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Getting Better Referrals: Monday Morning Tip

To Whom Do You Want To Be Referred?

If you expect to use referrals as an igniter of your pipeline in short order, you’ll have to do all of the work for your clients. Asking your database of clients for referrals will generate referrals if done correctly. However, the fruits of that request won’t be seen quickly.

You, of course, don’t have the luxury of waiting. You need business NOW.

You’re going to make giving referrals super easy for your client.

Sit down right now and draw up a list of 100 individuals or companies YOU KNOW you want to be referred to. Be specific. List the name, the phone number and the address of each individual or the name, phone number, address, and the specific person within the company for each company you wish to be referred to.

You may have to do some serious research. Nevertheless, your list is the critical part of this strategy.

Don’t stop at 50, or 70, or 90. List a minimum of 100 individuals or companies. Remember, you're going to make it easy for your client to refer you. Someone must do the work, and that’s you.

When making your list, leave room on the right side of the sheet beside each name to put the name of the person who is going to refer you to that person or company.

Who Is Going To Refer You?

Great. You know 100 individuals or companies you want to be referred to.

So, how are you going to get referred to them? By your clients, of course.

Now, take your database of clients and examine each one. Which client do you have reason to believe can refer you to the first person on your list? The second? The third?

The more you know about each of your clients, the easier this part of the task will be. Hopefully, you've come to know the majority of your clients well.

Beside each prospect list the client--and their phone number--that you believe can refer you to that prospect.

If you have a list of 100 people or companies you know you want to be referred to, you’ll probably be able to identify 70 or so that you have reason to believe one of your clients may know and can refer you to.

If you have 70 prospects your clients may know, you’ll probably find they can actually refer you to about 45 to 50 of them.

If you are referred to 45 to 50, you’ll probably set appoints with about 30 to 35.

If you set appointments with 35, multiply 35 by your average close ratio, which is what you can expect to close. If your close ratio is 40%, you should have in your hand 14 short-term sales.

Get the Referrals

Now the question is: how do you turn your list into referrals?

Naturally, you are going to go back to each of the clients that you have identified as a potential referrer to someone on your list.

Start with the clients you have the strongest relationship with first. Better to get some positive reinforcement from your best relationship clients before you approach those you have a weaker relationship with.

However, before you approach anyone, you need to get comfortable with what going to say. You don’t want to stumble and stammer. You want to come across to your client as comfortable, confident, and in control.

Referrals can be tricky. They are hard to generate if your client doesn’t believe you expect them and that you have earned them. If you doubt, that doubt will be picked up by your client, who will be less likely to agree to give them. After all, if you don’t believe what saying, why should your client?

Get your act together before you make your call to your first client.

Don’t ask for referrals via a letter or email. You will be far more successful if you ask in person. Short of that, you must make a personal phone call. Generating referrals is a relationship action, not an impersonal request. You must deal with your client on a one-on-one, personal level.

When you call, before bringing up the referrals you seek, find out if your client has ANY needs, concerns, or requests regarding your product or service. In other words, make sure you still have a happy and fully satisfied client. If you don’t, you cannot expect referrals. If the client is dissatisfied for any reason, instead of referrals to get, you have customer service work to perform.

Then, once you know your client is still on the team, explain that you have a favor to ask. You have two or three people you believe you can help but have not been successful in being able to meet through the normal course of business. These are people that you thought for whatever reason the client might know and are hoping that if they do know them, that they would be comfortable referring you to these prospects.

If you have done your research and matching of prospect to client well, your client will probably know one or two of the prospects you ask about.

Once they acknowledge they know them, find out how well. With a referral, you are hoping to build a relationship with the referred prospect based on their trust and respect for your client. If the prospect trusts and respects your client, some of that trust and respect is imbued to you, so you start your relationship with the prospect from a positive position.

However, the person you’re asking about may not trust and respect your client. If they are just casual acquaintances, their trust relationship is neutral, as will be your starting point. In addition, if the prospect distrusts and disrespects your client, your starting point will be from a negative position because some of the distrust for your client will also be imbued to you.

It is important that you know where you start--the stronger the relationship between client and prospect, the better your chances of getting an appointment and a sale.

If you have done your job for the client well, they should have no problems referring you into the prospects they know.

Work your way through your list of 100 prospects. You should have more than a month’s work ahead of you. Again, you will probably have about 45 to 50 prospects to contact and set appointments with.

Don’t Just Get Referred, Get Introduced

One of the biggest mistakes you can make with a referral is to simply get your client to agree to ?refer” you. That’s what the average salesperson does, and it doesn’t work well.

Instead of just getting a verbal referral, that is having your client say, "Sure, I’ll refer you to them," get a direct introduction to the prospect.

Not only is a direct introduction more powerful than an agreement to use the client’s name, a direct introduction, if done correctly, almost guarantees a private meeting with the prospect.

Although there are a number of ways of getting a direct introduction, when under the time pressure of a 30-day explosion of production, you have 3 realistic options:

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About the Author

Thomas Duffy, venture capital international
Ten Stockyard
New York, NY 10018

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