When you’re thinking about how to get sales referrals and sales introductions, just think if it like this:
A sales referral or a sales introduction is a consolation when you don’t get the order – after all, why waste the time and effort you’ve already invested…
And it’s the icing on the cake when you do get the order.
Either way, you win!
So why do so many teams fail at The Sales Referral Habit?
What’s so hard?
Is it simply forgetting to do it?
Or perhaps worried about coming across as desperate?
Or maybe, it’s just fear around asking for help…
Maybe you think people will see you as weak, or just cheeky?
Get over it!
You’ve heard the saying it’s not what you know, it’s who you know….so building on existing and creating new relationships consistently is more important now than it has ever been…more so if you’re in a crowded, competitive space.
So, let’s take a look at how to get sales referrals during the most common client and prospect interactions.
How to Get Sales Referrals
Every day you will speak to customers, prospects, suppliers, influencers, decision makers, credit control people, partners, associates…any number of people.
And that’s not even considering those who you come into contact with outside of your business life.
All of these people exist in networks, families, friend, professional networks, formal and informal.
They’ve all probably worked for at least two companies in their working life, maybe even more.
So, knowing this, isn’t it fair to assume that someone you know, perhaps someone you have had contact with today, can introduce you to someone you’d love to meet?
Still thinking about it?
Let’s see how I can motivate you to do something rather than just think about it…
Generating Sales Referrals and Sales Introductions…
Saves you from:
- Having to scout for cold leads to begin the relationship building phase
- Cold calling to sift the good stuff from the not so good
- Spending/wasting time doing the leg work to work out who to contact
- Chasing someone who is not a fit, doesn;t have the budget, or is too busy to engage
- Grappling with the gate keepers
- Having to craft pithy anti-sales emails that get you noticed
- Hours of LinkedIn stalking
- Stressing over an empty diary
- Wondering where to turn to get your sales lead funnel active again
- Sales peaks and troughs
- Working extra hours to kill the sales gap
- Shockingly bad sales conversion rates
Need I go on?
What Could You Do Instead to Get Sales Referrals and Warm Sales Introductions?
Ask the question!
Yes…it’s that simple.
And when the solution is that simple and the COST OF NOT ASKING is so high…then really, what have you to lose?
How to Generate Sales Referrals – the 5 Day Challenge
For the next 5 day, I want you to go through the following exercise.
Make a note of the people you know well, who get get along with, have some relationship with already…
I’d suggest 5 per day
It helps if they’re people you’ll need to speak to that day, alternatively you can ring them with a very specific request…
These contacts may be suppliers, clients, prospects, colleagues, associates, people who are trying to pitch to you even…
Once you’ve decided who’s on your list, check out their backgrounds, their LinkedIn profile, see who they may know in their past.
Here’s an example:
Your check out LinkedIn and you see your outsourced IT provider used to work at a business you’d like an intro to. Now the chances are the help desk person you speak with may not be able to get you into see the MD or CEO of his old company, but he might be able to set you up with a direct line telephone call to his old manager – the IT Director or Manager…so you can ask some questions and start the ball rolling with a person in the know?
It’s low key.
It’s low risk.
It gets you into the habit of simply asking the questions.
That’s a minimum of 25 sales referral conversations that week.
You’ll be casting out for 25 additional sales introductions.
You won’t get every single one, and that’s ok – either way, you’ll be getting more than you would have had you not asked the question…
So, just ask.
Just see what happens.
How Do You Ask for a Sales Referral?
Hi Tom, didn’t you used to work at ACME Corp? Look I wonder if you could help me please? You see, I’d really like to talk with their CFO, Bob Smith, about their financing arrangements, see if they’ve got anything they need help with. I don’t suppose you know anyone who could get me into the finance office there, if not at CFO level, I know Bob will be busy, but maybe one of the divisional finance heads? Do you know anyone you could put me in contact with who I could talk to, you’d really be helping me out?
Tom hi, just a quickie, I’ve been researching ACME Corp, and I saw your post yesterday, I didn’t know you were connected to Bob Smith? Look, I wondered if I could ask you a huge favour? Bob Smith is a perfect fit for our new flexible options. I know he’s with XYZ Bank at the minute…he’ll be bound up in their contracts that’ll be costing him. I could really do with an intro from someone he knows and trusts…So I though that you’d be able to point me in the right direction? How well do you know Bob…or anyone in his office?
Tom, how well do you know Bob Smith? I see his second in command, Bill, is a contact of yours on LinkedIn?…I wondered if you knew Bob or Bill better?…I need to speak with them and wondered if you’d help me out as to the best way to get some time with these guys?
Tom, I’ve been checking out your LinkedIn connections, who knew you knew so many people! Look, this new product launch has us all on fire, I’m specifically looking to talk to Heads of Finance and CFO’s that fit this profile (here’s where it’s necessary for you to know your Perfect Prospect Profile), I wondered if you knew of anyone in a finance role in any of these firms (have a list ready) who would would feel comfortable making an intro to for me?
Harry, I’m really please that you’ve happy with what we’ve done for you so far. My team love working for you, they’ve some great ideas and they’re pushing some interesting ideas around for you. They’ll be delighted with your feedback. Thank you.
Before I leave I wondered if I could ask you something?
I see you’ve worked with Tony at ACME Corp before you came here?
I’ve been trying to get through to his office for weeks, he’s a busy guy and I know he travels a lot, but I’m hanging in because I know we’d be able to do some great work for him…Harry, would you feel comfortable pinging him an email with my details, asking him to look out for my name on his call sheet, perhaps mentioning how happy you’ve been with our work?
Would you mind helping me out please?
Sam, I’m really sorry that we won’t be working together, let’s keep in contact, I’ll give you a shout in a few weeks to see how you’re getting on. Hopefully it will all work out, but I’ll be on-call if you need any additional support.
I really appreciate your feedback.
As you know I’m in sales and I’d like to think that even though we won’t be working together now, you’ve got a good understanding of the work we do, what we’re capable of as a team…
So I hope you don’t mind me asking if you know of anyone else, a firm like yours, ambitious, smart and who are in the market to explore some of the potential solutions we’ve discussed.
Sam, do you know anyone fitting that description you could refer me to, perhaps with a few words about what you’ve learnt about us so far?
I’d really appreciate it…
So you’be got a few options here – obviously use your own words, but the gist is the same…it’s a qualified out reach to someone you know, have invested time with, have been of value to…
How to Generate Sales Referrals – 3 More Reasons Why You Should Ask the Question!
Some one who will refer you is likely to use you.
Someone who refers you is likely to stay with you and show you some loyalty.
If you ask a current customer to refer you and they won’t then it’s a sure sign you need to up your game and work harder to impress them…before it’s too late.
Reciprocity Works…to a Point
As a rule of thumb I try to refer before I’m asked.
I love spreading good news around and helping my contacts, associates, colleagues, customers and supplier access people in my network, and the flip is, people in my network thing good things about me because I only introduce them to good people.
But, here’s where reciprocity doesn’t work.
It falls down when you guilt someone into helping you.
It sounds like this.
Great, thanks so much for the intro, if you ever need the favour returning just let me know.
No! No! No!
This is not the way to do it.
The best way – if the other person is comfortable with this – is to sit down and share each others Perfect Prospect Profiles and then come away with both of you committed to deliver to the other a set number of agreed referrals.
Now that’s a never ending stream of mutually beneficial business.
Obviously this will work better for some contacts than others.
But remember this.
If you catch yourself scooping without dropping something back…think again.
So, you’ve got the outline questions, you’ve understood the mindset of how to generate sales introductions and sales referrals.
You know why you should do it and you know the payback.
Hopefully you can commit to testing it out for 5 days…
Do this for 5 days, you’ll have the habit and you’ll be a sales referral convert within 21 days.
If you’re wondering about when to ask here are a few suggestions:
- At the end of a meeting
- At the end of a pitch (nice clue to see if they recommend you, says they’re likely to use you)
- At the end of a review session
- Every quarter
- When the client has just said thank you
- When the supplier has just said thank you
- When any one says thank you!
- As part of a negotiation process
- At an industry networking event
- Via LinkedIn – what’s easier – they can use the messaging function to introduce you
- When they’ve just awarded you the business
- When they’ve had their first order
- When they’ve paid their bill
- At the Christmas party
- Over lunch
- At a corporate event
- At their industry exhibition
- In the canteen queue…
I’m going to stop now because I hope you’ve got the message that you can ask for sales referrals and sales introductions anywhere you want, anytime you think there is an opportunity.
The thing is – when you go looking for red cars you see red cars, you don’t see yellow cars.
When you go looking for sales referrals, you see sales referrals.
What are you looking for?
Once you learn how to get sales referrals, you’ll have mastered a sales step that many of your competitors haven’t!