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Practice Management > Building Your Business

Advisors: How to adopt a targeted referral strategy

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Salespeople agree referral selling is hands-down their best sales strategy. But it’s a completely different animal to implement a referral strategy. “Where do I start?” salespeople ask me. So what does it take to implement a targeted referral strategy?

1. Make referral selling your priority. Priority is singular. Either you adopt referral sales, or you don’t. Yes or no. “Maybe’s” don’t exist in sales. Put a stake in the ground and decide referral sales is your knock-your-socks-off, way-to-go, top-of-the-heap business-development strategy. Period.

2. Define your goals: Set referral goals for your company. Keep it simple. My definition of a goal: It’s achievable with a little bit of stretch. Take 20 minutes to write down your big goals. Don’t quote me, but I read an article that said something like if all you do is write your goals, put them in a drawer and never look at them again, you have a 70 percent better chance of achieving them than if you never wrote them down.

3. Review and reset your sales goals: Begin with an annual timeframe, and then break those goals into months. It’s OK to blow past your goals. Bravo to you. Set new ones and go for it.

After you adopt your new referral-sales strategy, what sales activities become irrelevant? What sales activities must you stop doing that take time and don’t support your new strategy?

What sales activities must you start doing that you weren’t doing before? And, finally, what cool sales activities were you already doing that you want to continue, increase or refine?

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Joanne Black is a professional sales speaker, sales webinar leader, and author of “No More Cold Calling: The Breakthrough System That Will Leave Your Competition in the Dust” from Warner Business Books. Visit


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