Referral-Based Selling: How to Ask


Referral-Based Selling: How to Ask

I’ve coached a lot of salespeople so I’ve heard a lot of different “favorites” about the job. For some, their favorite thing is presenting. For others, they love meeting new people and developing relationships. But of my 9 years with Anthony Cole Training group, I can confidently say I have never heard someone claim that their favorite part of the job is cold calling. If you do, then keep doing what you’re doing. That’s a hard road and I wish you all the best and success. But if you don’t and are looking for a way to upgrade your prospecting, then this is the video for you.

Even if you are calling off of a list that you either paid for or crafted yourself, getting the attention of those folks is nearly impossible. Think about it for a second, the person you are calling on, why would they talk to you? They don’t know who you are, why you’re calling, and if you’re someone they should even be talking to. With all of the spam and scam calls these days, it’s a risk for anyone to answer a call from a number they don’t know. That’s the world we live in now and something that us as salespeople need to adapt to.

We have found that success in sales can be largely impacted by our ability to ask our clients and partners for referrals or introductions. Getting a name and a number or email- aka a referral- is far better than cold calling. But even in those situations where we have received a referral from a client or partner, we’ve reached out, left a couple messages, sent a few emails, we still don’t hear back. We are able to reference our referrer in those communications but oftentimes it still doesn’t make a difference in the outcome. They still never call back.

Referral-Based Selling to Introduction-Based Selling

So while this may have started as a referral based selling article, I’m going to shift it to introduction based selling article. When asking for introductions, keep it simple and start with your true advocates, those people that want to help you succeed. You want to communicate to your advocate what you are doing, what you need, and then ask them for their help. Try something like:

  • I’m growing my business and I need your help.
  • If you were me doing what I do, who would you call on?

It’s not enough to just get the “who” question answered- that’s a referral. You need to dig a little deeper to improve the probability of getting in front of a prospect that is really a good fit for you.  You also must figure out;

  • Why they would call them
  • What’s the best way to get ahold of them
  • And if they (the person giving the referral) would be willing to introduce you

An introduction requires the person making the referral to get actively involved in the process. They are going to actually connect you and the individual they are referring. That can be via email, phone call, text message- whatever their chosen form of communication. And this is what we recommend saying;

  • When Alex calls, you should take the call
  • She’s a good person
  • She does good work
  • But most importantly If at the end of that call it doesn’t make sense for you to continue the conversation, it’s okay to tell Alex “no”.

By making these changes and taking this additional step, you are much more likely to actively connect with the individual you’re being referred to. The biggest challenge is not letting your own brain baggage get in the way:​ I don’t want to be pushy​, I’m afraid that they will get nervous​, I don’t want to take advantage of the relationship. Remember, you are meeting with your best clients and advocates.  You have a great relationship, and they said yes to the meeting and probably said yes that they would try and help you.​

Thanks for watching!

Alex Cole-Murphy, Recruitment Specialist & Sales Development Expert
Anthony Cole Training Group


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