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Peak Performance Management, Inc. | Pittsburgh, PA

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As salespeople, we're leaving 60% of possible referrals and introductions on the table. It's the 20-60-20 rule.

20% of your clients or customers refer even without you asking them, and that's tremendous. 20% won't refer, even if they're happy. They're just not wired to refer. It's that movable middle. The 60% and we're not getting those referrals and introductions. For two reasons:

One, we're not asking. We're not asking because of head-trash. We fear that somehow we are imposing upon the relationship.

Two, when we ask, we ask poorly. We're asking poorly, only by saying something like, "Do you know anybody?" or "Who do you know?"

To be better at asking for referrals, we need to be able to turn it into a meaningful conversation with your customer. To have a productive referral conversation, you need to understand there's a value transition; if you provided that value, you must transition off of that to get a referral or introduction.

If you've provided value, but they've not stated it, ask your customer, "Has this been helpful?"

When they say, "Sure it has." You should begin to have the referral conversation.

It sounds like this, "If you're open-minded, what I'd like to do is spend a little time with you to brainstorm people who are in your circle, in your network, who may be open-minded to learning about the kinds of things we do, are you comfortable with that?"

When your customer says, "Sure!”

You then say, “Would it be helpful if I painted a picture of the two to three types of people or customers who typically are a good fit?"

That's the key to getting to the 60. Brainstorming to create a short list by tapping into key characteristics, attributes, so that your referrer can begin to think and put imagines in their mind of people who fit that criteria.

Ultimately, one of the things you're able to ask, once you create that short list is, "If you were me, in my position, who would you reach out to first?"

When your customer gives you a name you ask, “Why do you say that person? When was the last time you spoke with them? Would you be comfortable introducing me?”

After they answer, continue by saying, “My experience is, people like this often get a lot of phone calls, and they may be more comfortable if they knew that you and I were working together. Is that something you'll be open to."

By doing this, you are effectively coaching your customer how to make the referral.

It's a 20-60-20. Let's get that moveable middle. We're leaving 60% of our introductions and referrals on the table. <

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