Since the economic downturn, many “so-called” referral experts have emerged. I bristle when I read the inaccurate information and sure-to-fail advice they give sellers about how to ask for referrals.
Many tell sales people to wait to ask for a referral until they have closed a sale—or even until they have implemented their solution. However, Joanne Black, America’s leading authority on referral selling, reminds us that this harkens back to old insurance tactics, when an agent would deliver a policy and then ask the client to send a letter to 10 or 20 of his best friends. What a disrespectful ploy.
Ask for a referral anytime during your sales process when you deliver value. How will you know? Most likely your client will say thank you, or let you know that you gave them a good idea, or delivered useful information.
But the worst of all is when these “so-called” experts tell you to say: “If you know anyone who would benefit from my services, please let them know.” This question does nothing except that you now say “Phew, I can check that off my list.”
A better question is “Who are one or two people I should meet?” Then take the time to learn about these folks and be sure to ask for an introduction. Without an introduction, you can count yourself in the pit of cold callers.
I know you’re better than that. Build your sales business through a targeted referral-selling strategy. It works.