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’Tis the Season to Expand Your Referral Network: November Referral Selling Insights

Sure, it’s hectic. You’re busy closing out the year, but you also have lots of invitations for parties, client events, and other business networking opportunities. This is the best time to build your referral network. Make the most of it.

Attend everything you can, enrich relationships with people you know, and meet new people. Get to know people personally, first. That’s the start of a business relationship, and what better time to make a personal connection than the holiday season? Most everyone’s in a good mood and open to talking about themselves. Invite prospects and clients to come along with you. They’ll meet new people while getting to know you better, so you both win.

Lots of business gets done in December and even between Christmas and New Year’s. Many people take off for vacation, but those who don’t are in their offices and generally not very busy. One year I had two in-person meetings on December 24. Another year, I got a job offer on December 28. Wow, was that a great start to my New Year!

Remember Woody Allen’s old adage: “80 percent of success is showing up.” No matter how you slice it, showing up counts! That’s one of the best business networking tips around. You’re in sales, so get out there and network! You’ll have time to take a break around the New Year.

In the meantime, check out this month’s posts from No More Cold Calling:

4 Reasons You Shouldn’t Get the Referral on LinkedIn

My client, Sue, identified a colleague on LinkedIn who knew her prospect, George—a high-profile, very senior buyer. She’d tried asking for referrals to George on LinkedIn, but she felt their introductions lacked the emotion needed to convince George to meet with her. This time, she arranged a call with her colleague to get the referral. What a difference! Not only did she get the referral. She got the inside scoop. She learned what George valued, the best way to communicate with him, key topics to probe, insights to share, and most importantly, what he was like. Turns out, George was not ready for her solution, but he introduced her to two of his counterparts in other companies. Sue expanded her network into the C-Suite, and she and George have become business friends. (Not just colleagues, but friends, and I don’t use that term lightly.) People do business with people they know, like, and trust. That’s what makes referrals so powerful. But trust must be earned, and we don’t earn that right with digital referrals. (Read “4 Reasons You Shouldn’t Get the Referral on LinkedIn.”)

How to Actually Scale Your Referral Business

Sales leaders often tell me that referral leads are their most qualified, most convertible leads. Then in the next breath, they tell me referral business doesn’t scale. Before I got really annoyed and was ready to blast them, I took a closer look at what scale means, anyway. Of course, there’s more than one definition, and more than one of them apply. The definition that jumped out for me was the derivative of ladder or staircase from scala. Scaling a referral business is a series of steps that must be taken. Scaling requires a reliable system and a plan to meet increasing customer demands without increasing costs. So, how can sales organizations scale their lead generation without adding more people? Stop cold calling and start asking for referrals … at scale. (Read “How to Actually Scale Your Referral Business.”)

Do Words Make a Difference for Women in Sales?

“I want you to know it hasn’t gone unnoticed that there are no women on our sales team.” That comment came from the CEO of a fast-growing software company. Not only were there no women, but the sales team was all white men of a certain age. He wanted to hire saleswomen, he told me, but women rarely applied for the job. I told him that most women aren’t waiting in line for his or any other sales jobs, and he’d have to go out and find them. The problem is that while women are a good fit for sales jobs, the culture in many sales organizations doesn’t seem like a good fit for them. (Read “Do Words Make a Difference for Women in Sales?”)

 

 

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