Unless you are brand new to sales, everyone would much rather work a referral versus to work a lead. Some sales people do that all so loved cold call for leads. A lot of sales people buy leads. There are no shortages of lead companies, but there does seem to be a big shortage of lead quality. It seems the lower the price of the lead, usually the lower the quality. What I mean by quality, is not the fact the lead was in the market for the product or service, but rather you were one of MANY salespeople to buy that lead and it’s a race to the finish. The prospect is usually inundated with scores of calls and not very pleasant to speak to unless you were first. Sound familiar? So why not work referrals? For most salespeople, this is one of their biggest weaknesses. How do I receive a steady flow of referrals? This is the secret of working smart and not working hard.
Obviously, you should ask friends, family, clients and acquaintances for anyone they know in the market for your product or service. Is it really that easy? Let’s explore why this works for great salespeople and not at all for the not so good sales people.
When it comes to being referred, you will fall into three categories of where you stand with the referral source. The first category is visibility. Simply put, they know who you are and may know what you do, but that’s about it. If you sell health insurance, the source may not know that you sell life insurance or disability insurance. It’s 100% up to you to educate your referral source, not theirs. You must also educate them on how to bring you up in conversation or what phrases to listen for in order to be referred.
The second category is creditability. Just because the referral source knows who you are is not enough. They need to know you are trustworthy. Do you do what you say you’ll do, when you say you’ll do it? Do you under promise and over deliver? You can be well known, but if you are not credible, you will not get enough referrals to ever matter. Building credibility takes time and effort in order to have a strong referral source.
The last category is the most important, profitability. If you have a good referral source that you are both visible and creditable with, how can this become profitable? Meaning how can this person constantly flow business my way? Again, this takes time and commitment. If you live your life with a giving philosophy, this can be easier than you realize. If I spend time helping you grow your business, then psychologically you will want to reciprocate and help me build my business. This is the mantra of BNI, Givers Gain. BNI is an organization I would highly recommend for any salesperson, insurance agent or business owner looking to grow their business. If you are in the car insurance business and you wanted to increase your underage drivers. Wouldn’t it be great to have a profitable relationship with a driver’s education teacher?
I will trade 50 “leads” for a good referral everyday. Stop working hard and start working smart today.
“If hard work were such a wonderful thing, surely the rich would have kept it all to themselves”.–Lane Kirkland
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Tim Wilhoit is owner/principal of Your Friend 4 Life Insurance Agency in Nashville, TN. He is a family man, father of 3, entrepreneur, insurance agent, life insurance broker, salesman, sales trainer, recruiter, public speaker, blogger and team leader with over 25 years of experience in sales and marketing in the insurance and beverage industries.