How to build a referral culture within your sales team [Interview]

As discussed in part 1 of the interview series with Mike Garrison, referral selling expert and President of Garrison Sales Consulting, building a referral culture requires leadership. But this includes leadership within individual departments. Here Trisha Winter, CMO of Amplifinity and Mike dive into how to develop a referral culture within sales in order to create a predictable referral selling system that grows revenue.

 

How to instill a referral culture within your sales team – Interview

Trisha: Hi, I’m Trish Winter, CMO of Amplifinity and today I’ve got Mike Garrison with me who is a business coach with a ton of referral selling expertise. Thank you for joining me today Mike.

Mike: Hey, it’s my pleasure. You know I hate talking.

Trisha: Oh yeah. So this is our second conversation. Last time we talked we were talking about  referral culture and why it’s such an important initiative top down at an organization. Today I really wanted us to dive into a particular department and that’s sales. Because that is usually the first thing that everybody thinks about when they think about referrals. It’s the salesperson asking for that referral. But let’s talk about what really a referral culture means to the sales department.

Mike: Sweet! I love sales. In fact I used to have a URL called I Love Sales Coaching.

Trisha: Really?

Mike: I have issues. I have like 30 domain names. I just keep buying them. It’s like my hobby. But anyways when you get down to the sales culture it’s not just about getting. Salespeople – you can’t be predators. In the new social and digital world your customers can and will vet you all along the referral pipeline and sales funnel. So understand that you can’t just be taking but also giving.  And I know that’s a challenge, but that’s what it get down to with salespeople, you can’t just care about the deal. If you’re still trying to sell product this is not going to work for you.

And you know, I was just thinking Trish about the video we did last time and how it’s so much about leadership. Leadership isn’t restricted to the C-level. Leadership is required in referrals because you’ve got at a minimum three people involved. You’ve got the salesperson, the referral source and the prospect. And the way that you create a referral culture as a salesperson is you stop thinking in terms of getting and you start thinking in terms of leading. Treat it like your own a mini organization. You have to start asking yourself a few questions. What is necessary for my career? What is necessary for me to be growth oriented in a sustainable way? You can’t be just running outside going hunting with a spear and stabbing something. You’ve got to think about farming too.

Trisha: So I totally love the concept of leadership within an individual salesperson. But let’s talk about the sales manager, that sales VP right?  You know if you’re truly going to embrace referrals as a culture, referrals is a strategy that the sales team is going to do. And by the way that we all know they need to do because traditional selling is not working. You can’t just dial a certain number of dials a day and expect that you’re going to break through the noise. You’ve got to get that warm introduction in order to do that. But how does a sales leader approach that with their team?

Mike: Great question. So here is some good news, if you work with Amplfiinity, you’re not going to get fired by having a referral based sales function because you’re going to have technology and automation which is going to create inbound stuff that you really want. Hey sales leaders, Amplifinity makes the marketing department your friend. So enough of the shameless plugs. I love it because I work at the top of the pipeline. That’s how you and I met. I was one of the people who was like, you guys are perfect. You take care of the inbound stuff and move referrals with the salespeople to the top of the pipeline.

So here is the good news sales managers – you’ve got to be a leader. Here’s the bad news – you’ve got to be a leader. And what that means is referrals can’t be based on emotions. You’re going to have to create or work with other folks like me and Trisha. You’re going to have to create systems that move your salespeople from referrals are a done deal to referrals are an introduction to a prospect that wouldn’t talk to me otherwise. And then you’re going to need to help the salespeople figure out how to move people through a buyer’s journey without hard selling them on product. So while it’s not easier, the bright side is you may have just discovered the #1 secret to job security as a sales manager. That means all of a sudden you get to do what you’re best at – coaching your salespeople. They’re going to need it and appreciate it, and you’re going to be profitable. But we got to eliminate emotion as the reason people refer because it’s not true.

Trisha:  I completely agree. And fundamentally there’s also the aspect of making sure you’re driving the right behavior in your team.

Mike: Absolutely!

Trisha: But you still have to have accountability and metrics and measurement.  And one of my favorite things that I’ve observed sales leadership within a referral culture do is assign ownership. And this is a concept you can track within your CRM.  You assign ownership between that sales rep and that referral source.

Mike: You have to.

Trisha: And when you do you can measure and drive the sales team to certainly recruiting more referral sources but also asking on a regular basis in the right way, doing a give-get with those referral sources to drive those high-quality leads in and even routing those leads back to the sales rep that owns it to organically  incentivize your team and help to build that referral culture. That way you are saying that if you treat this referral source – customer, partner, influencer, whoever that person is, if you treat them well and they refer someone who might not be in your territory or you might not be up next in the round robin or whatever your lead routing rules are, you say they are referring them because they like the relationship they have with me as the salesperson. So because of it that’s going to come right back to me, that’s a great way a sales leader can set up a system to organically motivate their team to build this referral strategy and referral culture.

Mike: I could not agree more. And I would say that the importance of it goes beyond what you just said. A real referral culture makes sure that you’re never taking all the time. That you’re giving. And if you do the traditional round robin and take the referrals and have them handled by other sales reps that the referral sources don’t know, two horrible things happen. One, you make communication more complex. That’s not profitable. Just think about what you’re doing. You’re demanding more and more communication from a diverse network. It’s not effective.

The second thing is that you’re dramatically restricting the ability of your sales reps, the marketing team, and the customer experience team to develop the kind of insight that will drive giving referrals. Right?

That’s why I love Amplifinity. With their referral software they can automate so much of the easy stuff and predict the surprises so the sales team can focus on the high level relationship development. Which, no slam against marketing, but the people that aren’t in the market won’t respond but they will always respond to a peer. That’s how you get those appointments you would never get otherwise. I’m not talking about dials. I’m talking about appointments. And this is where sales leadership comes in. It is not good enough to just get referrals. Those referrals need to result in appointments. And maybe not selling appointments traditionally where you’re selling your product, but if your referrals aren’t resulting in at least a phone call or conversation then they might need some work. And here’s the good news sales leaders, you can do this.

Trisha: Absolutely. I think this is so critical. I preach to my sales team all the time. Guys I don’t pick up my phone anymore. I don’t even look at prospecting emails that come through. You can’t reach me that way. And this is just a fact of life at this point in time which means that sales folk and marketers need to approach this in a different way. And I think the beauty of going back to the way it has always been done for eons is I’m going to trust something because I have a peer – a trusted adviser, making a recommendation to me.

Mike: It is almost like this has been going on for thousands of year. It is crazy right?

Trisha: Oh yeah!

Mike: So I’ve got a little hint. You ready?

Trisha: Yeah

Mike: This is a new one for you. Okay, so, how many of your sales reps in your career have nurtured a relationship with you to get referrals from you?

Trisha: ZERO!

Mike: That is so stupid!

Trisha: Yes!

Mike: Right, so here’s the referral culture sale leaders. Sit down with the marketing department and find out who they are and what they’re about. They’re building relationships all the time. And if you’re a salesperson at Amplifinity . . . (shake head) why wouldn’t you as sales leaders develop a relationship with the people who are best suited to message and interact with those at the top of the pipeline? Why aren’t you getting referrals from the best people in the organization? I think we all know why. It is because you have labeled them into the inbound side. You’ve decided that they don’t know how to sell. That is all caca.

Trisha: Yeah.

Mike: I’m just saying if you’re not getting referrals, not leads, referrals. If you’re not getting referrals from the marketing department shame on you.

Trisha: I definitely think that if we’re advising sales and sales leadership on how to build a referral culture in sales that taking your head of marketing out to lunch having a real conversation about how you align together on driving a referral strategy is absolutely a top of the list thing for a sales leader to do.

Mike: And that all good. But that person has to network. I would be asking them for referrals.

Trisha: Absolutely.

Mike: If you don’t you’re an idiot. CEOs . . . you can’t have that. Those two people should be doing referrals back and forth. I know it happens at Amplifinity.

Trisha: It does. And I think fundamentally as we all begin to own the revenue objective for the company, and back to when we were talking about the CEO. The CEO needs ever single executive in every single department to be owning the revenue objective. And as soon as you embrace that and the different executive titles start asking, ‘What can I do?’, you’ll notice the people in your network that you are connected to that are fits for target buyers that you are all aiming your quivers at.

Mike: I’ve got one more. Are you ready for it?

Trisha: Yeah, go for it.

Mike: If you’re a sales leader and you and your sales team aren’t connected on every social channel with everyone is marketing and customer experience, you’re a double idiot.

Trisha: True. So let me sum up the key points we’ve been talking about here as far as driving a referral culture within sales:

  • Fundamentally there’s got to be an attitude of give-get not an old school predatory attitude.
  • Sales leadership has to really think about driving to different metrics. Not about dials-a-day but rather meaningful conversations that are driving referrals into meetings but still metrics.
  • Ensure that you consider lead-routing and what that means so you are preserving that relationship and the fruit of that relationships. The meetings with those prospects need to be handled in the right way as opposed to switching it over to a third party.
  • Certainly there is an entire set of employees out there within your organization that can help you to build your referral network and that can help you to drive interest and activity.
  • And of course align with marketing which is something I would like to talk to you next time we are together. It is going to be a key step for any sales leader. This is a great way to align and together show that marketing and sales are working together to drive their revenue objective

Did I sum that up okay?

Mike: Yep. That’s awesome!

Trisha: Wonderful! Well, until next time when we will dive into marketing’s role in building a referral culture. Thanks so much Mike!

Mike: Thanks Trisha! Take care.

 

Resources with link to to resource page with referral program ideas

How to build a referral culture in your company [Interview]

There has been a lot of talk about driving revenue growth through predictable referrals and the impact it has on a business. But figuring out how to successfully implement it can be difficult.  In a recorded interview, Trisha Winter, CMO of Amplifinity talks to Mike Garrison, President of Garrison Sales Consulting, about how to start to build a referral culture within and across your company.

The process of building a referral culture in your company – Interview

Trisha: Hello, I’m Trisha Winter, CMO of Amplifinity and today I’m interviewing Mike Garrison, business coach with referral sales expertise. Really excited to talk to you today, Mike. Thanks for joining me.

Mike: You’re very welcome.

Trisha: So Mike, I’ve heard you talk before. I know that when you’re working with your clients and coaching them on what it means to get referrals predictably in a business I’ve heard you mention referral culture. So tell me a little about what you mean by that.

Mike: When I think about referral culture I’m not looking at how you just get referrals but the entire system from every single employee in the organization – CEO to mail room clerk. How does every single person not only play a role, but play a role you can leverage for predictable sales. I say predictable referral system but really it’s about can you forecast the sales results, and you can. And so referral culture is how you look at the entire way you interact with prospects and clients. Not when you are just thinking about how you can get results right now. For example, for CEOs leadership is everything when you’re considering the concept of referral culture. As a CEO you have to look at the culture of your organization and see whether it supports or it doesn’t support referrals on a continuous predictable basis.

Trisha: Got it. So truly why is a CEO thinking about this or should they be thinking about building a referral culture? I get where you are probably talking to the VP of Sales and working through this but what brings this on the radar of a CEO?

Mike: The right kind of CEO it works for are those that are about leadership and about sustainable growth. This means those that are really responsible for the best long-term interests of an organization. Everyone that is in business knows that referrals win. Nothing is better than a referral. So, the question becomes if referrals are really that valuable how can you make them the cornerstone? Not the only way you do business but the cornerstone. And in all of my year of working with sales teams, which is too many to admit to, the #1 thing that makes or breaks sales is the referral culture.

When I went out to visit Amplifinity, even though all you do is referrals, it was immediately apparent that everyone in the business was invested in and interested in customer success and the long-term growth of the company. That is what I’m talking about. A CEO has got to be thinking about how to make sure that six months from now, a year from now, two years from now, three years from now that we can be not only successful but unique. Branding is everything in a social world. A referral culture sets the standard from marketing experts like yourself, for the people that answer the phones, for every person that interacts or impacts the interaction with customers to add or detract from the culture of the business and especially referral culture.

Trisha: And I completely agree but I think that is very different way of thinking. As an executive thinks about their business and approaches revenue growth they’re looking in a very siloed way at sales and marketing, maybe the channel organization to say, okay we’ve got to drive revenue growth. They’re not thinking about it as every single employee in the company has a role in this and that role may be very different from one department to another. But truly it is a growth culture by being a referral culture. I think that is very new.

How would a CEO even approach this?

Mike: Well, one of the way they could approach it is read a book called Raving Fans by Ken Blanchard. This talks about how even the most commoditized of businesses can get referrals. Now I’ll remind you this is before social media. But this is where referral culture started to stick for me. I read that book and it talked about how a gas station, car driver and a grocery store could create raving fans from their customers. And have spectacular growth even within heavily commoditized industries.

And so from the CEO perspective, if you really want referrals, and we know you do, whether you’re ADP or Joe the plumber, instead of listening to all the people that come out and talk out tactics here and tactics there you need to teach customers and partner or whoever to give referrals which is what my training offers.

Trisha: So if you were to coach a CEO on how to build this referral culture within their organization where would you tell them to start?

Mike: I would first ask them all the standard questions that coaches ask. But when you get down to it the fundamental core conversation I would have with that CEO is how can we make your business better. A referral culture isn’t how we can make money, it’s about how can we make it better. And then I would ask that person to start getting face-to-face with as many employees from as many different sectors as possible. Silos kill referral culture. Talk to your employees and ask how you can make it better.

Trisha: Got it. So a big thing we find at Amplifinity when people are looking to get that revenue growth and looking to really build referral programs that together build a channel for predictably driving inbound, high quality leads, is the idea it’s really a tightly aligned program between sales and marketing and often even customer success. I don’t know of any other type of initiative that really goes cross departments to align the goals of these typically siloed departments. Is that part of what you are talking about in building the culture?

Mike: Well it is a whole system. You have to look at every aspect. Like technology within marketing and sales, especially in larger companies, your CTOs and technology experts have got to be involved because you’ve got to leverage relationships not only face-to-face but across networks. Now-a-days, referral culture requires technology. In order for you to be able to get enough business consistently you’ve got to have resources and you’ve got to have ways of communicating effectively. It’s not like you have to do this all face-to-face, you can leverage great technology like Amplifinity referral software. You’ve got the bedrock of a referral culture which can bring referrals in with the technology that create predictable revenue. The only way you can do that predictably is software like Amplifinity. You cannot predict the human-to-human relationship unless you can get back up to the top of the funnel. Let human beings do the hard relationship development of prospects that aren’t in the market and then use technology to leverage these relationships you already have with customers to have these surprise referrals not be surprises any more. That only works with technology. And when you talk about a CEO, that CEO has got to have a vision of a complete system so that they can make sure they don’t spend money on the wrong things.

But when you get down to it, if the CEO lives and breathes referral culture it will bring in HR as well. You will hire differently when you have a real referral culture. Good news is that the younger generation are really inclined toward these thing. These folks seem to be really oriented toward relationships. As CEO, long-term I would be trying to leverage these people’s predilection toward developing a relationship.

Trisha: Absolutely! So in future conversations I would really love to dive into the different departments like marketing, sales and the standard employee and what their role would be in this referral culture. But overall this was a great conversation. Here are a few point we touched on:

  • Referrals need to be a priority on the CEOs radar because it is what they can do to break through the noise.
  • Referrals allow CEOs to really change up the way they’re thinking about driving revenue to make it predictable and truly give them a way to meet the growth objective they’re driving toward.
  • It’s not just about deciding to buy a certain technology. While it is an important foundational part of it, it is really about driving a change within the organization across departments. Here we can make sure everyone is playing their role in thinking about driving growth for the company which can be done through the smallest changes in attitude, how they talk to customer and partners. This is something a CEO needs to be driving across departments by working with each department moving forward.

Does that sum it up well?

Mike: I’d say so.

Trisha: Okay. Well thank you so much for talking with me today Mike and I look forward to talking to you next time about sales and what sales can do to help build a referral culture.

In the meantime, explore the Amplifinity resource library to keep learning how to build your referral culture.

6 referral-selling killers

Originally published on June 29, on Salesforce.com/blog

Brad had a “problem.” He had more referrals than he could handle. (Is there really such a thing?) Using a homegrown program, he’d booked more business in one quarter than in the entire previous year.

“I have about 200 referrals since working with you, and I literally cannot keep up with the volume,” he told me. “I plan to catch up next quarter. Right now my staff and I need a breather.” Brad’s advice for sales leaders: When you commit to referral selling, you get what you ask for, so get your team ready to service your new referral business.

John faced a similar challenge when he decided to go on a “referral tour” and meet with his clients. He’d been depending on his consultants to ask for referrals, and (surprise, surprise) they almost never did. Throughout the tour, John expanded business with his existing clients, who then introduced him to their connections. By the time he returned to the office, he had more new business than he’d ever imagined.

John now makes it a priority to ask for referrals—and to ensure his team knows how to do so—and he continues to receive introductions to prospects that know his value and actually want to talk to him. John’s advice: “You’d better have the infrastructure in place to support all of the referrals you’ll receive.” To help his team organize and follow up on all the great leads, John is now researching referral automation platforms that integrate with Salesforce.

Referrals Don’t Manage Themselves

Want to have Brad and John’s problem? Simply tap into the business opportunities your team has been leaving on the table.

Referral selling eclipses any other business-development strategy. When you implement a strategic referral program, you:

  • Double your sales force without adding to your payroll
  • Penetrate prime accounts with personal introductions to exactly the decision-makers your sales reps want to meet
  • Get only qualified meetings at the level that counts
  • Ace out the competition and seal the deal
  • Convert prospects to clients more than 50 percent of the time

Yet, few companies have a disciplined, systematic process to build referral skills for their teams, and to create solid metrics that ensure accountability for results.

6 Barriers to Referral Success

Implementing a referral process sounds simple in theory, but it’s easier said than done. Here are the challenges—or better put, the excuses—that can derail your best referral intentions:

1. “Other things took precedence in my business.”

Really? That means you haven’t truly committed to referral selling. You still think it would be great if referrals just happened. You don’t have the guts, the will, and the resolve to put a stake in the ground. What’s more important than getting new, qualified clients for your company?

2. “My reps forget to ask.”

Do they “forget” because they’re still not comfortable asking? Or because you haven’t incorporated referrals into your sales process? Either way, you have a choice. You can continue to let them “forget,” or you can put a process in place to ensure they remember, with rewards for referral success.

3. “I’m way too busy to track referrals and make sure my reps follow up.”

Some say that salespeople are lazy. Wrong! We just have tons of balls in the air, and they get dropped from time to time. We need tools to simplify our processes, accelerate customer acquisition, and ensure customer retention and loyalty. Sales doesn’t want the operational hassle of managing a referral program at scale. That’s why we need referral automation software that helps remind reps to follow through, extend their relationships with customers, and ask for more referrals.

4. “My salespeople don’t have enough time to implement their referral plans.”

Salespeople bemoan that referral selling takes too long. They believe dialing for dollars builds their pipelines faster. No way! Referrals do take time. Salespeople have to reach out to their networks, actually talk to them, and meet with people in person. But considering the dismal success rates of cold calling, and the 50-plus-percent conversion rate of referred prospects, what’s the problem here?

5. “My team hasn’t identified enough people.”

If your salespeople haven’t identified enough referral sources, they haven’t identified everyone they know. Their job is not to evaluate whether people would be great referral sources. Their job is to get their contact lists together. Your job as a sales leader is to help them understand that everyone knows someone, and referrals often come from the most unexpected places.

6. “I haven’t set specific metrics for referrals.”

Maybe you’re afraid to be accountable for leading referral success? If you don’t establish specific referral metrics, you’re off the hook for coaching your team to success with a new prospecting system. But more than likely, you just aren’t sure what referral metrics look like.

Keep your metrics simple. Set too many, and you’ll confuse people. You could create metrics for the number of referral introductions reps will ask for each week, how many referral meetings they’ll conduct, the number of new clients you expect them to bring in through referrals and in what timeframe, or increases in revenue and profit.

A referral automation platform helps you set goals and track performance. It also helps your team manage follow-up, track referral activities, and enroll customers and colleagues in your referral program. This takes the pressure off reps and guarantees a dependable and measurable referral process, which is half the battle.  The other half is ensuring reps know how to leverage their referral networks and ask in a way that gets results.

Referral Selling Is a Complete Shift

Like any new way of working, a successful transition to referral selling is common sense but not common practice. It seems easy, but it takes work—including regular feedback and coaching to help your team learn and grow.

Clarity is essential. Stay focused on your referral-selling strategy. What is the cost of NOT executing your plan? When you can answer that question—for yourself and for your team—then referrals are yours for the taking.

But first, you must let go of your sacred cows—the way you used to prospect. There are many traps that can undermine your best intentions to build a referral business. But to successfully shift your sales team to referral selling means integrating referral activities into your sales process and making it your #1 priority. And that all starts with you—the sales leader.

The faster you transition to referral selling, the more introductions you’ll receive, and the faster your revenue will soar. Remember Brad and John’s problem? It could be yours.

 

What is brand advocacy?

3 ways to kick start your referrals into overdrive

Originally published in Sales and Marketing Management, April 20, 2015.

 What’s the best way to reach my prospects? How do I get past the gatekeeper? How many touches do I need before talking with someone? What do I do when the prospect’s assistant wants to put me into voicemail?

Sales leaders are constantly bombarded with these questions, because getting meetings with target prospects is the #1 business-development challenge for most sales reps. Some sales managers say to keep calling. Others tell their teams to send emails or to connect with prospects on LinkedIn. The latest advice is retro: snail mail.

They’re ignoring the only prospecting strategy that guarantees buyers will talk to salespeople—referral selling.

 

The Ticket to the C-Suite

Sales leaders want their reps to score essential meetings—preferably at the executive level, but at least with someone responsible for the P &L of a business unit. However, getting meetings at that level is a significant struggle for most sales teams. Why? Because executives don’t take cold calls, and neither do their gatekeepers. Those receptionists or administrative assistants will shut salespeople down without a second thought.

When you receive introductions from people your prospects know and trust, they will always take your calls. No duplicitous gatekeeper tactics, no wasting time with a barrage of phone calls and emails. The so-called gatekeepers will become your allies. They will put your call through because their bosses actually want to talk to you.

Research has shown the two main reasons executives take sales calls are:

 

  1. A referral from someone within their companies
  2. A referral from a trusted source outside their companies

 

(Source: Selling to the C-Suite, Nicholas A.C. Read and Stephen J. Bistritz, Ed.D., 2009)

LinkedIn surveyed 1,500 B2B purchasers/influencers at the director level or above, asking about their likelihood of engaging with a salesperson. These decision makers said they want to work with sales reps who possess thought leadership, reach out through personal connections, and share industry knowledge.

3 Ways to Kick Start your Referrals into OverdriveA 2014 social selling study by LinkedIn and IDC also revealed:

 

  • 2 percent of buyers prefer to work with vendors they know or who have been recommended to them by people they know.
  • 73 percent prefer to work with sales professionals who have been referred to them by people they know.

Case made.

 

Building Your Referral Business

 The business case for referrals is clear. Yet, 95 percent of organizations don’t have a written referral-selling strategy, written weekly referral goals, referral-selling skills training, or a disciplined system to track and measure results.

Achieving referral-selling success means adopting it as a strategic initiative for your company. Like anything worth doing, it’s not just point and click. It includes three essential components: Strategy, Skills, and Implementation.

 

1. Referral Strategy Development

Referral selling becomes the primary outreach for attracting new customers. This doesn’t mean other sales initiatives go away. (Well, maybe cold calling.) You’ve already built a foundation: You have an optimized website, measurable marketing campaigns, and a social media plan. But when it comes to salespeople bringing in their own qualified leads, referral selling is front and center.

Referral selling must be driven from the top so the entire organization understands that referrals are the way you do business. It’s the responsibility of everyone in the company to contribute to the referral initiative, regardless of whether they have “sales” in their title.

Adopting a referral-selling strategy to accelerate business means transitioning to a new way of working. This doesn’t happen overnight, and it requires some legwork from sales leaders to get up and running, including:

 

  • Integrating referrals into your workflow
  • Ensuring both sales and marketing plans include referral selling
  • Setting referral sales goals for salespeople, sales teams, and the entire company
  • Setting customer acquisition goals to define the types of customers you want to attract
  • Establishing reward and recognition activities for salespeople and other employees who bring in referrals
  • Implementing software to track successful referrals to the customers who made them
  • Determining how you will evaluate the success of your referral program

 

2. Skills Building

Transitioning to referral selling is a behavior change. It requires focused skills development and ongoing practice to achieve proficiency.  Salespeople must learn how to:

 

  • Position themselves as thought leaders
  • Articulate the business impact of their solutions
  • Identify and describe their ideal clients
  • Integrate all these talking points into asking for referral introductions

 

3. Implementation

Investing in a referral program and/or referral automation software is a good place to start. But that alone will not get the results you seek. Studies have shown that adults forget 87 percent of what they learn if there’s no reinforcement or assessment of skills learned, and no measurement of success.

Once your team has the skills to ask for referrals, and you’ve implemented your carefully-crafted referral process, keep the momentum alive with consistent, proactive, and disciplined coaching with accountability for results.

Why is coaching important? Take any sports analogy you want. Top performers have coaches. Why do we need trainers at the gym? All the equipment is there. Trainers serve three main purposes. They:

 

  • Demand we show up and be accountable for getting results
  • Fine-tune our workouts
  • Push us to achieve even more

 

The same is true in business, but we frequently shortcut the process. We say we don’t have time to coach and follow up on new skills. We pound our sales teams to make their numbers with endless calls and emails. The velocity increases as we get closer to quarter-end and year-end. After all, when our teams make their numbers, we make ours.

What if you stopped this vicious cycle and relied on the only business-development strategy that converts prospects into clients more than 50 percent of the time? You would have more time for coaching, because your team’s sales pipelines would be full of qualified prospects who actually want to talk to them.

What steps will you take to create a referral program that sticks? What steps will you take to establish a formal referral coaching program? The time is now.

Continue the conversation with Joanne Black on Twitter @ReferralSales

Photo Credit: Freedigitalphotos.net

What is brand advocacy?