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March 8, 2009

Statistics shows power of referrals in recession

The importance of looking after your existing customers – and engaging with them effectively through meetings and events – has been revealed in the latest sales trends report from conference bag, portfolio and briefcase company Nexus Collections.

The report, now in its third year, breaks down the company's annual sales of over 500,000 products worldwide, identifying trends among key buyers in the meetings and events industry.
As the economic outlook declined and fears of recession grew, referral-based sales leapt from just 30% last year to a huge 52% share of Nexus' business.
Of particular interest is the fact that the increase in referrals pushed search engine/internet leads down to third place, with exhibition sales (particularly from International Confex) in second position, remaining steady at 25%.

This reflects the greater importance of recommendations, trust and reputation during a downturn, indicating that looking after existing customers could be key to companies’ survival. One of the most effective ways of doing this is engaging with customers and prospects directly through events and other forms of live marketing.
What’s more, the influence of exhibition activity on Nexus Collections’ sales figures is likely to be greater than the pure statistics suggest, as face-to-face activity feeds referrals more than any other form of marketing.

According to recent research from Jack Morton Worldwide, people exposed to live marketing on average tell 17 others about their experience. Although Nexus Collection’s presence at Confex will not have had the same impact as a live event dedicated to the company, due to the competition in the exhibition space, it will still have had the power to boost referrals.

"It is understandable that companies want to work with people they trust during difficult times,” said Nexus Collections managing director Nick Jones. “These figures clearly show a shift in purchasing tactics away from internet searches, with their inherent focus on the cheapest option, to a clear need for trust and reputation.”

Nexus Collection’s source of sales for 2008:
– Referrals 52%
– Confex 25%
– Website/search engine 20%
– Other 3%

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