Has this ever happened to you? You or one of your employees received a referral to call someone, and when you called, that person did not know you were going to call and really had no interest? Many organizations are confused as to what really is a referral. A referral is not a recommendation to call someone "and you can use my name" or a list of names and telephone numbers from a well-meaning friend. What is a real referral? It's when someone has referred you to someone else, and that person knows and wants you to call them. The prospective customer is EXPECTING your call. Anything less is just one step above a call cold.
There are essentially 3 levels of referrals. Level one, and the least desirable, is when your client says “Anna, you should call my friend Frank, he could benefit from working with your company. We call this a “cold referral” because it is essentially a cold interaction and like you and I, most people don’t react-well to cold reach-outs.
The next level referral is a “warm referral.” The referral warms up when your friend says: “Anna, my friend Frank owns a widget company. I saw him at an event last week and I told him about the great work you and your company were doing for us and asked if he would be interested in speaking with someone from your company. He said that he would, so I’ll put the two of you together in an email. Let me know if I can help in any other way.” Notice that your customer has helped to identify interest on the part of the prospective customer and has offered to make an email introduction to confirm that will be expecting your call.
The third and highest level of referral is the “hot referral.” In this instance, the prospective customer will actually get together with you AND your friend who is introducing you to be part of the introduction visit. Often times, this might be over lunch or even at your friend or prospective customer’s business. You can see how powerful this kind of introduction could be when your friend is extolling the virtues of working with you and your company and the prospective customer is sitting across the table. With a hot referral, you’ll typically see an abnormally high amount of those folks becoming a new customer for you and be glad you took the extra time to coach your friend on how to make the referral introduction.
Our clients train ALL of their employees (not-only customer-facing employees) on how to set up the referral properly, so you're not met with confusion or rejection when you reach out to the potential customer.
At the end of the day, if you’re doing a great job for your customers and clients they will actually WANT to refer business to you – it makes them feel good. Unfortunately, most customers don’t have any training on how to do this in the most productive and powerful way, so it’s up to us to teach them.
For the free whitepaper eBook download offer, 10 Ways You Can Use LinkedIn to Prospect More Effectively, contact Bob Bolak at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Bob Bolak is President/CEO of Sandler Training in the Greater Denver Area. As an accomplished leadership, management, customer service and sales consultant and trainer, he brings two and half decades of leadership, management and sales experience to the table, with a consistent track record of double and triple digit revenue and profit increases. Sandler Training has authored over two dozen books on effective leadership, management, customer service and sales.