Make a direct connection with your referral network. It makes all the difference.

When salespeople receive a referral, their close rate exceeds 50 percent (clients tell me typically 70 percent or higher). Leads from other, less-direct sources have a 1 to 3 percent close rate.

“Personal” Pushes Sales to Success

The definition of a referral is a personal introduction. The introduction can be by phone, email, or in person. If you just get a name, you are making a cold call. Yes, a cold call. You interrupt the person, they don’t expect your call, and they might not even believe that the person you mentioned actually referred you.

I view nearly everyone as a part of my Referral Network. And the people who know the people I want to meet become my Referral Sources. These Referral Sources are the (really cool) people who offer to introduce me.

Your Referral Source (your mutual connection) must reach out to your desired contact first and verify that it’s OK for you to contact them. Then, an email introduction makes sense, as you then share relevant contact information. Too many salespeople ask for referrals through technology alone—leaving your Referral Source with very little information. Plus, you miss the opportunity to reach out and reconnect.

With a little “instruction” you can empower your Referral Source to introduce you. Teach them how to introduce you. (For example, how do you want “what you do” to be described?) Teach them about your Ideal Client, and provide them with the answers to these critical questions:

  • What business issues do you solve?
  • What is the function of your Ideal Client? (CEO, VP, IT, Marketing)
  • In what industry or geography do you work?
  • What size company is your sweet spot?

Want to gain traction with your referrals? Always reconnect before you ask for the referral introduction. Don’t rely on technology alone to boost your referrals. Remember, people do business with people, and referrals are based on a trusted relationship. The missing link…is you.

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Let me know what works for you. How do you sell? How do you best convert prospects to clients? Share your thoughts here.