Whether you’re relatively new to sales or a battle-scarred, proven old pro, prospecting is a tough chore we must accomplish unless we want to find ourselves out of business.
There are a great many ways to prospect, from cold calling to cold walking to networking to purchasing ads to social media to asking for referrals from clients and friends. Depending upon your industry and personality, some methods work better than others.
In the end, the object of this endeavor is to get in front of decision-makers who are great prospects for you—that is, decision-makers who need and can afford your product or service.
Like a great many sellers, I was taught that after the sale, I should ask clients for referrals to others who might be able to use my product or service. And like a great many other sellers, I discovered that asking for referrals in that manner simply didn’t produce much of value. Sure, I might get some names and phone numbers, but most of the time they were either poor prospects or no prospects at all.
Over the years, I’ve spoken to thousands of sellers who were taught the same referral-generation rules — and had the same disappointing results. Many continue to ask in this way, knowing that only a small portion of the names and phone numbers they get will be of value. Others have simply given up on referrals altogether.
A few years ago, I discovered a referral-generation process that is far different from the traditional “do a good job and ask for referrals” process most of us have been taught.
Here's the key:
Rather than asking clients to do our prospecting for us, do it yourself. Let me repeat: do it yourself. That might sound simple or trite. But, it's the truth. Don't sit by the phone waiting for your clients to do the work for you: do it yourself! And do it this way: Ask for direct introductions to hand-picked prospects. That's it: Ask for direct introductions.
This method gives you complete control of the referral process, takes the burden off your clients and delivers an introduction to someone you already know is a great prospect for you. You can thank me later. See you here next week.
Sign up for The Lead and get a new tip in your inbox every day! More tips:
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- 5 referral-destroying mistakes
- Have you tapped this referral source?
Paul McCord is a best-selling author, speaker and leading authority on lead generation. He has more than 20 years’ experience coaching and mentoring salespeople. For more information, go to mccordandassociates.com.