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The "other" hungry fish you should know

The "other" hungry fish you should know

August 03, 2011

If you've seen any of my articles or heard any of my presentations then you know I always talk about how important is to identify your Hungry Fish - your prospects who are most interested in what you have to offer.

But prospects are just one type of Hungry Fish.

I'm seeing a lot of people make the mistake of just focusing all their time and energy on finding prospects when there's another hungry fish who is just as valuable - and can help them sell their products at no cost.

How good is that? Getting others to sell your products and you don't have to do anything?

I'll show you how'

Seriously. You really can get others to sell for you and it will cost you absolutely nothing.

These hungry fish are what I call endorsers. These are people in your industry who have influence that are willing to act as a referral to your hungry fish.

Most people make the mistake of immediately thinking about celebrity endorsements such as William Shatner and PriceLine.com, Michael Jordan and Nike or Peyton Manning and Sony. But most businesses can't afford to hire movie stars or the top athletes of the century to promote their products. In every industry and niche, however, there are people who have star power and can influence where people buy their products or services.

Here are just some of the common types of endorsers that are most likely available to you'

The "other" hungry fish you should find in your pond are the endorsers who can refer other fish to your product. It's one of the most powerful, yet underrated techniques to increase sales and it doesn't cost a dime.

1. Schmoozers. Who are some of the high profile volunteers, bloggers, speakers in your market? Ask them to review your product or service. Offer them a free trial or sample so they can see how they may benefit and how others may benefit too? If they become a fan, they'll tell others about it.

2. Big Talkers. These are the people who have a huge influence on your prospects. They may be heads of other companies or directors of organizations that wield tremendous influence in your pond. You don't have much control over what they say, so be sure to frame the story for them.

3. Small Talkers. These are influential people too, but they lead more by example than by what they say.

4. Your own customers. Most companies fail to ask customers for referrals because they don't care as much about their current customers as they do about getting new customers. The best time to get a referral is within 30 days of the sale. Here's another tip: Ask your prospects or customers to participate in a trial or experiment. It'll stroke the ego of your best prospects by creating an exclusive group and you'll give yourself a pool to recruit endorsements from.

5. Other companies. These are companies that you can 'tag-along' with in a promotion to their customers. It gives you greater leverage by having other people work for you by increasing the sales opportunities you would not have gotten otherwise. Look for a partner that is already doing business with your ideal customer base.

6. Club or association directors. The key in such a partnership is to appeal to their needs ' more money and more members. Offer the association a share of the profits for every sale you make at a special discount for their members as part of a membership drive. It's a win-win. The offer appears as a benefit for members and it helps you increase your pool of prospects.

Why would they endorse you? Deep down inside each one of us is a desire to look good. And if someone can recommend a solution to a friend or colleague they'll look good.

There are people in every industry who can endorse your product. And it's just as important to identify the endorsers in your pond as it is to determine your prospects ' both are hungry fish.

A business owner in New York, for example, makes custom printed wedding invitations but was having a tough time marketing her company. Chances are Martha Stewart won't be featuring her any time soon so she can't count on a celebrity endorsement.

But one of the most powerful groups of influencers in any market are bloggers ' writers in niche markets with a loyal following of readers. She can introduce bloggers in the wedding market to her hand-crafted invitations, tell her story of how she got into such a unique business and how much clients appreciate her work in hopes that the blogger will tell others about it.

Testimonials from customers are some of the most powerful endorsements you can get. Here are two tips:

Tip #1. Testimonials should help you overcome some of the most common objections you hear. Usually, the biggest objection is price. In this case, a testimonial may say, 'I thought we wouldn't have the budget for custom-crafted wedding invitations, but they were worth every penny we paid and it's something we'll cherish for the rest of our lives.'

Tip #2. Testimonials should also serve as mirror. You want your prospects to see themselves in the testimonial. For example, it may say, 'Like a lot of people, we didn't want our invitations to look like a Hallmark card. We wanted them to be unique that would make others want to celebrate this special day.'

Testimonials like these from any customers will do but those who are more influential are even better because you'll not only have a strong story endorsing you but you also have a well-known name endorsing you too.

Other referral sources in this case may include noncompeting, complementary businesses such as florists, caterers, event planners and dress designers who also work in the wedding market.

You get the idea. So who are the endorsers among your hungry fish? Who can you recruit to endorse your product or service? Start making a list and then talk with them about serving as a referral for you. You may have to also serve as referral for their product and as long as you're willing to endorse it then go for it.

Always taking you from where you are to where you want to go,

Jon

Jon Goldman, President