Referrals best source of new sales for start-ups – Kellett

8 Mar 2010

Having recently run a workshop with students in Dublin City University as part of its Enterprise Week last week, Mark Kellett, CEO of Magnet Networks, says to anyone starting a business that the best way to get sales is referrals.

Speaking to, the online resource for start-ups in Ireland, he said: “The easiest and best place to find a sale is off the back of your first sale. Ask the client whether they were satisfied and liked what you’ve sold them and whether they would be willing to refer you to their customers and suppliers.”

A lot of people don’t do this when they start out in business, but Kellett says it’s critical.

“Professional selling is exactly that – a profession. The winner of The Apprentice Steve Raynor was successful because he used references from customers. If you’ve provided a service to the local accountant, for example, he will typically know a couple of hundred businesses in the locality. Ask him would he be willing to refer you to them.”

The golden rule with sales is that organisations don’t exist in a customer’s mind, he continues. “People buy from people. You need to understand who is in your network. Ask yourself, are you trying to sell vertically, ie, into a sector such as pharmaceuticals, or are you trying to sell into a certain function within organisations, like human resources.

“Don’t try to take over the world when you’re selling in the beginning. Use your existing network of contacts such as on Facebook and LinkedIn. These channels are very good for reaching professionals or people coming out of college.”

By Sorcha Corcoran

Photo: Mark Kellett, CEO of Magnet Networks