Last week, we published The Art of Referrals (Part 1). If you haven’t gotten a chance to read it yet, click here.

Now, we’re going to delve even further into this important selling skill.

How to Ask for a Referral

Knowing what to say is half the battle.  First, qualify for their interest in referring people to you.  Here are some ways to do that.

  • “How do you feel about helping me grow my business?”
  • “How do you feel about helping me tell my story to people who might have an interest in what I do?”
  • “I want to build my business through referrals.  I have a goal for the quarter to secure ten new clients through referrals.  If I can help you so it takes very little time and you are confident that I will represent you well, would you be willing to help me?”

 Asking “who do you know…?” (an open-ended question) as opposed to “do you know anyone …” (closed-end question) is a far more effective way to get referrals. 

Here are a few options.

  • “Who do you know who would benefit from my product or service?”
  • “Who do you know that has plans for the future that require what I do?”
  • “Who do you know that is facing the same kinds of challenges that you are?”

Your Ideal Client Profile

Salespeople will experience more success if they can be specific when asking people for referrals.  After all, it’s easier for the referring source if you can take the guesswork out of referrals.  If you can clearly describe the title of the Key Player or company you are looking for, your referring source will find it easier to focus on someone that fits your ideal profile.  This will result in better quality referrals, and more of them.

Finally, Give More to Get More

Referring should not be a one-sided activity.  The more referrals you give, the more you will get.  There should always be something in it for your referring source. 

Try to provide them with referrals in return.  Make a point of asking your clients whom they would like to be introduced to and see if you can help them.

You might provide a reward such as lunch or small token of appreciation.

Mastering the art of the referral is a proven way to effectively build your sales pipeline without having to rely on cold calls. Do you have referral techniques that have helped you build your business? If so, we’d love to hear about them. Send emails to john@drive-revenue.com.