Words of wisdom from a client: “Joanne, the challenge is always in the execution.” He said that 20 years ago. I’ve never forgotten, because it’s still true.
On the one hand, sales people agree that referral selling is hands-down their best sales strategy. It’s a completely different animal to implement a referral strategy. It’s simple, but it’s not easy.
Where do I start, sales people ask me? What does it take to implement a Targeted Referral Strategy?
Make referral selling your priority. The word “priority” is singular. Either you adopt referral sales, or you don’t. Yes or No. No “maybe’s” exist in sales. Put a stake in the ground and decide that referral sales is your knock-your-socks-off, way-to-go, top of the heap, business-development strategy. Period.
What’s marvelous is the new simplicity in your sales life. You:
- Clarify your lead-generation activities. You now recognize what business to accept and what to decline. It’s not easy to say no, but if a sales activity fails to support referral sales, ditch it.
- Clearly define your Ideal Client. You get what you ask for, so ask for exactly what you want. Ask your Referral Source for an introduction to your Ideal Client. Avoid the PITA at all costs.
- Articulate the business results you deliver from the client’s perspective. What is their Return on Investment? Avoid statements that begin with “we.” Sales prospects don’t care about you. They only care about what you do for them. Avoid clichés and “corporate speak.” Connect the dots between your sales prospect’s business and the business results you deliver. This is hard work. I know. However, if you leave it to your sales prospect to do the work, you won’t get the sale.
Set referral goals for your company. Keep it simple.
My definition of a goal: It’s achievable with a little bit of stretch.
Define Your Goals
Take 20 minutes and write down your big goals. You already know your goals, but if you keep them in your head, you’re fooling yourself. Don’t quote me here, but I read an article that said something like—If all you do is write your goals, put them in a drawer and never look at them again, you have a 70 percent better chance of achieving them than if you never wrote them down.
Review and re-set your sales goals quarterly, if not monthly. Begin with an annual timeframe and then break those goals into months. It’s ok to blow past your goals. Bravo to you. Set new ones and go for it!
Examples of Corporate Referral-Sales Goals
– Increases in revenue
– Increases in profits
– Number of new clients
– Number of new client projects
– New Partner referrals
– Cross-sell and up-sell to existing clients
– Targeting a new vertical
– Expanding market share in your niche
Examples of Individual Referral Sales Goals
– Number of referrals asked weekly
– Number of referrals received
– Number of referral meetings scheduled
– Number of referral meetings conducted
– Increases in the number of new deals
– Amount of new revenue
– Number of new client projects
– Percent of new business in a targeted vertical
Yes, it’s that same exercise we’ve known about for years.
After you adopt your new referral-sales strategy, what sales activities become irrelevant? What sales activities must you stop doing that take time and don’t support your new strategy?
Next, what sales activities must you start doing that you weren’t doing before? Review the referral options for both corporate and individual referral activities.
And finally, what cool sales activities were you already doing that you want to continue, increase, or refine?
It’s time to stop talking and start doing. Adopt your Targeted Referral Strategy, build your referral skills and execute, execute, execute.