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How to Grow Your Referral Network

Salespeople are only as good as the people they know.

When is it time to toss the technology and start talking to people? When internet leads and a call script no longer reap new business. When it interferes with the most powerful tool in your toolbox—you.

Don’t get me wrong. There’s a lot of great sales technology out there, and it would be dumb for sales reps not to use it. But sales technology doesn’t close business. It doesn’t have meaningful conversations. It doesn’t demonstrate integrity, thoughtfulness, humility, or honesty. Building strong relationships and nurturing them does. It also enables you to get referrals.

Without a strong network of people who trust you, you can forget about referral selling. It won’t work.

If that sounds puffy and inconsequential, read this powerful post in First Round Review, chronicling Chris Fralic’s journey to becoming “insanely well-connected.” Fralic talks about being human first and how that propelled him to becoming a successful VC. He makes lasting, valued connections where he’s consistently learning, building relationships, asking for referrals, and closing business. He doesn’t rely on internet leads or a call script. So, why are you?

How to Be Insanely Well-Connected

“You’re only as good as the people you know,” says Fralic. “That’s why it’s so worth it to make your reputation a priority. Your brand is what people think or say about you when you’re not around.”

Fall 1996. A young Chris Fralic is selling software for Oracle. He’s not sure what he wants to do next, but he’s always been curious about venture capital. And then some unusual magic happens — a friend offers to introduce him to Kevin Compton, a vaunted name in VC. To his surprise, they talk on the phone for over an hour, and Fralic not only walks away with a comprehensive download on the industry, but a thesis on networking he’s adhered to ever since: The best way to be highly influential is to be human to everyone you meet.

Fast forward to today, Fralic is a successful VC himself, responsible for First Round’s investments in Warby Parker, Roblox, HotelTonight and Adaptly among others. When asked what’s made his career possible, he’ll tell you outright it’s the relationships — built deliberately over many years. This might sound like a common response, but among his peers, he’s acknowledged to be a world-class super-connector with rarefied expertise. Known for helping launch the famed TEDTalks (this is his 24th year attending TED), and a landmark Forbes piece on nailing email introductions, Fralic still responds thoughtfully to over 10,000 emails every year.

Read the rest of the article on First Round Review.

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