By Theophan, Executive Sales Coach
New client acquisition through cold calling can be one of the most difficult parts of the sales process and can be brutal at times. Sales people that have been in the industry for a length of time know there’s a better way. Referrals can be the life blood of your business growth and allow you to work smarter instead of harder, and when done right, referrals can come not only from clients but from disqualified prospects as well.
There were about fifty people milling around during the networking portion of the event. A low hum of voices could be heard throughout the establishment. A small group stood in a semi-circle, sipping coffee and chatting amongst themselves. I made my way toward the small semi-circle. They noticed me coming and as I drew closer they asked me what business I was in. I gave my quick elevator pitch and got to learn a little bit about each of them. One person in particular asked for my business card and said he wanted to get together with me; George was an outside sales rep for a technology company. We traded business cards and scheduled a time to grab coffee.
During our coffee meeting about a week later George told me he was currently in sales training and learning a sales system. He really wanted to be coached by me but I didn’t want to provide him with coaching and sales techniques that were contrary to what he was learning so I disqualified him as a prospect. Overall, the meeting was good and we promised to keep in touch with each other.
A couple weeks later I reached out to George to say hello and find out how his sales training was going. Toward the end of our conversation I asked him if he knew anyone that I should know. He then put me on hold while he looked up a contact’s information. And a second contact’s information. And a third contact’s information. and a fourth contact’s information. That’s right, he provided me with four referrals and he wasn’t even a client! One simple question to a disqualified prospect provided me with four brand new leads.
When discussing the process of acquiring referrals with my clients I explain to them that every time they meet someone they connect with or every time they sign a new client they’ve potentially added a new branch to their money tree. That branch will begin to sprout money by simply asking your new friend or your new client if they know someone that you should know. It’s exponentially easier to close a new client through a referral than it is through cold calling. You don’t always get a referral when you ask but if you don’t ask you’ll never get a referral.
When was the last time you asked for a referral? I would like to encourage you to ask one person for a referral each day for the next ten business days. Think you can pull it off? Let me know by emailing me. I look forward to hearing from you and wish you good selling!
Executive Sales Coach
Theophan has been a professional coach since 2005 and has been in sales for more than twenty years. As an executive sales coach he helps executives, sales managers, sales teams, and individual salespeople overcome the challenges and obstacles that keep them from seeing explosive growth in their companies. He can be reached at email@example.com or you can schedule an initial consultation with him by clicking HERE.