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Referential Treatment

Referral programs

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This story appears in the March 2000 issue of Business Start-Ups magazine.

Do you know the difference between a hot prospect and a cold one? If you have a program in place to win referrals for your new business, you're on the right track. Referrals are your hottest prospects because people come to you prepared to buy. Typically, prospects move through your sales cycle in three stages. They begin as cold prospects who know relatively little about your company. As you use sales techniques to bring them closer to a buying decision, they become warm, then hot, prospects.

Referrals, on the other hand, are businesses or individuals who've been sent to you because they have a specific interest in what you offer. They automatically enter your sales cycle at about the same point as prospects you've painstakingly pulled in all the way from cold through warm to hot.

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