Your Referral Sources aren’t mind readers.
You wouldn’t socialize in a dark room, so why keep your clients and colleagues in the dark? You know who your Ideal Client is, but your customers, colleagues, and friends might not … unless you tell them.
Want referrals to exactly the types of clients you want to meet—those who have budget and a need for your solution, who value your time and expertise, and who have the power to make decisions and close big deals? Then stop expecting your Referral Sources to read your mind. Instead create a crisp picture and a precise definition of your Ideal Client.
Ask for What You Want
The problem with targeting “anyone who fogs a mirror” is two-fold: You either end up with tons of leads that go nowhere, because “anyone” isn’t interested in what you’re selling. Or you clog your pipeline with PITAs—the “pain in the ass” clients no salesperson wants to work with.
For many salespeople, being super specific when describing their Ideal Client feels risky—like they’re leaving good business on the table if they don’t mention everything they offer. The opposite is true. The more specific your profile, the easier it will be for others to suggest qualified referrals for you.
A Second Opinion
I’m not the only one suggesting salespeople hone their focus and communication. In Dave Brock’s post, “I’ll Know It When I See It,” he explains why specificity matters in sales. Here’s a snippet:
“I’ll know it when I see it!” When I hear those words, I cringe. To me, it’s a huge red flag, usually confirmed by [the sales professional’s] inability to respond when asked, “Well, how will you know?” In my experience, the person saying those words is either clueless—but doesn’t recognize it—or too lazy to do the homework critical to getting what they want/need, not what they get.
If you’ll know it when see it, then you should be able to articulate it to great detail! Yes, if you’ve been doing it successfully for a long time, you should have the specific data and information needed to answer that question. (Read the rest of the article).
You know your Ideal Clients when you see them, but unless you can explain exactly what they look like, you’re on your own to find them.
Let Your Referral Networks in on the Secret
The beauty of referral selling is that everyone you know becomes part of your lead-generation team. Your clients, colleagues, friends, and family all know plenty of people, and they will readily refer you … if and when they have enough information to make good connections.
Help them help you by narrowing down “anyone who.” Think of yourself as a sketch artist; the more color, lines, and detail you present, the easier it will be for others to recognize your Ideal Client. And what could be better than a pipeline full of clients you want to serve?
Want to test your referral-selling savvy? Take the Referral I.Q. Quiz to find out how you stack up against your peers.