Karma Keys to a Referral-Based Business

13 Aug

With 15+ years of sales experience, often working for small companies with no brand recognition or large marketing budgets, I’ve learned that a repeatable process for selling is a must. At the beginning of the sales cycle, giving and getting referrals is key to my business. Cold calling is a necessary evil in sales but it’s less and less effective every day with caller-id and spam filters.

Many sales reps want to GET referrals or will only GIVE a referral if they get one in return. But the most successful referral-based sales reps, business owners and rainmakers know that giving referrals without expectation of one in return is the best course of action in the long term.

My Karma Keys to a Referral-based Business are –

* It’s better to give then receive

Yes, this seems counterintuitive for a sales person but try to give referrals without the expectation you’ll get one in return. That doesn’t preclude you from remembering who behaves the same way you do and networking with them more than others.

* Give referrals to enhance your reputation

Don’t give referrals just as a favor to the person asking for one. Instead, give a referral to enhance your reputation and trust with your colleague that you are making the referral TO. (Often known as the Giver’s Gain theory)

* Get referrals from Customers, Vendors & Sales Colleagues

Don’t limit asking for referrals from customers as your vendors and sales colleagues often have great connections they’d be happy to introduce you to.

* Reputation Matters

No surprise but the better your reputation, the more likely you are to get referrals and be asked for referrals. If you say you can give a referral, make sure that you follow through with that warm introduction. If you get a referral, treat your colleague’s contact with the utmost respect.

One Response to “Karma Keys to a Referral-Based Business”

  1. Michael Kreppein August 13, 2008 at 2:55 pm #

    Geoffrey James posted yesterday about networking to find new customers based on a conversation he had with Joanne Black.

    http://blogs.bnet.com/salesmachine/?p=413

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