The year is half-way done and you might be thinking about your pipeline. If you’re like most salespeople, referrals are a vital part of keeping your sales pipeline full. As a matter-of-fact, according to Joanne S. Black in her book, No More Cold Calling, success rates for closing referral business are between 50% and 90%. There are three primary reasons for such impressive statistics: 1) with a referral you are generally speaking to the right person and 2) they want to speak to you and 3) you are gaining entry on the basis of trust and credibility—and in sales, this is gold.
How to Start?
Create an ideal customer profile. This exercise can be enlightening for any salesperson or business owner. Your profile might vary by product line or service. Once you’re clear on the profile of your best or ideal customer, then you’re in a great position to succinctly describe it to someone who is willing to refer you. (See my example below.)
Consider Referral Resources
Brainstorm all your referral resources. These are the people, given the proper information, who would be in the best position to refer you. The quickest way to start your list of potential referrers is to analyze your existing contact database or LinkedIn contacts. The number of people we are connected to today is vast. Some percentage of this group either knows someone who could use your product or knows someone who has contacts who could be beneficial. Even two hops to a referral are better than cold calling! As you’re building your referral base, consider past colleagues, past employees, professional support resources such as lawyers, financial people, industry group contacts and compatible business contacts (i.e. other business people with a similar ideal customer profile).
A great way to practice and create goodwill is to actively refer others. Ask business associates about their ideal customer and typical results they have achieved for their customers. Learn about their value proposition and then look for an opportunity to refer them.
A Recent Example
As a business owner, I get a surprisingly high number of salespeople reaching out to me to try to secure an appointment. Some think my company is much larger than it is. Some miss the mark entirely on my business model and priorities and some come close. Recently I was impressed (and agreed to a meeting) with someone who reached out. Here’s what he did:
- Found a referral based on LinkedIn research.
- Ask the referral to give me a heads up he would reach out.
- Used the referral’s name in his LinkedIn message to me.
- Did some research to understand my priorities.
- Created a short video which he described in his message, along with the link.
- The video, probably only 30 seconds, was not scripted but authentic and quickly outlined the value of a meeting.
Sample: Top Line Sales
We LOVE Referrals!
We’re hired by Sales VP’s or Company Owners who run sales who want to repeatedly win huge contracts. (5x their normal contract size)
- Company size: Companies with at least one sales team who are committed to investing time, effort and resources into landing, retaining, and growing their top opportunities. Company sweet spot is 25-300M.
- Industries: Medical technology, healthcare, insurance, manufacturing, technology, software, security.
- Results: We have been an integral part of closed contracts with our clients totaling over $350 million in new revenue due to our commitment to ‘roll up our sleeves’ to help their teams win. Close ratios skyrocket to 73% or better when clients involve Top Line Sales in their biggest opportunities.
- Services: War room services, sales leadership mastermind groups, TOP Line Account™ sales training, sales, and sales leader playbooks
100% of our business over the past 15 years has come from Referrals and we appreciate each and every one.
If you want to ring the bell more frequently with TOP Line Account™ victories in 2019, then jump on the referral bandwagon!
The TOP Line Account™ Sales Success Model
Common close ratio: 25%
Add consistent pre-call planning: +20%
Add account strategy work: +20%
NEW CLOSE RATIO: 65% +
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About Lisa Magnuson:
Lisa Magnuson is an expert in corporate strategic sales and TOP Line Account™ revenue building. As a respected sales consultant and author, Lisa works with clients to build successful strategic sales programs that drive revenue from large new accounts and enable growth from existing high-value customers. Learn more at www.toplinesales.com.
Lisa D. Magnuson
Chief Corporate Sales Strategist