Clusters of companies provide ideal conditions for spotting successful and unsuccessful behaviours. One of the most notable distinctions between those that achieve rapid growth and those that do not is the share of sales that come by referral.
What share of your sales are referral sales?
At Level39 I worked with over 200 companies to increase rates of mutual referral. The most successful individuals and businesses were those that repeatedly referred others, rather than only pitching their own business, product or service.
From a network perspective, this is about being a “node” rather than an “endpoint” in the networks of others. Counterintuitively, it is far better to refer a potential competitor to a customer (provided that there are other potential customers), as this enhances both your reputation and focuses your value proposition. It also earns you social capital with your rivals as well as your prospects.
Not every sales environment rewards this kind of behaviour, but in well connected and diverse markets sales growth comes fastest to those who are most active in referring others.
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