A young adult whom I’ve known for years is just starting his career as a financial adviser with a large company. He has been trained well and is now in the midst of cranking out cold call after cold call each day. He’s worn out at the end of each day.
I understand! Cold calling is hard, isn’t it? It’s a real numbers game. That’s why I love Joanne Black, sales expert extraordinaire! Her No More Cold Calling book is very relevant for anyone who wants to build their business, pipeline, and success.
I’m thrilled to share the following post that Joanne created just for my readers! Use referrals to get in front of the prospect and then my approach to the sales conversation to get the sale.
Get a Referral Introduction and Never Make Another Cold Call
With referral selling, all your leads are HOT, HOT, HOT.
By Joanne S. Black
A colleague once told me that referrals allow us to skip that dreaded “first date” with sales prospects. We bypass the small talk and uncomfortable “getting to know you” conversation. Instead, we can get personal and get down to business.
I learned one of my earliest lessons about the power of referrals during a breakfast meeting with a referred prospect named Jim. I didn’t need to tell Jim all about me and what I did, nor did I have to try and earn his trust. Because someone he knew and trusted had referred me, we were already beyond that stage.
In the first 10 minutes of our meeting, Jim shared tons of important information with me, because as he put it, we were already “friends.”
Cut to the Chase
A referral means you receive a personal introduction from someone your prospect knows and trusts. You are connected to exactly the person you want to meet and who wants to meet you. You create a business opportunity that is yours to win. You meet with a decision-maker or with someone who can become your advocate within his organization. Either way, you start with someone on your side.
When you have been referred, the person knows about you and why it’s beneficial for the two of you to talk—all before you ever meet in person.
Rainmakers who’ve been at it for 30 years and their greenest colleagues agree: Referral selling is the most effective business-development strategy. Nothing else comes close.
When you receive a referral introduction, you:
- Are pre-sold (because your referral sources can vouch for the results you deliver),
- Have already earned trust (one of the most difficult things for salespeople to gain),
- Shorten your sales process by at least 25 percent,
- Decrease your cost of sales, and
- Convert referred prospects to new clients more than 50 percent of the time.
Why would you waste your time selling any other way?
Get Personal, Get In Person
If you’ve dated in the age of the Internet, it probably went something like this: Before you went out, you emailed back and forth, exchanged photos online, learned about each other’s interests, and then decided to talk on the phone. But did your relationship get serious without an in-person meeting? Probably not.
The same is true in sales. Most prospects are not going to get serious about doing business with you until they’ve met with you face to face. But when you receive a referral introduction, you skip the first few relationship-building steps. Not only do you have something to talk about during that in-person conversation (i.e., how each of you knows the referral source), but you both already know exactly how this new relationship can be mutually-beneficial.
Enough said. Get the introduction, skip the awkward first date, and never make another cold call.
About the Author
Joanne Black is America’s leading authority on referral selling—the only business-development strategy proven to convert prospects into clients more than 50 percent of the time. As the founder of No More Cold Calling, Joanne helps salespeople, sales teams, and business owners build their referral networks, attract more business, decrease operating costs, and ace out the competition. A captivating speaker and innovative seminar leader, Joanne is a member of the National Speakers Association and author of NO MORE COLD CALLING™: The Breakthrough System That Will Leave Your Competition in the Dust. To learn more, visit www.NoMoreColdCalling.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 415-461-8763.
As a sales professional who enjoys making cold calls and succeeds at doing it, I cringe when I see discussions around avoiding them. Cold calling is, and always should be, a valuable skill used proudly in a sales person’s arsenal. It isn’t as hard as people think and is more successful than most believe. The issue is, because people believe its hard and therefore avoid it, they don’t practice it enough to get good at it and do it with enough confidence to make it work when they do. ‘Social Selling’ (of which referrals are a subset) are very useful for the reasons mentioned in the article, but cold calling is a crucial skill when your ideal future client sits outside your network. You must learn how to do it to be truly successful at selling.
Thank you Dan Symons. As a licensed real estate instructor in 2 states, for over 40 years I have trained literally thousands of newly licensed and experienced agents. And yes, I teach that cold or warm calling is one of the basics of the business. Many are not making it in our profession because they are not doing the “basics”. I also preach that they need to develop the referral business by understanding that it is some what easier to close the sale when you can approach the potential seller or buyer with, “Mr. Jones, my name is and we have a mutual friend Fred and Mary… and I have helped them with their need to sell their home and they told me that I should give you a call because you had indicated that you were thinking about selling your home….” That is easier with a higher closing ratio that simply using the planned script. But I appreciated your comment.
Great tips Jim.
Personal connections make meeting new prospects so much easier. Have you read Joanne Black’s No More Cold Calling? She focuses on how to leverage those relationships more purposely with referrals. So powerful for real estate pros!