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What Makes Referral Prospecting more Effective than Other Selling Approaches?

Referral essentially is the most effective method of selling. No other selling methodologies yield a higher closing rate than referral prospecting.

But what makes referral prospecting more effective than the other approaches?

Its effectiveness lies in the ability to leverage on the referrer’s standing and relationship. Just imagine that you are able to tap on the referrer’s relationship that he has build over many years with his circle of friends. With his endorsement, you would have immediately bypassed the many years that he has invested to cement the relationship and come out on a level footing with his friends. On top of that, you will be able to leverage on the referrer’s trust and judgement accorded by his friends; and immediately catapult yourself to a position of authority and credibility without putting in those years.  It would definitely be a huge bonus, if the referrer sits on the top of the pecking order amongst his circle of friends.

Taking a step back, the challenge is for the referrer to really ‘buy’ you! No reason for the referrer to endorse you or stake his goodwill and reputation on you unless you are really good or there is some mutually beneficial arrangement in place. Even in the latter situation, you still need to proof that you are good or your products and services are exceptional, before one would even considers having an ‘introducer’ arrangement in place.

To start with, you may practice on how to frame your referrer’s mind of the positive impression of you. Example, “Mr Referrer, what do you think of my services?” “If you agree that it is good, would you be willing to refer me your friends so that I may serve them as well?”

Useful Question to Frame the Referrer's Mind Follow-up Questions to Ask for Referrals
  • What do you think about me as a person?
  • What do you think about my professional services?
  • What do you think about the products that you have just bought?
  • What do you think about my presentation?
  • If you agree that I am / my services / my products are good, would you be willing to refer your friends to me?

Taking the assumption that you are already good in what you do, let’s look at an example of how you may leverage on your referrer’s network to expand your base. “Mr Referrer, who are your friends who look up to you or go to you for advice?”

Useful Questions to Ask Your Referrer to Secure Specific Referrals
  • Who are your friends who look up to you or go to you for advice?
  • When you throw a party, who are the business associates on your invitation list?
  • At your workplace, who are the co-workers who you usually lunch with? 
  • Who are your friends that are on your speed dial list?
  • Who are some friends who are in the same trade that might have use for simialr products or services?
  • Who do you know is using similar products?
  • When you participate in tradeshows, who are the regular faces (or participants) there?
  • Do you know anyone (or company) whose machinery / equipment is due for an upgrade?

In short, referral is more than just securing a name and contact details; it needs to come with your client’s strong endorsement and recommendations. Be sure to invest in your own development to professionalise your service, and also invest time with your referrer and nurture a relationship of trust and respect. And very soon, you will be reaping the fruits of your labour.

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