Bury “ABC.” Better in sales to “always be asking” (ABA).

No more acronyms, please. For example, “ABC:” always be closing. I dislike that phrase. It’s pushy, salesy, and off the mark. Yet, this phrase is used time and time again. (It’s a part of the American sales DNA, as immortalized by Alec Baldwin in Glengarry Glen Ross. It’s profane, brutal, and demeaning.) “Always be closing” is disrespectful—to our clients, and to ourselves.

If we must use acronyms, let’s use ABA: always be asking. For the referral process to work (and it does: when you work it, it works) we must always ask for referrals in our sales process.

(Watch my Top Tip #1 video, “How to ask for a referral“)

Ask And You Shall Receive

Our Ideal Clients, those with whom we love to work, do good work, and maintain terrific relationships—know others just like themselves. Our Ideal Clients are happy to refer us,  but we can’t wait and hope that they will. Sometimes they do refer (all on their own), and that’s great. But relying on waiting and hoping does not a great salesperson make.

In an interview with Paul Simon at CanDoGo, (“Referrals Do Not Just Happen—You Must Ask”) Paul Simon says, “You know, Joanne, I always thought that if I do good work for a customer, they would just mention me to other people. It just never occurred to me that I actually should be asking for a referral.”

We often think that when we’ve done great work for our clients, they will automatically refer us. Sometimes they will, in passing, tell someone else about you. But do they pick up the phone and call you? People tell me all the time that they’ve told lots of folks to contact me. But I never heard from them. We need to proactively talk to our clients and ask them to make the introduction—this is when referrals happen.

If You Don’t Ask, You Don’t Get

Your current clients will be delighted to refer you, but you must ask. If you don’t ask, you don’t get. It’s really that simple.

What’s Your Ask? Comment Here.

Where in the sales process or relationship do you ask? (“After the close” is not always best.) What’s your most surprising or rewarding referral experience? Share and comment here.