In a recent Webinar survey I conducted, attendees identified the two biggest sales challenges they face:

  1. Getting the meeting at the level that counts – 58 percent
  2. Converting prospects to customers – 47 percent

But when they receive a qualified referral, salespeople report securing a new client more than 50 percent of the time. In fact:

  • 31 percent said more than 50 percent of the time
  • 30 percent said more than 70 percent of the time
  • 23 percent said more than 90 percent of the time

Wow, they made my case: Referrals address the two largest sales challenges–big time!

Yet, 85 percent don’t have a targeted referral strategy with a written referral sales plan, weekly written goals and methods to track and measure them. Imagine the results if only they would fully leverage the only sales method that produces these type of numbers.

In addition to this great data, salespeople uniformly tell me that when they receive a referral, they:

  1. Are pre-sold (the sales prospect expects and wants to take their calls)
  2. Have instant credibility and the prospect’s trust
  3. Enjoy shortened sales processes
  4. Ace out the competition
  5. Incur no “hard costs”

These results all hinge on my definition of a “qualified sales referral”: You have the introduction from someone your prospect trusts who’s willing to give you a great recommendation–by phone, e-mail or in person. If you just get a name and contact information, it’s a cold call. The sales prospect doesn’t know you and is not expecting your call. Don’t fool yourself. That sales call is cold, arctic … freezing. The only definition of a qualified referral is a personal introduction. Period.

Stop wasting your valuable sales time on less-than-stellar sales results. Remember: “150 phone calls and five agreed-upon meetings (three completed, two forgotten). Customers acquired: None.” You wouldn’t settle for such inferior results for your clients, would you? Set the same high standards for yourself.