Sales and Sales Management Blog

June 16, 2009

Boost Your Sales series: “Make Sure You Get One GREAT Referral,” by Bill Cates


It’s Referrals and Word of Mouth week at the Boost Your Sales blog series. 

Today it’s Bill Cates

Tomorrow Joanne Black is here with “There’s No Such Thing as a Warm Sales Call”

Thursday Dr. Martin Russell discusses “Marketing Is What You Do When Your Product Is No Good”

and finally, on Friday I up with “Your Connections are Your Key to Your Success”

Stay tuned in next week as a great list of experts—Jeb Blount, Nigel Edelshain, Cindy King and Ardath Albee give great guidance on “Prospecting and Social Media”

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Make Sure You Get One GREAT Referral
By Bill Cates

One of the questions I always get is “How many names do you try to get in one sitting?”  My answer to this is “it depends.” It depends on how open your referral source is to the process; how much time and energy they feel like devoting. My personal record is 17 names in one phone call, and I’ve gotten 10-11 on several occasions. But NOT because I pushed my clients into this. I was ready to move on to another subject several times, but they kept on going, and going, and going (like the Eveready Energizer Bunny.)

 At a recent referral boot camp, an advisor told me his method. He told me that he doesn’t “brainstorm” for a lot of names. He says this to his clients, “I’m glad you really see the importance and value of the work we’ve done together. Who is one person that you know, who you think should really know about the work I do?”   He only asks for one referral each time, but the one he gets is always a good one – a high-trust referral.

Now, it must be said that this advisor is extremely successful and doesn’t need the quantity that some advisors need.  If you need more than just one great referral, do what I usually teach – come prepared to suggest several places (names, categories, target lists, etc.) and brainstorm with your client.  You can use this method as part of the overall brainstorming.

Remember, if you ask, they can always say, “no.”  If you don’t ask, the answers is always “no.”  Don’t run your career afraid of the word “no.” They won’t stop being your client, for goodness sakes.

Bill Cates is the author of Get More Referrals Now! and Don’t Keep Me a Secret! To receive Bill’s complimentary newsletter and to learn more about how his boot camps, coaching, books and other referral tools can help you acquire more and better clients through referrals, go to http://www.ReferralCoach.com (301-497-2200)

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1 Comment »

  1. An extremely successful AFLAC sales man I met would always complete his conversations and even a similar quote on the bottom of his emails, “Remember that the best way to compliment me is to refer me.” I liked this article! In this information security concious age, it is far too easy to take this part of the sales cycle for granted!

    Comment by Training Connection — June 17, 2009 @ 11:50 am | Reply


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