An experienced, high-performing salesperson recently bragged to me about his skill at cold calling. He said he was engaging on the phone, had a booming broadcaster voice, and had landed some of his best business by cold calling.
So why was he talking to me? He knew referrals were the best way to bring in new business, but he didn’t have a consistent referral process with metrics and goals.
What a Waste!
I found his story particularly distressing, because this guy had developed tons of client and colleague relationships throughout his 25-year sales career. He had referral riches right there at his fingertips, but he wasn’t cashing them in.
Several conversations later, he said he wanted to give referral selling a shot and that he could probably “fit it in.” I didn’t hit the roof, but I got close. No, you can’t “fit it in.” Referral selling becomes your No. 1 business-development strategy—in other words, your No. 1 priority.
I knew he would still cold call, but that as he realized the rewards of referral selling, he would start cold calling less and less. He would get meetings with the right people, shorten his sales cycle, convert prospects into clients more than 70 percent of the time, ace out the competition, and drive consistent revenue for the company and significant commissions for himself.
Well, that got his attention. Did it get yours?
Your No. 1 Priority
The word “priority” is singular. Either you adopt referral selling as your business-development strategy, or you don’t. Yes or no. Forget “maybe.” Put a stake in the ground and decide that referral sales is the knock-your-socks-off, way-to-go, top-of-the-heap strategy for business development. Period.
When you do, your sales life becomes marvelously simple—and much more productive. You clarify your lead-generation activities. You easily recognize what business to accept and what to decline. If a sales activity fails to support your referral-selling efforts, it becomes irrelevant. It takes time away from the prospecting strategy that really works, so you ditch it. Instead, you ask yourself what sales activities you should start doing that you weren’t doing before.
When you work your referral program, you achieve immediate results—new clients, increased sales, a shortened sales process, reduced cost of sales, and more time to work with only your Ideal Clients! So make referral selling your priority. There’s no time to waste.
What sales activities have you ditched because they weren’t helping you get more referrals? How do you make referrals your No. 1 priority?