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Want prospects who want to hear from you? Get referrals

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I recently scored a meeting with the CEO of a Fortune 500 company. It took me one call to get on his calendar. Why? I received a referral introduction from his trusted friend and advisor.

During our 30-minute call, I learned what this CEO expected from salespeople and what initiatives he was driving. He referred me to his Global VP, who has been more than willing to help me make connections within the company.

That’s the beauty of referral selling.

When you get referrals, you:

  • Bypass the gatekeeper and score meetings with decision-makers every time.

  • Earn trust and credibility with your prospects, who are pre-sold on your ability to deliver results.

  • Convert prospects into clients at least 50 percent of the time (usually more than 70 percent).

  • Land clients who become ideal referral sources for new business.

  • Score more new clients from fewer leads (because all of your leads are qualified).

  • Meet with hot prospects while your competitors are still figuring out how to get in.

The business case for referrals is loud and clear. Decision-makers will always meet with salespeople who’ve been referred by people they know and trust. If your competition gets to the decision-maker first, you might be out of the game. But when you get referrals, you win.

A referral isn’t a referral without an introduction

A referral means you receive a personal introduction to your prospect, not just a name and contact information. Without an introduction, your outreach is ice cold. The prospect doesn’t know you and doesn’t expect to hear from you.

I’ve heard sales experts say it takes seven to 10 touches for most reps to reach prospects. Is that how you want to spend your selling time? Sure, sometimes it works, but everything changes when you receive an introduction. All it takes is one call or email from your prospect’s trusted friend or colleague, and you’ve scored a meeting.

When you receive a referral introduction, you create a business opportunity that is yours to win. You meet with a potential client, or with someone who may become your advocate within his organization. Either way, you start the conversation with someone on your side.

What does your sales future look like?

Picture a sales world where all your prospects want to talk to you — a world in which you never have to cold call, send cold prospecting emails, or entice prospects with special offers. When you get referrals, you blow your quota out of the water. Your prospects expect to hear from you and happily take your call.

Instead of feeling like a pesky telemarketer, you become a trusted expert and advisor. You also save time, source only hot prospects, land your ideal clients, and close deals faster.

Yet, while every sales professional understands the unrivaled value of referral leads, 95 percent of companies do not have a written referral-selling strategy, written weekly referral goals, referral-selling skills, accountability for results, or a system to track and measure.

It’s time to make referrals the way you sell. Stop the time-wasting, irrelevant, unproductive, frustrating prospecting activities you think you should be doing. Stop sorting leads into cold, warm, and hot. There’s only one kind of lead that should be in your pipeline. Only one kind of lead that counts. Only one kind of lead that management cares about. Only one kind of lead you should care about.

That’s hot leads — the kind you source by getting referrals.

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