Here’s what you might have missed from No More Cold Calling this month.

prospectingAre you asking for referrals from every one of your clients? Not just your buyers, but from all the people you meet at client companies during the buying process? I’m not a mind-reader, but I already know your answer. No one has ever answered “yes” to this question.

Why? Because you:

  • Think some people wouldn’t know anyone because your solution is too sophisticated, and they are too junior, too young, or too … fill in the blank. (Fact: You don’t know who people know until you ask. Some people’s connections will really surprise you.)
  • You sell a deal, handoff to the customer success or account management team, and move on to the next prospect. But you are the one who has developed relationships during the sales process. (Fact: You leave money on the table when you walk away.)

You have earned the right to ask your clients for referrals, and those clients are the perfect referral sources, because they:

  • Know first-hand the business results you’ve delivered
  • Can attest to the ROI they’ve received
  • Trust you (or else they wouldn’t work with you)

Don’t let these lead generation opportunities slip away. Learn more about referrals in my blog posts this month.

Why Referrals Cut Through the Sales Prospecting Noise

Is selling really tougher today? It’s more complex, and despite all the tech tools at our disposal, prospecting certainly hasn’t gotten any easier. Forget closing. Just getting prospects to return calls is hard enough. Getting meetings with decision-makers is an even greater struggle, because companies all look alike to buyers. They’re bombarded with cold calls, cold emails, and pitches on social media. Everyone’s message is the same: “I have the best product. Talk to me.” So, how do you cut through the noise and actually talk to your buyers? By getting referrals. And my new sales training course on LinkedIn Learning and is your ticket to referral selling. (Read “Why Referrals Cut Through the Sales Prospecting Noise.”)

Want to Get Referrals? (Don’t Do This)

Tim told me his team was “doing referrals.” He figured they knew how to get referrals because he told them to do it. I asked how that approach was working for him. Dead silence. And therein lies the problem. A big problem. It’s the misguided belief that “telling” translates to “doing.” The web is replete with articles and webcasts that tell people to just go ask for referrals, like it’s common sense or something. (It’s not.) One author stated that 20 percent of a company’s clients should come from referrals. (Only 20 percent?) If only 20 percent of your clients were referred, then your team obviously hasn’t learned how to ask for referrals, which means you’re missing out on your prime source of qualified leads. Again, that’s a big problem. (Read “Want to Get Referrals? (Don’t Do This).”)

Why Productivity Tools Make You Less Productive … and Less Creative

Technology addiction is running rampant. We spend more time looking at screens than talking to the people who matter. This digital dependence is impairing our ability to make decisions, because we no longer trust our common sense. The more we rely on technology advances like artificial intelligence and predictable algorithms to make decisions, the more unpredictable we become. No, that’s not counter-intuitive. It’s what happens when human beings stop using our most valuable asset: our brains. Technology is an amazing tool, but humans make the final decisions. That’s why I liked the Verge’s recent interview with Edward Tenner. He explains why efficiency technology and artificial intelligence can make us less efficient and less intelligent. (Read “Why Productivity Tools Make You Less Productive … and Less Creative.”)

Reps Not Closing? Pay Attention to Your Sales Pipeline

Closing is never the problem. “Never” is a bold statement, but savvy sales leaders recognize that closing is the easy part. It’s sales prospecting techniques that are messed up. Reps aren’t spending time on the critical business development activities that occur earlier in the sales process, so their sales pipeline is either dry or full of cold leads. Trying to teach reps how to close without addressing the broken links in your lead generation system is a lesson in futility. It’s like trying to treat an injured back with pain medication. Unless you address the actual cause, not just the symptom, that nagging pain won’t go away. So, what’s causing the pain in your sales pipeline? New research suggests the problem isn’t a lack of skills; it’s getting meetings at the level that counts. (Read “Reps Not Closing? Pay Attention to Your Sales Pipeline.”)