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Get Your Referrals On A Silver Platter

By Al Simon
Sandler Sales Institute
Part 2 of 2

Do you know what these numbers represent?


Those are the national average percentages of securing an appointment with a possible prospect with a cold call (2-3%), a "warm" call (some kind of idea about who you are calling and why - 3-5%), a straight referral (someone gives you a name and number and says, "you should give this person a call, I think they might need what you offer" - 25-30%), and a personal introduction (40-60%).

So which would you rather have? Get the personal introduction! Here's how:

Set up the referral properly by asking your referral-giver to call the referral for you, telling him/her that you will be giving them a call soon. Then ask your referral-giver to call YOU when that's done, to let you know that your referral is awaiting your call. If you haven't heard from your referral-giver within a day or so, call and say "I was wondering if you've had a chance yet to call Jack Jones for me, as you said you would". The call will often be made within the hour.

Another way to set the referral up for yourself is to ask your referral-giver: "Judy, what impresses you most about Jack Jones?" Let's say Judy answers that Jack is a straight-forward, honest guy who always does what he says he will do. When you talk with Jack, say "Jack, our mutual acquaintance Judy says great things about you - that you are very honest and straight-forward. I've been looking forward to meeting you". Using this technique scores bonus points with Judy for you, while at the same time it helps you to establish a little rapport and trust with Jack.

Sometimes it pays to take a slightly different approach when talking with a prospect or client you know pretty well. It's called the Inner Circle, and it goes like this:

You: "Judy, if you were me, what 2 or 3 people you know should you be calling on?"

Judy: "Well, I don't know. I suppose David and Joyce would be good starters".

You: "David or Joyce, huh. Which would you call first?"

Judy: "Probably Joyce. Yes, I think Joyce would be the one I'd call first."

You: "Why is that?"

Judy: "She mentioned to me a few weeks ago she was looking for someone to do what your company offers".

You: "Great. Just curious, but why wouldn't you call David first?"

Judy: "Well, David would be a good possibility, but Joyce specifically mentioned your product (or service)"

You: "Thanks, Judy. Would you mind calling Joyce for me, and let her know that I will be giving her a call...."

See how simple these techniques can be? Yet many salespeople and business owners don't use them, even if they are routinely asking for referrals. Get personal invitations, and start eating off of the silver platter of choice referrals!

For part 1 of this series, click here.

Al Simon is President of Business Development Improvement, Inc., an authorized licensee of the Sandler Sales Institute ( or