The Complete Referral System to Skyrocket Your Prospecting

Want your sales reps to get a consistent stream of qualified leads?

Many sales reps would give their right arm for the chance to bypass all the middlemen and just call their buyers directly. But that almost never happens, because CEOs and other senior decision-makers have a powerful weapon at their disposal—their trusty gatekeepers.

These assistants shut cold callers down without a second thought and stop sales prospecting before it’s even begun. The only way to get past their watchful eye is to be an expected and welcome call with an introduction from someone their bosses know and trust. Referred salespeople get meetings. Reps who are cold calling get hung up on. 

Referrals Are Your Missing Link

It’s time to change the game. Your marketing department does an adequate job of lead generation, but many of the “so-called” leads aren’t qualified. Just because someone has downloaded a whitepaper or attended an event doesn’t mean they have any interest in buying from you. So, your reps waste time cold calling and sending emails and requests on social media. Big mistake!

Sales reps can’t depend on marketing for generating qualified leads. They must take responsibility for their own sales prospecting and scoring meetings with decision-makers. How? By adopting a strategic referral sales prospecting system with skills-building, metrics, accountability for results, and immediate integration into your sales process.

The sales world has changed, buyers have changed, technology has changed, and you must change your sales prospecting model to blow past the competition and decrease your cost of sales. “Same old, same old” doesn’t work if you want to achieve your sales goals:


  • Capturing new accounts
  • Getting access to key decision-makers
  • Accelerating lead generation 
  • Cross-selling and upselling existing accounts

How does referral selling help you address these challenges?

  • Getting your reps to generate enough qualified leads
  • Differentiating your company from the competition
  • Reducing your sales cycle time
  • Increasing your close rates
  • Decreasing deals lost from no decision

What You Can Expect from a Referral Sales Prospecting System

Companies that implement a proactive, strategic referral sales prospecting system can expect their salespeople to:

  • Score meetings at the level that counts, while the competition is still figuring out who the decision-makers are.
  • Shorten the sales process so they can spend more time with customers and less time prospecting.
  • Ace out the competition by getting in before clients know they have a need and setting the standards by which others are evaluated.
  • Arrive pre-sold. Prospects already know your reps are trustworthy and capable of adding value, because someone they trust told them so.
  • Save you money, because referrals don’t cost a thing.
  • Convert prospects to clients more than 50 percent of the time (more likely between 70 and 90 percent of the time).

Referral selling is simple, but it’s not easy. If it were, every sales organization would have a referral program in place to guarantee these results. Practically no one—fewer than 5 percent of companies—has a disciplined, measurable, proactive referral system. It’s common sense, but not common practice, and it is your key competitive differentiator.

What Gets in the Way of Referral Sales Prospecting?

Referral selling seems so straightforward, so why isn’t every organization actively generating referrals? The major reasons are:

  • People are uncomfortable asking for referrals. They feel it’s pushy, “salesy,” and arrogant.
  • Referral selling is not a business-development priority.
  • There are no established metrics for referrals or performance indicators for success.
  • Referral selling is a behavior change. It’s a skill that must be learned, practiced, coached, and reinforced. Just telling people to ask for referrals doesn’t work.
  • There hasn’t been accountability for results. Without accountability, a referral initiative becomes just another program du jour.
  • There are no established roles, responsibilities, and expectations to achieve results.

Simply put: Referral selling doesn’t “just happen.” Achieving referral success means adopting referral selling as a strategic initiative with a disciplined and measurable process.


Referral Stategy Development


Garnering referral introductions becomes the primary prospecting outreach for attracting new customers. In this strategy phase, we work with each business leader to:


  • Review your sales process and integrate referrals into the workflow, and review sales and marketing plans
  • Set sales goals and customer acquisition goals
  • Set clear expectations for program participation and expected outcomes
  • Ensure systems and procedures are in place to support a referral initiative
  • Set metrics for referral activities as well as results
  • Answer the question: How will you evaluate the success of a referral program?



Key components of the skills-building portion include:


  • Answer the question: “Why should I work with you?”
  • Discuss the role of technology and social media in referral selling
  • Set criteria for the ideal customer
  • Identify multiple sources of referrals
  • Learn and practice a proven process to ask for and receive referral introductions



Referral selling is a behavior change, and consistent, proactive, and disciplined coaching drives success. Individual coaching twice a month is the formula for success. These sessions keep people focused and on track. Participants are clear about their goals and the activities that generate measurable results. In this phase, we:


  • Identify where and when to ask for referral introductions
  • Establish weekly referral goals and outreach activities
  • Ensure accountability by setting goals and reinforcing skills
  • Gather results based on initial success measures

What Are Referrals Worth to You?

No other marketing or sales approach comes close to the results you get from a Referral Sales Prospecting System. You’ll get that consistent stream of qualified leads and entre to the C-Suite because your sales reps receive referral introductions. You can anticipate at least a 20 percent increase in total revenue, shorter sales cycles, working only with ideal clients, and bigger deals.

Referral selling means transforming your sales organization and your prospecting approach. What is a 70 percent conversion rate worth to you?

Why Work With Me?

Clients tell me they tap into my 20-year career as a referral selling expert and work with me before they decide to do something on their own and screw it up. (Those are their actual words.)

I founded No More Cold Calling in 1996 after more than 35 years selling and managing sales teams. I knew that referrals should be a company’s #1 outbound prospecting strategy. Yet, no company had a systematic, disciplined referral program with skills, metrics, and accountability for results. Today I work with sales teams, business owners, and individuals to implement referral programs that address their two biggest challenges: Getting meetings at the level that counts and ensuring a consistent stream of qualified leads.

I authored two books—NO MORE COLD CALLING™: The Breakthrough System That Will Leave Your Competition in the Dust and Pick Up the Damn Phone!: How People, Not Technology, Seal the Deal. I belong to the National Speakers Association and have won many awards for my social media presence. I’m a contrarian thinker and believe no one should ever have to cold call.

What My Clients Are Saying

“Joanne is the master of referral selling. The concept seems so simple but implementing a referral program takes discipline. Her method works – not only does our team now have a referral mindset, the program paid off nearly right away. We’re still reaping the benefits from referrals, because the referral practice never stops, but already we can easily measure a 500% ROI from our work with Joanne.

Lastly, I couldn’t write a recommendation without mentioning who Joanne is as a person. Very sharp and a quick wit, Joanne is a fun person to be around. She takes a genuine interest in the people she works with and is very intentional about how she interacts with people. We’ll continue to work with Joanne as long as we need referrals – which is forever!”

Melody Astley, Vice President Sales, Finlistics Solutions


“Joanne Black is a master speaker, facilitator and agent of change. I had the pleasure of working with her as a speaker at our annual Partner event. I was particularly impressed with not only the content of her talk, but also how she prepared for it. She took the time to meet members of our team, understand our business, diagnose what was working and what might not be working, and create a presentation that resonated with the team. And not only that, but throughout the planning process she was always a ray of sunshine in my day. If you are looking to improve referral selling in your organization, look no further.”

Missy Grace, Chief of Staff, Rewards Solutions, Aon


“My goal was to build a referral culture, embed referral selling into our sales process, make referral selling a habit, and drive revenue. Before working with Joanne, we thought we knew how to ask for referrals. Joanne took us to the next level with new strategies, skills, and a scalable approach. We now have a deliberate process and a measurable methodology. We went from getting referrals from time to time to getting introductions to the right people. Joanne kept us focused on our goal, made significant recommendations, and she was also first to tell me if an idea I had wasn’t on target.

We launched our referral initiative with my management team and then rolled it out to our business advisors. Joanne trained and coached us to define our goals, build and refine our skills, integrate referrals into our sales process, and report results. We are well on our way to building a referral culture. Referrals do scale if done the right way. Work with Joanne to find out.”

John G. Allen, Executive VP of Sales, G&A Partners


“I recently facilitated a sales seminar in Sydney and asked Joanne Black to be the keynote. Through all the planning and delivery, she was a delight to work with – nothing was a problem, and she is authentic and genuine. I found her reputation as America’s foremost authority on referral selling to be well founded. She connected brilliantly with a very tough Aussie audience of 100 experienced salespeople and sales leaders. They loved her and her valuable message. Most rated it as one of the best sales seminars they had attended.”

John Smibert, CEO, Strategic Selling Group


“We implemented Joanne’s “No More Cold Calling” Program for outbound warm lead referrals to great, positive effect for our global sales force. With virtually no opportunity for face to face engagement this past year, a prescriptive and programmatic approach to asking for warm referral selling has been critical for helping us leverage our customer base for new logo outreach. I highly recommend her program and your sales team will be grateful for the many positive outcomes they can expect from reaching out via a trusted referral.”

Mark Small, SVP Global Sales, Cofense

Call or email now to learn more about how referral selling guarantees a consistent stream of qualified leads.

Office: +1 415-461-8763