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Are You Asking for Referrals?

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In the past, when I have asked salespeople how I can help them with prospecting (whom they are looking to meet), they have often begun, “anyone who…? Anyone? It has confused me. I don’t know who “anyone” is.

Every salesperson recognizes his or her ideal client. You know who yours is. Don’t you love when you get to work with your ideal clients? They value what you offer, communicate well, are forward thinking and reasonable, have a good sense of humor and allow you the time, money and resources to make any project successful. If you’re hoping to make your life easier and increase your bottom line, your task is to clone your ideal clients.

When you work with your ideal client, your sales time line collapses, productivity soars, revenue expands and these clients refer you to other ideal clients.

Find your ideal client. The best way to locate your ideal client is to ask your current clients to refer you to their peers. The second best way is to ask your network to refer you. In either case, however, you must be specific. The more specifically you describe your ideal client, the easier it is for your referral source (current client or network contact) to identify the perfect referral for you.

Be specific. Being specific is counterintuitive. Many of my clients believe the wider they cast their net, the more clients they will reel in. The exact opposite is true. Think of yourself as a sketch artist: the more color, lines and detail you present, the easier it becomes for others to envision, recognize and identify your ideal client and refer them to you.

Think of the last time you were at an art museum. Perhaps you viewed a painting called “Blue Wall,” a modern work all one color. You may have pondered what it meant; it was open to wide and varied interpretation. Then, say you saw a Rembrandt or a Vermeer, a work where the artist’s intention was apparent. You could identify people, what they were doing and perhaps what they were feeling. You knew exactly what you were looking at.

In the case of describing your ideal client, you need to be as specific as possible and leave nothing to interpretation. You need to tell the story yourself. Some salespeople mistakenly believe that if they don’t mention everything they offer, they’re leaving business on the table. But the opposite is true. The more specifically you describe your ideal client, the easier it becomes to receive a perfect referral.

We get what we ask for, so ask for exactly what you want and you’ll get amazing referrals!

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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 © Copyright 2011 Joanne S. Black. All rights reserved.


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