A couple of weeks ago a referral came my
way and it wasn’t exactly the right fit for my firm, but I dropped what I was
doing and made the call anyway. I took time to talk with the referral about
their concerns, issues and pain points. Yep, it wasn’t the best fit for my
firm, but I took a fair amount of time to help guide them. And, when I wrapped up
the call, I immediately sent a thank you email to the person who made the
referral. One of my sales team members asked rather matter-of-factly: why did
you drop what you were working on to waste your time?
Well my friends, that says a lot about
my now former sales rep, because clearly he did not grasp this concept (along with
others – ie former) which goes to the core of being an ‘A’ level sales person.
Referrals, good and bad, should be worshiped. You should drop everything you
are doing and at the very least make the call. Why take them so seriously?
Referrals, unsolicited referrals, say
more about you and your company than any other piece of sales or marketing
materials you may possess including testimonials or quotes on your website. The
referral is the purest compliment anyone can pay you and it should be, as I
said above, worshipped. It should be valued above all other leads you are
working on at that moment. You have someone that is speaking on your behalf
because they believe you can help them, help their friend or client, ultimately
saying “I trust you enough to put you in the position of representing me the
referrer”. When someone offers you a referral they are putting themselves out
there as well. They are putting their own name and reputation on the line. That
trust is the golden lead sales people seek to find every minute of every day.
So why drop what you’re doing, couldn’t they wait a bit? Again, novice
Dropping what you are doing tells two
stories. The first is to the person making the referral. It tells them that
they are important to you. You are grateful for their trust. You take them
seriously and appreciate what they are doing for you. The second story is for
the person for whom you’ve been referred. It tells them you take their referral
seriously. You respect the person making the referral enough to make them a
priority. And, if you make them a priority it will translate into future trust
and mutual respect with this new contact.
Referrals don’t always work out. Not
every sales lead, regardless of how you obtain them, works out in the form of
new business. But, let’s not be mistaken, referrals typically lean more towards
a win than a loss. When others, clients or friends, make a referral they are
testifying to you as a trusted advisor, a quality person, a caring sales
representative who is not in it for a quick sale, rather you are in it to help
turn whatever the issue may be into a successful outcome.