Here's A More Effective Way To Get A Sales Referral

BY Jessica Helinski
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Salespeople report that only 30% of their clients and prospects have given them a sales referral in the past year, according to SalesFuel’s Voice of the Sales Rep study. This low percentage reveals a real opportunity for sellers to boost referrals and increase revenue.

Getting A Sales Referral Is A Challenge For Sellers

Despite the value that referrals bring, sellers are clearly not taking advantage of this powerful business generator. They are often uncomfortable asking or aren’t sure how to ask. Or they may be using outdated, ineffective approaches. 

Familiarizing yourself with modern tactics of soliciting referrals can help you overcome hesitation, as well as optimize your own strategy. 

View Referrals Differently

Sales professional Marc Wayshak believes that sellers need to rethink the word “referral” to freshen their approach. He recommends cutting out that term completely. Asking for a sales referral doesn’t clarify what you actually want: an introduction to a potential lead. 

He suggests “cutting out the referral talk and simply asking for introductions…” 

This will get to the point quickly and get you what you need sooner. 

Plus, it makes it clear that you don’t just want a name or a number; you want to be introduced and make a connection. This more personal approach can have a much bigger impact than simply getting someone’s contact information. 

Sandy Schussel, writing for LinkedIn agrees. He adds that introductions hold more weight because of the direct involvement of the third party. This personal engagement increases your credibility and demonstrates their trust in you and your solutions.

As Wayshak adds, “When someone introduces you, they are helping vouch for who you are and what you are saying.”

Be Clear About Your Request

Getting a quality sales referral via introduction will be most effective when you know your ideal customer. Being clear on who is the best fit for your solution ensures you connect with the right prospects. When asking for an introduction, know who you want to meet. 

Give clear examples about the types of prospects you’re interested in connecting with,” Wayshak advises. 

Don’t ask your contact questions like, “Do you know anyone who could use my services?” 

This puts the burden on them. Instead, be specific when asking about a possible introduction with an ideal prospect. 

Share information such as their specific job titles, the companies they work for, the industry they’re in, their average revenue…”

If you haven’t identified your ideal buyer persona or updated it recently, take a look at these tips. 

Only Ask Satisfied Customers

An introduction likely won’t happen if you ask clients or acquaintances who aren’t 100% champions. They need to have a thorough understanding of what you do and the value that you offer. 

They will not only be open to your introduction request but also happy to fulfill it, Kylee Lessard explains.

Anyone who is ready to refer your business to others will be happy to make the actual introduction…”

Before approaching someone about an introduction, she suggests asking yourself the following:

  • Do I have a strong enough relationship with the referrer?
  • Will I ultimately be able to help the sales prospect?
  • How can I make the introduction request easier for my connection?

Answering these ensures you are positioned for a successful request and introduction. And doing so makes it a comfortable and valuable experience for the other parties involved.

It’s clear that sellers struggle with asking for a sales referral. But this different approach can help them overcome the roadblocks they face. Reframing referral requests and asking for introductions instead is more valuable for everyone. 

Follow these best practices to freshen up your referral strategy and make  meaningful connections.

Photo by Sora Shimazaki