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Adopt a Targeted Referral Strategy

Make referral selling your priority. (Note: The word “priority” is singular.)

Get Real

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?

Start Here

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.

Continue Here

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

It’s time to stop talking and start doing. Adopt your Targeted Referral Strategy, build your referral skills and execute, execute, execute.

6 Responses to Adopt a Targeted Referral Strategy

  1. Hello. Thank you for a great article on referrals. I have been working on referrals for three years. Last year my goal was to get more referrals. Well, it didn’t happen. I have never received referrals from my clients or friends. Even though I have a referral program in my ezine, network with people at events, and got other small business women to agree to be each other’s referral source, I find I’m doing the work for them and they’re not doing for me. I started focusing on referral sourcing about three years ago when I learned that my membership women organizations don’t allow solicitation to their membership directories. Then in the Score Community I learned about Referral Sourcing. The idea is even though you can’t talk about your business you can talk about others at the luncheons and dinner meetings. I did gather about five referral sources from different sales companies, i.e., jewelry, Tupperware, gift baskets, food, and beauty products. None of them produced referrals for me in the past three years. I have dumped a couple of them because I began to sense negative energy from them. I have never had friends or other clients send referrals. So I began to think of other ways to get leads. I started doing drawings at my trade show and bazaar booths. I do community collaborations where someone is doing a fundraiser they invite me to attend as a vendor. I conduct fundraisers. I continue to network at events. I sell more doing these things than focusing on referrals. I am learning more about building relationships by attending workshops, teleseminars, and other means. I comment on blogs at least twice a week (which that hasn’t generated anything either, but I enjoy it because I still learn a lot by reading other comments). This is my fourth year in this business (30 years in direct sales industry), and already I have a trade show to do in February. I was invited by one of my referral sources who heard about this conference. I didn’t hear about it. So even though the referral idea is not working, I still keep my referral sources for other reasons. It’s a great way to network with them to find out what’s going on around town that I may never know about otherwise. Oh, another thing is that none of my referral sources have bought from me, even though I always buy from them at least once. That’s a little disturbing, but as long as they provide some kind of benefit then I keep them close. I usually give them about six months. If nothing happens or develops in six months, it’s not going to. They’re just extra unneeded baggage. Some of the benefits I have received so far are: show dates, upcoming workshops, networking events, articles, books, and good fun by going to parties or just out with the girls for a night. Fun is important too. So referral sourcing can be fun and beneficial for these reasons. This year my goal is just to get people to buy from my web site. That has been a chore too, for some reason. I’m learning new ways to generate from that end also. Thank you for your time in reading this message. Happy New Year from Alaska! Take care. Rosella Young, AA-1 Designs, Invest in yourself P.S. Please note the above web site only operates in the U.S. Int’l readers please google Longaberger for one near your area.

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