You’re never really alone when you drive business through referrals. Everyone you know—your colleagues, clients, former customers, peers, family, and friends—all become part of your private sales team.
The people in your personal and professional networks are ready and willing to help you generate new business. All you need to do is describe your Ideal Client and ask for referrals to prospects who fit the bill.
Referrals Aren’t What You Think
Let’s be clear: A referral is not a testimonial. It’s not a LinkedIn endorsement. And it’s not what happens when someone gives you contact information for a lead.
A referral is an actual introduction to a prospect. Without the introduction, that person doesn’t know who you are and doesn’t expect to hear from you—which is the definition of a cold call. You might have a name to drop, but you probably won’t get the chance.
Don’t Confuse Contacts with Connections
Social media sites like LinkedIn claim to foster connections between people. But just because two people are connected on LinkedIn doesn’t mean they have a relationship. It doesn’t mean they truly know and trust each other.
So after you’ve done your research and identified a mutual connection, you still need to contact your Referral Source, find out if that person actually knows your prospect, and most importantly, ask for an introduction.
Start Having Conversations That Count
Relationships still power sales—the kind of relationships you build through real conversations, not text messages or 140-character Twitter posts. But technology also causes us to scale back on personal interactions, enabling us to put more walls between ourselves and others than at any other point in our shared history.
So how do you break down those walls? You pick up the damn phone.
In my newest book—Pick Up the Damn Phone!: How People, Not Technology, Seal the Deal—you’ll learn:
- How to balance technology with personal connections
- Why trust trumps technology
- How to make LinkedIn work for you
- How to leverage social selling
- Which technology tools are worth your time
- How to nurture your referral network—online and offline
- Why we must tweet less and talk more to the customers and contacts who really matter
Order your paperback copy of Pick Up the Damn Phone! from Amazon or Barnes & Noble. Or get the digital version for your Kindle or Nook. I invite you to join other commentators and write a review on Amazon.