Do you know your referral gap quotient?

Steve had a referral program. (Or so he thought.) He proudly told me that 30 percent of his company’s business came from referrals. “How did that happen?” I asked. He explained that whenever clients moved to a new company, they always brought his team in. “Terrific,” I said. “What about your account executives? Do they know how to get referrals? Are they asking?”

There was a long pause and then a blinding flash of the obvious. He said in an excited voice: “We need to train them how to do that!”

He got it right there and then. He realized that referrals were hit-and-miss in his organization, because they were dependent on inbound calls. His so-called referral program couldn’t be measured and didn’t hold sales reps accountable for results. What he needed was a dedicated and proactive outbound strategy.

Most sales organizations don’t have an outbound referral program that zeroes in on their most neglected revenue channel—existing clients. These folks are your gold mine. They love you and would be glad to refer you, but your reps don’t know how to ask clients for referrals.

Bottom line: Your clients will help you generate significant qualified opportunities in your sales pipeline, but you must ask.

The Gap in Your Referral Program

The referral gap between inbound and outbound referrals is cavernous. What is your referral gap quotient? Truthfully, I have no idea how to calculate that. I bet you can come up with an equation that takes into account your existing revenue from referrals plotted against your total revenue. Or, instead of spending time with calculations, you know right away that the gap is huge. You recognize you must take action now to fill your sales pipeline with qualified leads.

A successful referral program requires your commitment to an outbound referral system. You stop making excuses and make referrals the lead-gen priority.  You agree to develop a referral plan with company, team, and individual referral goals. You agree to provide opportunities for your reps to build referral skills and learn how to get referrals. Most importantly, you commit to implementing your plan, while reinforcing and coaching this new way of working.

Referral Program Illustrated

Let’s bring this discussion home with an infographic. Here’s what a referral program looks like and the steps to drive new revenue through outbound referrals.

Want to talk to Joanne about how you can make referrals a proactive outbound strategy? Choose a date and time for a complimentary 30-minute call.