Dr. Ivan Misner and Mike Macedonio
Truth or delusion? If you're getting all the referrals you need, you don't need to sell.
Delusion. Anybody who's experienced and successful in referral marketing will tell you that sales skills are absolutely required. They're needed in every part of the process—not only in closing the sale with the prospect.
First, you have to sell yourself to your potential referral source— she has to buy the concept that there's value in introducing you to someone she knows. A referral is not a guaranteed sale; it's the opportunity to do business with someone to whom you have been recommended. You still have to close the deal—most of the time. You have to make it clear that you know how to sell, that you can and will provide the products or services you are expected to provide, and that your customer will be happy with both the process and the result—which will reflect favorably on the provider of the referral. If you can't make that first "sale," your referral provider won't become your referral provider, because she won't be inclined to risk her relationship with the prospect. That is, she won't do her part to sell the referral.
Two separate doctoral studies, one from California in the early 1990s and one from Florida in 2006, found that approximately 34 percent of all business referrals turn into sales. This is an outstanding number, but it's still not 100 percent. Therefore, ...