I believe as salespeople we sometimes have the thought or opinion that we are on an island all by ourselves, that it is up to us and only us to survive and thrive. However, success in selling has a lot to do with our ability to rely on other people- our prospects, coworkers, managers- just to name a few. At the core, relationship selling is based on building and fostering a mutually beneficial partnership. Part of any good relationship is the ability to be vulnerable, or to ask for help.
Additionally, I also believe that salespeople strive to get out of the cold calling business. Cold calling is hard and if we have the option NOT to do it, I think most of us would gladly take it.
So how are these two things connected. Well, we have found that success in sales can be largely impacted by our ability to ask those partners and relationships for introductions. Note that I didn’t say referrals. Getting a name and a number or email- aka a referral- is certainly better than cold calling. No argument here. But I think I can speak for all of us when I say we’ve been 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, and 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.
So I’m encouraging you to take it one step further. 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 that introduction doesn’t need to be anything fancy! We typically recommend saying these 4 things:
- 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”.
Work with your partner to dress this up and adapt it however seems most comfortable to you and them. But by taking this additional step, you are much more likely to actively connect with the individual you’re being referred to. You’re savvy enough at the conversation that follows, the difficult part is actually getting their time and attention.
Be vulnerable. Ask for help. Push for the introduction. I promise you that it will help further develop your relationships and overall success in sales.