Are you getting more referrals in sales than you can possibly handle? If so, you’re in the minority. Most salespeople are in desperate need of more referrals. They make the serious lead generation mistake of failing to leverage their customers, colleagues, and acquaintances to grow their businesses. This is a huge lost opportunity.
No matter what industry you sell in, referrals are key to dominating your competition. Why? Because there’s simply no better way to find qualified prospects to fill your sales pipeline. It’s time to revamp your approach to getting referrals, so you can close far more sales than ever before.
Luckily, there’s a simple way to double your sales referrals. Just follow these three easy steps to radically transform your prospecting approach, and get 100% more referrals:
1. Stop asking for referrals. Yes, you read that right. The first step to getting more referrals is to stop asking for referrals. This sounds completely counter-intuitive, but here’s the truth: The term “referral” is a buzzword that doesn’t always have a clear meaning for your existing customers, colleagues, and acquaintances. When you ask someone for a referral, you’re likely to get a “use-my-name” referral—meaning the person will respond, “Sure, here’s Jon’s name and number. You can use my name when you call him.” At this point, it’s too late to ask, “Actually, could you introduce me directly to Jon?”
Instead of asking for referrals, begin asking for introductions instead. You’ll eliminate the confusion and stop “use-my-name” referrals before they even start. Everyone understands what an introduction is. Simply ask, “Would you mind introducing me to Jon? It sounds like he would be a great fit for my services.” With a direct question like this, you’ll be far more likely to get exactly what you’re looking for: phone or face-to-face contact with a qualified prospect.
For more, check out this video about making the switch from referrals to introductions:
2. Ask for one introduction every single day. The key to doubling your introductions is to make a commitment—and stick to it. Start by asking for one introduction as soon as you finish reading this article. Then hold yourself accountable to repeat this action every single day.
In fact, the key to all effective prospecting techniques is to stick to a steady schedule of daily activities. Although it might feel like a big commitment to do the same activities every single day, asking for an introduction only takes 5 to 10 minutes of your time. Consider it the most important prospecting activity you do each day, and make it a daily priority.
3. Reach out to everyone you know. Start by reaching out to clients for introductions. Then make your way through a list of everyone who has ever worked with you: customers, suppliers, partners, colleagues, and more. Vendors are another great source of introductions. They’re likely to have connections to people who could use your product or service, and they’re happy to make the introduction.
Even prospects who didn’t end up working with you can be introduction gold mines. Just because they weren’t a good fit for your service, doesn’t mean they don’t know lots of people who might be interested in your solution. You can also ask people in your networking organizations, friends, family—really anyone you know—for introductions. The possibilities are endless.
One introduction per day might not seem like that much right now, but it will soon escalate to five or more introductions per week—that’s at least 250 per year! With 250 introductions per year, you can radically transform your sales pipeline.
Will you commit to just one introduction per day in order to double your introductions in sales? Hop on the phone right away to ask for that first introduction. And check out this free e-book on 25 Tips to Crush Your Sales Goal for more powerful prospecting advice.
Marc Wayshak is the founder of Sales Strategy Academy, best-selling author of Game Plan Selling, and a regular contributor for Fast Company, Entrepreneur Magazine and the Huffington Post Business section. He holds an MBA from the University of Oxford and a BA from Harvard University.