Direct Marketing Article
5 Ways to Get Strong Referrals - And Lots of 'Em
By Marc Wayshak
Running a small business in today's economy requires a departure from
conventional business rules. In order to sell a product or service,
businesses can no longer rely upon old-school sales tactics of bygone eras:
Prospects are overwhelmingly distrustful of the traditional sales pitch,
they're busier than ever and they have access to more information than ever
As a result, small business owners must master a new set of tactics in order
to make sales. The key is to start with strong referrals.
It's no secret that getting referrals from clients who believe in your
services is an effective way to connect with new clients. But in today's
business world, it's not enough to just get referrals -- they have to be
strong, and there have to be lots of 'em! Here are five ways to get lots of
1. Stop calling them "referrals"! Salespeople often tell me that when
they ask for a referral, all they get is a name, a phone number and an
instruction to "tell him I sent you." This is not a referral -- it is, at
best, a warm lead. The term "referral" is vague and unclear, which is why
requests for them can frequently lead to disappointing outcomes. Instead of
asking for referrals, ask for introductions. You want to be introduced
directly to the person you want to meet, after all. The introduction can
take place via face-to-face meeting, phone call, email exchange, or social
media, but the key is that an actual introduction is made. Now, promise
yourself you'll never ask for a "referral" again!
2. Get over your fear and ask! I've done extensive research on what
holds people back from getting more introductions, and it always comes back
to the same issue: fear. Asking for introductions shows vulnerability and
can feel uncomfortable. But the reality is that if you don't ask, people
will not think to introduce you. It's your job to ask everyone in your
network for introductions on a regular basis. The more you ask, the easier
it becomes. In all of my years as a sales strategist, I've never heard of
someone losing a client because they asked for an introduction. So what do
you have to lose?
3. An introduction a day...really adds up. I have a challenge for
you: Ask for one introduction every workday. It's a task that takes less
than five minutes, but it holds enormous potential for your business. Here's
how: One introduction per day equals five per week; five introductions per
week equals 250 introductions per year. That's a lot of introductions! Let's
say that you receive only one-in-five of the introductions you ask for --
that still means you'll receive 50 introductions in one year. If you turn
half of those introductions into sales, then you'll have closed 25 new
pieces of business. What are you waiting for?
4. Ask for help. Help. That simple four-letter word is one of the
most powerful in the English language. When you ask for help, people
generally want to give it to you. On the other hand, people are turned off
by phony confidence and a reluctance to accept assistance. So ask for help
when it comes to introductions, just as you would in any other context.
Start the introduction conversation by saying, "I'm wondering if you might
be able to give me a little help." Let the person say that she is happy to
help -- which she probably will be if you have any relationship at all. Then
ask for the introduction to the type of prospect you're looking to meet.
5. Help people help you. Salespeople frequently squander the chance
to get introductions by not clearly explaining the exact type of prospect
they're looking to meet. When someone says that he's willing to help you out
with introductions, don't respond, "Well, who do you know?" This forces the
person to have to figure out which of the 1,000 people he knows to introduce
you to. Instead, be laser-focused on the exact type of person you want to be
introduced to. For example, you might say, "I'm looking to meet CEOs of
companies with $10M-$40M in revenues in the healthcare space that are
looking to grow sales." When you get very specific, you narrow a person's
mental rolodex down to 1-3 people. Bingo!
When you focus on receiving more introductions (and actually take action!),
your business can grow exponentially. If each of your clients introduced you
to one new client, your business would double. By following these five
simple strategies, you can bring on more clients without a massive effort.
About the Author:
www.marcwayshak.com is a sales strategist who created the Game Plan
Selling System. He is the author of two books on sales and leadership
including his latest book,
Game Plan Selling and a regular online contributor to Entrepreneur
Magazine and the Huffington Post Business section.