According to Liz Heiman, there are two types of referrals. A referral could be from someone who doesn’t buy from you but can share leads with you. The other type of referral is from an existing customer. They’re both introducing you to people you might not know. Liz shares the approach she takes when asking for referrals in this episode of Sales Reinvented. Don’t miss it!
Liz loves Brynne Tillman’s method of using social media for lead generation. Brynne will look through the clients that she knows are happy with her and looks at their connections. Who would be a good fit to work with? Then she’ll go to that client and ask them for introductions.
Another strategy is to look at companies or people you’ve identified as a target and look to see who they know that you might know. You can then see if that common connection would give you an introduction. Make sure the connections know why you want an introduction.
Liz points out that many people don’t use LinkedIn to build their network and it’s a huge mistake. Connect with everyone you know because you never know who they’re connected with.
Liz recommends starting with people you think will be your best referrers. Do you want to call on existing clients? Do you have an existing client base? If not, who could refer business to you that you have credibility with? Write down what you want to say and how you want to say it. The more clear you are, the easier it is to do it. Build it into your process so that it’s comfortable and repeatable.
When Liz asks for a referral, she says something like, “I see that you are connected to so-and-so. I think that they could use my services. Do you think that’s true? Would you be willing to introduce me?” It isn’t pushy nor does it put the work on the person she’s asking.
She points out that you should ask for a referral any time that it seems appropriate, usually when you’re engaged with the client and they’re happy. The biggest mistake is not asking for a referral. According to Joanne Black’s research, 97% of people, when asked, would give a referral if they liked the service and were happy with the company that they worked with. Yet on average, only 3% of customers are asked for a referral.
Referrals should be one of your lead sources. Liz not only tracks referrals but also tracks who referred that person. If you are tracking lead sources, you can track them through the client, account, and opportunity. You need to see what closes and keep your client apprised of the process so they aren’t out of the loop.
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Nick Kane is a founder and Managing Partner of Janek Performance Group, a leading sales performance organization providing sales training and sales consulting solutions. Nick has more than 25 years of experience in sales and is a thought leader and authority, supporting hundreds of clients in optimizing their sales performance. Nick co-authored the book "Critical Selling: How Top Performers Accelerate the Sales Process and Close More Deals," and has penned hundreds of articles on sales performance.