Be Unstoppable: 3 Tactics To Grow Collaborative Selling

Let's explore 3 tactics to leverage partner referrals to grow your business, strengthen your network, and create benefits for everyone involved.

Many small business owners, entrepreneurs, and sales professionals rely on collaborative selling to grow their business. They are collaborating to help serve their customers and sharing referrals that are worth their weight in gold. 


Whether you’re new to the business, in your mid-career, or very experienced, getting qualified referrals is always at the top of the list. Let’s explore some foundational tactics to help you grow your business.

When it comes to referrals, there’s always more we can learn. I’ve seen professionals who have been in business for decades light up like a Christmas tree when they realize there’s something new to learn about collaborative selling and referrals.

I have to agree.

A new study, The State of Business Customer Referral Programs sheds light on the topic of referrals. I believe you’ll find it very useful and will use these insights to optimize your partner referral practices. 

Just to clarify, these insights come from business owners of B2B and B2C companies.

Here’s what this expert study shows us.

Where are referrals from?

Most of the business owners polled said 29% of their referrals came from social media, and 23% from email. However, that’s just the beginning of the picture.

What is the best conversion into sales?

Conversion will vary widely amongst different businesses. The study covers a wide range of industries and regions…so it’s important to draw your conclusions.

This business poll showed that 32% of verbal referrals resulted in sales. 19% of lead forms converted to a sale. 17% of email referrals resulted in sales. Social media showed only 1% conversion in sales.

Does this sound familiar to you? Is it similar or different?

If you’re not sure, that’s a starting point as well. It can indicate that you have an opportunity to analyze your conversion rates from referral sources – to sales. 

Who is making referrals?

A lot of business owners are in the habit of asking customers for referrals. This indicates that savvy owners are active and consistent. They tend to be successful at asking customers for referrals as shown by these measurements:

    • 61% of customers make one referral
    • 34% of customers make 2 to 10 referrals
    • 5 % of customers make 11 or more referrals

If you’re in business, asking customers for referrals is a very important part of the entire process. As you can see, some customers love to make referrals to such a degree that it could completely transform your partner referral system.


How Can You Translate These Insights?

I bet you’re curious about growing your ability to sell collaboratively. It starts with developing a stronger referral system. Seeing these results from business owners gets the wheels turning.

3 big tactics can grow your referral system into a well-oiled machine. 

1. Focus on Customers Whose Referrals Convert to Sales

One of my early sales mentors always told me, “Follow the money.” Understanding which customers refer qualified leads is a good way to follow the money in your business. 

It’s not only about getting a lot of referrals, is it? It’s about getting qualified referrals, which convert, to sales and happy customers. 

2. Focus On Customers Who Love Giving Referrals

Some people are more dialed into the value of giving and receiving referrals. They are like bees buzzing around and sharing goodness with everyone in their network. 

Often, these are the people who not only love giving referrals, but they also love learning. They are eager to learn about your business vision, mission, and values. They want to understand your criteria for prospects so they are confident in referring qualified people to you.

If you have these people in your network, you know what a difference this can make to your referral system. Naturally, this will inspire you to give as well as receive.

3. Focus On Giving With Ease and Joy

Many people like the idea of getting referrals. After all, it’s a lot like getting gifts for your birthday. It feels great!

However, you can’t sit around, hoping and waiting for the magic to emerge from out of nowhere. 

It reminds me of the classic example of priming a pump. In earlier times, people relied on an old-fashioned pump to get water. If you’ve ever used one, you know that you need to move that handle up and down vigorously before water starts flowing. 

Giving referrals is similar to priming the pump. The key idea is to ‘give first’ and don’t worry about where the water will come flowing from next. By giving first, you are taking initiative and providing benefit for other businesses. You’re taking the first step of showing goodwill, building community, and fostering growth.

Very often, you’re helping your target customers get valuable services and solutions. In essence, you’re starting the water flowing. In my experience, this leads to other people giving qualified for your business. 

Even in the middle of the pandemic, we’re seeing the power of giving first. Here’s a story that shows the true spirit of generous giving.

Copper Bottom Craft Distillery, a small Florida distillery, pivoted their business to benefit their community. In the middle of the pandemic, they used their Holly Hill facilities to produce hand sanitizer and gave away 5,000 gallons of hand sanitizer for free.

Now, they’ve switched back to making their limited edition spirits. Do you think people remember their generosity? You bet. People are coming back for liquor. Their bottom line is surging to new heights and they’ve been selected to be the official rum of Jeep Beach Weekend in Daytona.

In your business and partnerships, look for innovative ways to give first.


Sum Up

Partner referrals are a powerful way to grow your business, strengthen your network, and create benefits for everyone involved. As you work with your collaborative partners, develop new ways to build trust and define your partnership goals. 

By starting with a collaborative mindset, you can join successful businesses that are shaping the market and realizing significant revenue potential. Collaborative selling is how you can virtually qualify for B2B sales opportunity. You can use this to boost sales, expand your network, and grow profitability.

Using a platform like CoSell is the simplest way to get your sales team on board. CoSell is a robust platform that makes it easy and fast to automate and scale collaborative co-selling across sales teams. 

If you’d like to explore how partnership co-selling can help you and your team boost sales and win major clients fast - check out our selection of free eBooks.

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