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Practice Management > Building Your Business

Part I: Lessons from a referral success story

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Aquiles Larrea from New York, who attended my Boot Camp for Financial Professionals, sent me a letter, which I’d like to share with you because it’s a great example of how he used several aspects of our system.

“Dear Bill,

Using your system, I’m asking for and getting great referrals (see lesson 1 below). I “practiced” with a few of my lower-level clients, so I could refine my process before approaching my top clients (see lesson 2). When I was ready, I approached one top-five client and asked for referrals. He said, “I know a few people. Can I please get back to you on this?” I gently explored his objection – as you taught us – and knowing his guarded nature, I backed off. (See lesson 3 below.) Two weeks later, he called me with a referral to a friend, who became a multi-million dollar client.”

This same referred client went on to refer his own friends, one of whom moved another million dollars in business to Aquiles. What can you learn from his story?

Lesson 1: Building a business based almost exclusively on referrals does take some time, though it’s clearly the most efficient and profitable way. And it begins with your commitment to the process. Most salespeople dabble in referrals. They know what to do when they trip over them. But most have not committed to using a day-in, day-out systematic process. Aquiles did, and his whole lifestyle has changed.

Lesson 2: At our boot camp and seminars, I teach reps not to immediately ask their best and biggest clients. After learning any new technique, it’s best to “practice” on the clients who love you first. You can bumble through it, not hurt the relationship and get what you want.

Lesson 3: You can’t hammer people for referrals. If you get some resistance, explore their perspectives. Learn more about how they feel. Then, if you have to, back off from your request – with confidence. When you explore their position softly – from a place of curiosity – and then respect their position – you actually become more referable.

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