’s background.

One of the biggest networking wins I have had this year was with a friendly Lyft driver named Nick that just so happened to be the co-founder of an awesome new startup out of DC called Pyazza.

We met as he picked my crew up from a local festival. I sat in the front seat, noticed a 1776 sticker on his dashboard, and asked him if he often worked at the workspace. He said he didn’t usually frequent 1776, but that he was the founder and CEO of an amazing startup and good friends with a few of the guys who gave me my first shot in the startup world.

That’s what I like to call an instant connection, and it was made possible by staying alert to my surroundings and the aesthetic clues around me.

Then make a connection

After you have begun to break down that wall, you need to remember to build something in it’s place so it won’t build itself back up. That something you must build is trust, and the best way to build it is to share stories, facts, and interesting tidbits about yourself that are relatable.

This was something I struggled with in my younger years. I was eager to stay out of the spotlight and let the other person shine, but I froze when it was my turn to talk about myself. This left the other person feeling like they had just been interviewed, instead of partaking in a sincere conversation. Relationship building is a two way street, and you must do your part.

During my initial run-in with Nick from Pyazza, we were able to figure out our mutual connection because I shared that I was also involved with startups. I made sure that I didn’t just interview him, but found something that we had in common and commented on it. We then dug deeper into our mutual interests and found a mutual connection. After that, any walls that we had up came crumbling down.

Offer to give

Once you’ve been able to disarm people and make a connection with them through similar interests or some other mutual connection, make sure you offer to give, in whatever capacity you can, before ever thinking of what you can receive from them. Giving can come in many different forms. It can be an introduction to a valuable contact that you have in your network, a helpful piece of advice, or an offer to help them with a project they are working on.

During my initial meeting with Nick, my offer was simply advice. Back then, Pyazza was in the early stages of their product launch and they were starting to roll out their marketing strategy. Nick and I got on the topic of social media tactics and I gave him a few tips on how he could expand his social footprint via Instagram quickly, yet inexpensively by using a few easy-to-implement tools. I can’t say if their team implemented these tactics, but I do believe Nick was appreciative of my well-meaning advice and impressed with my knowledge on the topic. I was able to then walk away from that short conversation having potentially helped his team and left an impression on a great new contact. I had built the beginnings of a great professional relationship.

Follow-up

Now this last part is perhaps the most important, and most botched, part of building meaningful professional relationships. Many people (not all) remember to follow-up with contacts, but very few people understand how to do this correctly.

You must remember to not only follow-up, but to also remember to keep on giving. As we said above, an introduction to a valuable contact that you have in your network, a helpful piece of advice, and a offer to help them with a project they are working on are all great ways to give a little and really add value to people’s lives.

In order to help you remember to add value, you can use a CRM like karmaCRM that automatically reminds you when to follow up with your contacts on a continuous schedule.

You simply need to add your new contact to karmaCRM, and then simply add them in the appropriate bucket. You’ll then be automatically reminded to follow up with that connection according to your preferences.

ProTip: Use FullContact’s card reader and Zapier to scan all your business card’s directly into karmaCRM. Be sure to try karmaCRM’s Zapier integration by the way. Connecting karmaCRM with 400 other applications just amplifies the awesome.

Then you’ll need to make sure that you follow up with some sort of valuable information or insight regarding our conversation. For instance, I sent Nick from Pyazza a few links to instagram marketing tools and a link to a blog article I had written about the topic. I continued to be helpful. You can send your new connections links to helpful articles, insightful whitepapers, or requests to introduce them to people that can help them out.

The last piece to master in the art of following up is to keep on following up. Relationships aren’t built from a single email and sometimes that email gets missed, ignored, or trashed. Don’t be afraid to have a bit of professional persistence and respectfully follow up with value added messages two or even three times before you get a reply.

Summary

We covered a lot here so remember:

Aim to learn five interesting facts about your new potential connections Build trust by opening up about yourself and making a connection Follow up by adding value Follow up again by adding value Follow up one more time… by adding value

There you have it! Now it’s your turn. How have you guys been building meaningful relationships? Sound off in the comments below.

Brandon is a growth marketer focused on helping companies grow their networks and increase their monthly qualified leads by providing quality content around professional lead generation.

Maximize your referrals in 2016 by asking at the right time

Most sales reps, entrepreneurs, coaches, and other professionals don’t ask clients for referrals. It’s not because it’s not effective and it’s not because clients are unwilling to give referrals. The fact is that asking for referrals is a task that makes even the toughest sales reps squeamish because it often feels and comes off as a pushy, overly aggressive, and selfish ask.

Here at karmaCRM, we’ve been working with our existing clients to generate warm leads via referrals and have seen some great results. Referrals can be a great lead source for business consultants, freelancers, solopreneurs, coaches, startups, and most SMB’s, so we wanted to share with you our process for attracting referral leads.

Ask at the right time

The best referrals come from your happiest customers right after they’ve experienced their “aha” moment with your product/service and have made a purchase. The moment when your customer or client is thinking “This is worth every penny!” is the moment you need to strike. Now, this requires first doing great business, which is a topic we discussed in last week’s post “Generating Referral Sales Starts with Doing Great Business”.

This point could be right after you deliver your product/service or when your product/service starts to show real results. It’s up to you to find the “aha!” moment that your product or service offers and strike while your customer is excited about you.

Don’t ask for a favor, do them a favor

Picking the right time to ask for a referral helps you in two key ways.

First, it makes asking for the referral 100x easier because you can frame the conversation as you doing your customer and your customers network a favor instead of the other way around.

Check out a sample conversation from a recent karmaCRM customer below:

Client: “Thanks so much for the helping me set things up! We have a nontraditional CRM setup, so the fact that karmaCRM could handle our off the wall needs is astounding to me. Thanks a ton for your help!”

Brandon: “No problem! I’m glad to see here how well everything is going. I know it’s tough trying to figure out how to best apply a CRM to your individual business needs. I’ve certainly heard some CRM search horror stories! I’ve talked to people that had been searching for months!”

Client: “That’s all too true. We ourselves tried about 15 different solutions before finding karmaCRM. I wouldn’t wish that on my friends or my worst enemies”

Brandon: “Wow! I can’t imagine going through so many solutions! Oh wait, I did the same thing with project management apps so I feel your pain!

You know, if you have any friends or colleagues that are looking for a CRM or may be looking for a CRM in the future you can refer them to me and I’d be happy to reach out with a helping hand.”

Client: “Actually, I know a few people who are desperate for a good solution….”

In this situation, since I made the ask while the client was overjoyed with our product, the client was more than happy to refer me to their network. I completely changed the situation from a awkward situation in which I was asking my client for a favor, into just another way I could add value to our customers lives.

Picking the right time to ask for a referral also means that you’re going to receive your most excited and your best customer referrals. You can think of your referring customer as an extension of your sales team. The more excited your sales team is and the more confident they are in the product, the better their pitch will be. You can ensure your referring customer is at his/her most enthusiastic by asking them for referrals at the right time.

Grab a testimonial or online review

I try to talk to at least 20-25 of our onboarding users every week to ensure I’m understanding our customers, their pain points, and ensuring they are onboarding smoothly. What I also learn during these calls is how often a lead has researched our platform on various review sites such as Capterra, Software Advice, or G2Crowd. I would estimate about 50% of our incoming customers have researched karmaCRM on a review sites and have been influenced by those reviews. In a world with 100’s of ways for potential customers to check reviews, testimonials, it’s important to have a great reputation on the web. Asking your happy customers for testimonials and positive reviews when they’re at their happiest is important as well.

The key to a great testimonial is to ensure that the testimonial covers the common hesitations a user would have regarding your service. In order to do that, keep these questions in mind when asking for testimonials and reviews.

  1. What were your major concerns or hesitations that may have stopped you from buying our product/service?
  2. What was the #1 benefit of buying our product/service?
  3. What results did you receive from buying our product/service?
  4. Would you recommend our product/service to a friend or colleague?

Continue to add value and nurture your relationships. Then ask again!

Not everyone you ask for a referral will know someone off the top of their head that they can refer you to. That’s why it’s important to continue to add value to the lives of your customers while continuing to nudge them toward referring you to their friends and colleagues.

You should already be striving to keep in regular contact with your customers and contacts through email marketing, or even better, personalized emails, social engagement, and even the occasional phone call. Sending a old client tips, advice, relevant blog articles, and even referrals of your own are great ways to continue to add value to the lives of your old customers.

You can use reminders, tasks, and events to remember to follow – up with old customers and clients in order to remember to stay at the top of their mind.

Follow up Question: Should I offer a incentive?

Incentives may work in certain situations, however your very best referrals are going to come from people that want to refer you whether you’re paying for the referral or not. Having a referral system with incentives is certainly a useful tactic, however, you should still be mindful of when, and how you ask for referrals.

Brandon is a growth marketer focused on helping companies grow their networks and increase their monthly qualified leads by providing quality content around professional lead generation.

A Startup Guy’s Journey to 200 Active Business Relationships

I’m about to start off the first blog post in our business relationship building series by saying what we all know is true.

Networking really sucks and you’re probably really bad at it.

How did I come to this conclusion? Well because I suck at it myself – and I also hate it. I try to avoid it at all costs. I do however love to grab a drink with a fellow entrepreneur, marketer, or creative that I haven’t met before and discuss what they’re working on and perhaps extend them a piece of advice, referral, or lend them a hand in anyway I possibly can.

I know what you’re thinking. Isn’t that just networking?

Nope. Now let me tell you why I think that’s far from networking.

Why I hate networking…. and why I suck at it

One of the smartest kids in my graduating class from my accounting firm (Yep. I was an accountant. Shout out to PwC!) is a startup junkie, and back in 2014 he was a lone startup junkie with a nonexistent network in the world of entrepreneurship. He knew he had to start building a strong network in order to be able to find the partners, and potentially the investors, that he would need to build the business he was dreaming of.

We talked on the phone pretty often and his networking dilemma would come up in almost every conversation. Naturally I would suggest going out and getting involved with the local startup community. He was Chicago based so I suggested going to some 1871 events and meeting up with some of the cool folks there..

Feeling frustrated and deafeated, one night he just flat out told me:

“Man, I don’t know if I’m cut out for this. I’ve gone to maybe five events this month alone, got business cards, and followed up to see if people would like to work together on projects or see if I can work on their team. I’ve never gotten a single response.

Can I do this?”

My Mission

It was truly heart breaking to hear a fellow entrepreneur doubt himself at such an early stage in his startup journey. His intent was pure and he was willing to put in the work to build a network. That approach though…. It was really bad.

This is the kind of thing I want to help every entrepreneur, freelancer, real estate agent, coach, consultant, solopreneur, and anyone else that wants to build business relationships to avoid. I want everyone to stop thinking about “I” when they are networking. In fact, I want everyone to stop thinking about networking in general.

I want the readers of this blog to be masters of helping others and building relationships.

We’re not in the networking business anymore people. We’re in the relationship building business now!

The Goal

I’m here to prove that if you help, engage, and take a genuine interest in others, you can build a vast network of active contacts.

This will be a case study on how I’ll be building 200 active business relationships from a starting point of 0.

I picked 200 contacts because of a guy named Robin Dunbar, who seems to believe the human brain can only maintain 150 stable relationships. Well, let’s see if you’re right Mr. Dunbar.

For the purposes of this challenge an active or stable relationship will mean a person that I have had a meaningful conversation through text, email, on the phone, or in person, over the last 6 months. I will have 9 months to achieve this goal.

What I’ll tell you

As you follow this blog, I will be authentic and vulnerable with you.

  • I will tell you about my networking failures
  • I will tell you how nervous I get before each and every meetup, conference, or 1v1 coffee date
  • I will tell you how I get over my fear of speaking to a large group of people
  • I will tell you how awkward I feel sending seven follow emails to the same person
  • I will also tell you how elated I feel when I FINALLY get a reply with an sincere and apologetic response and an invitation to lunch

What you’ll learn

I hope this blog series will lead you all to a greater understanding of how to build deeper relationships that will start providing you with real business results. This will include:

  • How to start a business relationship off on the right foot
  • How to follow up on a business relationship after an initial meeting (with templates!)
  • How to build relationships online, and not just on LinkedIn
  • How to turn your network into leads for your business
  • How to nurture your network

How we’ll be building

I’ll be building relationships through various mediums both on, and offline. My tactics will differ across all these mediums, but my overall strategy will be the same. I will add value to people’s lives in whatever way they find most valuable (and doable on my end!).

I’ll be forging relationships via the following channels:

  • Meetup Groups
  • Startup Conferences
  • Marketing Conferences
  • Social Sites (LinkedIn, Facebook Groups, Twitter, Reddit)
  • Slack Groups
  • Through my existing
  • Our current and existing user base

I’ll be using karmaCRM to ensure I’m following up with my contacts at the appropriate times.

What’s up next?

There are quite a few big relationship building lessons I’ve learned thus far in my career that I’ll be posting about over the next few weeks. Over the course of this nine month challenge I’ll give you insights on things like winning my first $10k client as a freelance and why I then took a $200 job a month later. I’ll also be posting about my network adding 10 paying accounts to karmaCRM over the course of a month after I came on board.

This won’t be a blog just for the freelancers or solopreneurs. I’m going to be breaking down relationship building for individuals and companies in all industries from real estate agents and business coaches to accountants and lawyers.

Ready to learn?

Well, let’s go then!

Brandon is a growth marketer focused on helping companies grow their networks and increase their monthly qualified leads by providing quality content around professional lead generation.

Generating Referral Sales Starts with Doing Great Business

 

Unlike most big CRM companies, karmaCRM doesn’t have a enormous marketing budget and a 30 person sales team. We’re a small business, just like our userbase, and we have the small marketing budget to go along with that designation. This just means our marketing tactics and lead generation channels have to be a bit different than your average CRM company. That’s why we’re proud to say one of our most dependable lead generation sources is word of mouth marketing.

That’s right. Word of mouth.

Over the past quarter, we can trace nearly a 25% of our leads to word of mouth sources. Our amazing users are telling their friends, colleagues, and network about karmaCRM and those people are signing up and becoming users themselves.

In this blog post we’re going to share with you how we generated those word of mouth leads by doing great business and building strong relationships and how you can do the same.

Be a Joy to Work With

People will talk about and evangelize your brand when you’ve been able to build amazing relationships with them. Whether you’re a tiny startup out of Denver, a one man business consulting practice, or a 10,000 employee corporation, customers love to feel connected with your company and your brand. At karmaCRM this idea of building relationships starts as soon as you sign up for our platform and is a staple of our customer happiness strategy.

The first step in being a great business partner and a joy to work with is great communication. At karmaCRM, this means when you email our support or sales team, or submit a ticket, you can rely on our team responding within 12 hours at the longest and most likely within a hour. For business consultants, this means clear communication that lets your client know exactly what they need to know, and timely communication that gets your client the information they need when they need it. In our experience, the very first sign that a client relationship isn’t going to be fruitful is a lack of communication.

Without a system to track when you need to communicate with a user or client you are doomed to forget. That’s where you’ll need a CRM like karmaCRM that allows you to set, manage, and be reminded of followups via text message or email.

Challenge your clients to be the best they can be

Often times, disrupting how a client goes about their business can be what sets you apart in their mind when they get an opportunity to refer you. This doesn’t mean insulting or tearing down your clients business, but it does mean challenging what has become their status quo. Our sales team is constantly gathering data, articles, and industry insights to share with our userbase. By putting the most relevant and educational information in front of our users, we challenge them to take the insights they have gained and apply them to their business.

We recently challenged a user who steadfastly believed none of his clients would be willing to refer him to their network with a Texas Tech report which states that 83% of satisfied customers would be willing to refer a product or service to their network. He decided to give asking clients for referrals a shot and was able to gather eight leads and eventually three additional clients in about an hours worth of time spent.

That user has since become a karmaCRM power user and has referred us countless times. Disrupting his mindset and challenging him to be a better business owner made karmaCRM standout as the most memorable CRM he has used. From there, we simply asked him to keep us in mind when asked what his CRM of choice was.

Be the referrer before being the referee

We are continually asked by people in our network and karmaCRM users how they can improve their business and who they should be talking to in order to get the advice they need. Luckily, karmaCRM is a great platform for business coaches, so we have countless business coaches that we can refer.

When we refer someone in our network to a karmaCRM customer, we make sure we send either a introduction email or a friendly note letting the business consultant or coach know that we have referred them. Not only do we love doing this for our users, but they are VERY likely to make sure to then return the favor and refer karmaCRM.

 

Referral sales comes down to building relationships by going above and beyond your user’s, client’s, or customer’s expectations. Whether you are challenging your client with valuable information or referring them to someone in your network, always remember to go above and beyond.

Next week we’ll be diving into how to make the ask and dissecting the different ways you can request referrals from your users and clients. In the meantime we’re interested to hear from you guys! How do you set your clients up so you can ask them for referrals? Let us know in the comments below!

Brandon is a growth marketer focused on helping companies grow their networks and increase their monthly qualified leads by providing quality content around professional lead generation.

How Pre-targeting Helped us Achieve a 75% Cold Email Open Rate

Two weeks ago, the karmaCRM email marketing campaign was sitting at a healthy 51.5% open rate with a 13.5% reply rate over the last 1,000 sent emails. That has helped us generate 57 phone conversations which turned into 35 signups for our platform. Not too bad! However, after implementing a simple tactic to warm up our cold emails, our statistics were as follows:

Open rate: 75%

Reply rate: 21%


The key to our success was a little talked about tactic called pre-targeting. By pre-targeting our prospects with social advertisements before we send them cold emails, we familiarize our prospects with our brand. The key, is to ensure these pre-targeting ads are brand awareness ads. 

I’m going to dive into how we achieved a 75% cold email open rate and how you can implement this into your own sales prospecting process.

We’ll cover:

  • How to prospect for email addresses
  • How to run a pre-targeting campaign through Facebook or Twitter
  • How to structure your ads to maximize exposure and minimize cost

Let’s get started!

  1. How to prospect for email addresses

Prospecting for emails has become one of the most blogged about topics within the sales industry over the past year. With tools like Email Hunter, Leadfuze, Sales Intelligent, and Datanyzer, it’s easier than ever to find anyone’s verified email address. We won’t cover each tactic here, but see below to find our favorite blogs on the topic:

How to Find 200 Targeted Email Addresses for Tree

Find Email Addresses – 60+ Tools and Tips to Find Someone’s Email

How to Find Anyone’s Email Address

  1. How to run a pre-targeting campaign on Facebook and Twitter

Now that you have a solid email list, the real fun begins!

Pre-targeting is in essence very similar to retargeting on Facebook or Twitter using custom audiences or tailored audiences. You simply add your email list to your Facebook or Twitter ad campaigns, and let ads run ONLY for those specified email addresses

Pre-targeting with Facebook and Custom Audiences

For Facebook, pre-targeting can be done using a customer audience created for your pre-targeting campaign. There are again, tons of great articles that teach you how to utilize custom audiences, so we won’t reinvent the wheel. The guys at Shopify, Wishpond, and our favorite Facebook Marketer Jon Loomer all do a great job with Facebook custom audiences.  Check out the links below to read straight from the experts.

Shopify Pre-targeting: Scroll to Email Audiences section

Wishpond

Jon Loomer

Pre-targeting with Twitter Tailored Audiences

Retargeting (and pre-targeting) with Twitter works almost exactly the same as for Facebook except Twitter calls them tailored audiences. The guys and gals over at Sprout social kick some major butt on this topic. We took insights directly from their Tailored audiences article and we recommend you do the same. Read their article here

  1. How to structure your pre-targeting ads

With pre-targeting, you should be using a strategy that allows you to maximize your reach and increase brand awareness but also minimizes costs. So the key here is to run CPC campaigns that DO NOT get clicks or run CPM campaigns instead. You DO want your ad to stand out and be seen, just not clicked. That means you don’t want a call to action (I know it’s Madness!).

You should run your pre-targeting campaign for about 3 days prior to sending out your emails to your list to maximize the  opportunities that your target market has to see your advertisement. The warmer the lead the better!

Last Thoughts

Social media retargeting has become one of the hottest trends in internet marketing over the last couple of years because of it’s low customer acquisition costs and high conversion rates. Sales teams can now utilize these same tools and principles to warm leads, increase outbound email open rates, and get more qualified leads into the funnel!

As always, cold emailing is a process, so expect to test, iterate, test, and then iterate some more to get the desired results. However, if you stay consistent and diligent, you can achieve rockstar stats!

Brandon is a growth marketer focused on helping companies grow their networks and increase their monthly qualified leads by providing quality content around professional lead generation.

How to Find 200 Targeted Email Addresses for Free

If you’re beginning a cold email campaign, then guess what…you need emails! Luckily, we’ve developed a method for obtaining up to 200 emails per month for free.

What you’ll need

Linkedin

Email Hunter (Including Chrome Extension)

karmaCRM (Including Chrome Extension)

The Process

The process is simple and can be completed in just three steps.

Step 1. Find your target on LinkedIn

The first thing you’ll need to do is find the people you want to make contact with. If you know your target, then you can simply search for their name. If you’re prospecting for cold email outreach, then you need to ensure you are identifying the right prospects.

To identify prospects you can analyze past sales and ask yourself:

  • What size company did these sales come from?
  • What was the job title of the decision-maker?
  • What industry was the company in?

Ask yourself similar questions about your marketing personas, and use them to identify the correct prospects.

Once you have figured out your ideal traits, you can use LinkedIn’s Advanced Search to find prospects.

Protip #1: You can save the results of a search using the “Save Search” feature located in the upper right hand corner of LinkedIn’s search field. You can save up to three searches with your free LinkedIn account.

ProspectingBlogPostSearchScreenshot

Step 2. Find your email addresses

Now that you’ve found your target and have installed the Email Hunter chrome plugin, you can easily use Email Hunter to find your target’s email address.

Simply click the orange Email Hunter button and wait a few seconds, and Email Hunter will search the net to find your target’s email address.

Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 4.19.47 PM

Email Hunter will also tell you other email addresses found with that domain and the confidence level of each of the emails.

Step 3. Move them into your CRM

Now you have your target’s name, company, and email address, so all you need to do is import them into your CRM. Since you have installed the karmaCRM chrome plugin, you just click the webclipper in the corner of your URL box, and add your target’s email address.

Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 4.20.56 PM

Once you click import, karmaCRM will add your target to your karmaCRM account along with your target’s LinkedIn profile and background.

Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 4.22.20 PM

There you have it! In thirty seconds you can find your target’s email address and have them imported directly into your karmaCRM system.

Edit: Email Hunter’s old free plan offered 250 searches per month. It now offers 200 searches per month under it’s free plan

Now over to you! What tools do you use to find your targets and make contact?

 

Brandon is a growth marketer focused on helping companies grow their networks and increase their monthly qualified leads by providing quality content around professional lead generation.

How to send cold emails your prospects will love (Template Included)

Fact #1: People do not hate cold emails or cold calls.

No… Seriously. Cold calls and cold emails can be great… if you are contacting prospects with a way to solve a problem that they are actually having.

I recently received the following email from one of the newest lead generation platforms (see growbots.com):

Hi,

We’re both in the startup environment, so I thought it would be great to reach you with this cold email and see what happens.

What may actually happen:

  1. You stop reading now. Then… Bye and have a great day/week/whatever 😉
  2. I caught your attention for a sec and you realize I may have something interesting up my sleeve…

…cause lead gen email campaigns is what we do for a living:

I have an idea as to how you can quickly and efficiently find 500 leads per month for less than $1 per lead.

Would you be up for doing a quick brainstorm about your lead generation methods? A 15-minute call should be enough.

Best,

Greg

I responded ecstatically in about 5 seconds.

I loved getting this email because he was offering to:

  1. Solve a problem that I was having
  2. Have a conversation

At karmaCRM we have formed our own outbound email campaigns around these two rules has resulted in a reply rate of over 13% for our outbound email campaigns. Check out the following email that we crafted while targeting Real Estate Agencies.

Hi {first_name},

My name is Brandon and I’m the marketing and sales lead at karmaCRM. Your firm came up in a conversation while I was working with some other real estate firms to help them generate more referrals.

An astonishing 63% of buyers who have purchased a home in the last year have recommended their agent to another person. I have an idea as to how you can turn your current relationships into referrals by building better relationships with your clients.

I’d like to speak with the person in charge of {{company_name}}’s sales and marketing.

If that’s you, are you open to a fifteen minute brainstorm sometime this week or early next week to discuss how you get increase your referral 75% or more. If not you, can you please point me in the direction with the right person?

I appreciate the help!

Why Did it work?

1. We understood our target persona

Before you begin any outbound campaign you should have a well developed target persona. That means you need to understand the pain points that customer is experiencing and have a basic understanding of their industry.

We recently decided to target real estate agents and found that over 75% of business from real estate agents comes directly from referrals. Armed with that information we knew that Real Estate Agents were always looking for ways to increase these referral sales and were able to craft a message that targeted that specific pain.

2. We started a conversation (And never tried to sell)

In this entire email, I never once attempted to sell karmaCRM. The goal of this first email message should be simply to get a reply, and in order to get a reply, you need to start a meaningful conversation.

Within this email we provided a valuable link to a trusted outside article that drove home what they already know, that most of their clients will come from referral sources. We then gave them a small teaser of an idea that we have that will allow them to get more referral clients.

Because we were educational, conversational, and offered to share an idea, the prospect is much more compelled to reply to the email and schedule a chat about getting more clients.

Tools to help you improve

Email prospecting is a tough game, but one that can yield astonishing results. In order to start improving your outbound email outreach efforts you need to start tracking your results. You can use karmaCRM to track open rates for your email messages to help you analyze how well your campaign is doing. You can grab 250 free email addresses via linkedin using the karmaCRM webclipper and the amazing software over at Email Hunter.

Happy prospecting!

Brandon is a growth marketer focused on helping companies grow their networks and increase their monthly qualified leads by providing quality content around professional lead generation.