firstbaseIf you don’t ask, you don’t get.

The lights dimmed. You could feel the anticipation in the room as everyone waited for the Master of Ceremonies to announce the salesperson of the year. All the company’s top executives were in attendance, along with the global salesforce and sales support team. When Jennifer’s name was announced, the room broke out in applause and cheers. She stood up and walked to the stage slowly, savoring every moment.

When the Master of Ceremonies asked Jennifer her secret to success, she didn’t need to think about it. Like most top salespeople, she knew exactly what to do to blow past her numbers. Her answer: “I made one more call every day.” At the end of each workday, when she had gathered up her belongings and was ready to leave the office, she picked up the phone and made one more call.

You always have time for one more call, to ask one more person for a referral, or to attend one more networking event. And that one small effort can put you over the edge.

In this way, sales is a lot like baseball.

What’s Your Batting Average?

In baseball, what separates a superior batter from an average batter is only 30 more hits per season—roughly one extra hit per week. That’s all. While a .250 hitter is considered an average ball player, a .300 hitter is a star. If each of them has 600 times at bats each season, a .250 hitter will have 150 hits, while the .300 hitter will have 180 hits. Those 30 extra successes make all the difference.

This is the same kind of analysis salespeople need to do for business development. How many additional “hits” do you need to reach your revenue and profit goals? How many extra Referral Sources should you be reaching out to each day or week? How many more referral meetings and referral clients will get you to your goal?

Without metrics, you’ll never be sure whether your referral-selling strategy is working, or how much you need to up your game in order to become a superior seller.

Draft Everyone for Your Team

Business referrals come from everywhere, even from the people you would least expect to be connected to your prospects. But you don’t know who people know until you ask. You might get the perfect referral from your attorney, another passenger on an airplane, a co-worker, your neighbor, or even a family member.

Identify all the people you know (and you know lots of people). Everyone in your network can be part of your sales team.

Step Up to the Plate

There’s a saying in baseball that you’ll never get to second unless you take your foot off first. There’s a similar saying in referral selling: If you don’t ask, you don’t get.

How are you hitting your numbers? How much of a difference would one more hit a week make on your pipeline and performance? Think about that before you leave the office today. Then pick up the damn phone and make one more call.

Do you have what it takes to become MVP? Take the Referral I.Q. Quiz to find out.

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Follow Joanne on Google+ or Twitter @ReferralSales, or connect on LinkedIn and Facebook.