Referrals – The Ultimate Sales Profession Validation
Are you building your business solely on referrals? How nice would that be? For those that are, congratulations, as you have proven yourself to be the ultimate professional in your field.
Referrals are the number one desired source of leads. They have the highest closing ratio and profit margin but it tends to be an area that most sales people neglect working. They prefer to have referrals just show up on their doorstep. We all get a few this way, but if you work a referral system you will realize many more leads than simply waiting for people to pass on your card. Why work so hard at cold calling when you can work on referrals?
I have seen a few referral systems and programs throughout my career and chose to affiliate Sales Manager Now with No More Cold Calling by Joanne Black. Joanne’s system and approach is simple enough for anyone to implement but not necessarily easy, which explains why most sales people don’t. There are no gimmicks, tricks or slick lines to increasing referrals, but there are better times and better ways to ask for referrals. The book, No More Cold Calling, is an excellent resource for this information. In addition, the book addresses reasons why sales people don’t ask or receive referrals as often as they could and provides perspectives to motivate change.
With all that said, those willing to put in the work will close more business in less time and money.
Key Components to a Referral System
Believe people want to help others – One roadblock to asking for referrals is our belief that we are imposing or jeopardizing our current relationship with the person we want to ask. In general, the opposite is true. People do like helping others when they are presented the opportunity respectfully, intelligently and at the right time.
Trust and confidence is a requirement for a good referral – People do need to feel confident in your product and service as well as trust you as a person to make a quality introduction. They don’t need to be a customer or client to understand your value, but they do need to be educated on that value before they can think of more people they can refer.
Change your definition of what a referral is – The definition Joanne uses is when someone introduces you to someone else. When done correctly, the person you are introduced to is expecting and looking forward to your call. Anything else is a cold call.
Create a list of your current referral network – You know a lot of people. Write their names down and build a list. The list can be anyone, and as you work the system you’ll better define who’s ready to refer you now and those who need to get to know you and your service value a little better.
Identify your ideal referral client – In order to receive high quality referrals you must be able to quickly communicate the exact type of person or business you would want to be referred to.
Create an interesting, intriguing or funny intro to use when meeting new people. – This is used more when you are meeting someone cold and the question of, “What do you do?” comes up. I personally use these: “I hang out with sales people all day”, “I am a motivation expert”, or “I increase sales through sales management for half the expected cost.”
Improve when and how you ask for referrals – The No More Cold Calling Program does a great job at helping you make these improvements. While asking more often is part of the system, how and when you ask is where the magic exists.
Show your appreciation – Remember to say thank for each and every introduction you receive. Keep people updated as to what happens with those they have introduced.