If you’re not getting the referrals you need, perhaps it’s time to overhaul your approach. We want to take the initiative when we enter into a referral conversation instead of feeling beholden to our referral sources. We want to have the same sense of security in prospecting as we do in selling.

Keep the following thoughts in mind the next time you enter into a referral conversation:

1.     Be able to describe your true target market(s) and your ideal client within that target market. Consider joining organizations in your geographical area whose members fall into that market.

2.     Make sure you have several names to feed to your referral source before you begin the conversation. Make sure you use a fact-finding questionnaire on all your calls to capture these names.

3.     Learn how to integrate a referral conversation into your sales process. Weave it into the conversation in a way that is both effective and comfortable for you and the referral source.

4.     Ask your best clients to describe the benefits they have received from working with you. This will help you understand the products and services they value and zero in on others who might benefit from them.

 5.     Keep good sales and prospecting records and take time out periodically to analyze them. This will help you ascertain what works and what doesn’t.

These 5 techniques will help you transform your prospecting efforts. With each new ideal client you add to your stable, you’ll be one step closer to your ideal practice.

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Nick Ray is a business coach who specializes in working with financial services professionals. He is the author of There’s More to Selling than Making the Sale as well as a workbook on target marketing. He can be reached at nick@coachnickray.com.