Guest post Monday brings us Joanne Black, a leading authority on referrals and author of No More Cold Calling.

A Nielsen poll stated that 90 percent of consumers trust peers, and less than 10 percent trust an unknown source.

Cold calling is perceived a lot like phone spam.

If customers want information, they will search you out or at least leave digital breadcrumbs of questions or conversations that you can find and then engage.

Selling is based on trust and you can spend the time (a lot of it) building it with people who have never heard from you, or you can take the leap and work with prospects who want to talk to you. Really!

There’s No Such Thing As a Warm Call

Here’s my definition of a cold call: You call a person who does not know you and does not expect your call.  It doesn’t matter how much research you conduct, or the amount of sales intelligence you collect; if you have just a name in hand, your call is cold.

The cold calling conversion rate is less than 10 percent, which puts you in the “dialing for dollars” league. You are wasting time, and who has time to waste?

Referral Selling Delivers

Compare cold calling to referral sales. When you receive a referral introduction you:

  • Arrive pre-sold—the prospect knows who you are and actually wants to meet you
  • Gain trust and credibility—the most difficult thing for salespeople to garner
  • Shorten your sales process—and spend more time working with great clients
  • Ace-out the competition—while others are still figuring out who the decision maker is
  • Incur no hard costs—just a small amount of change for coffee or a meal
  • Convert prospects to clients more than 50% of the time—and most likely 70 to 90%

Your Referral Source Wants to Help

Everyone I know becomes part of my Referral Network. And the people who know the people I want to meet become my Referral Sources.

These Referral Sources are the (really cool) people who offer to introduce me—to provide a personal introduction. The introduction can be by phone, email or in person.

Your Referral Source (your mutual connection) must reach out to your desired contact first and verify that it’s OK for you to contact them.

Too many of us ask for referrals through technology alone (email, LinkedIn, etc.)—leaving your Referral Source with very little information. Plus, you miss the opportunity to reach out and reconnect.

With a little “instruction” you can empower your Referral Source to introduce you. Teach them how to introduce you. Provide them with answers to these critical questions:

  • What business issues do you solve?
  • What is the function of your Ideal Client? (CEO, VP, IT, Marketing)
  • In what industry or geography do you work?
  • What size company is your sweet spot?

Want to gain traction with your referrals? Always reconnect before you ask for the referral introduction. Don’t rely on technology alone to boost your referrals. And don’t cold call. Remember, people do business with people, and referrals are based on a trusted relationship.

Get Started

Join Joanne Black’s Complimentary Turn Cold to Gold Webinar on Wednesday, October 12. Learn why Joanne says there’s no such thing as a warm call and that no one (yes, no one) should ever have to make a cold call.

Take a deep dive into referral selling and learn the 5 steps to run your referral business and increase your conversion rate to more than 70 percent — every time. Register now for Turn Cold to Gold.

Joanne S. Black is a captivating speaker and innovative seminar leader. She works with sales executives, business owners, and their teams to increase revenue while decreasing their cost of sales. Joanne is the author of NO MORE COLD CALLING™: The Breakthrough System That Will Leave Your Competition in the Dust from Warner Business Books. Contact Joanne at joanne@nomorecoldcalling.com or 415-461-8763. Visit www.NoMoreColdCalling.com. Get Joanne’s Back in the Black Newsletter and receive your Referral I.Q. Quiz—your checklist to build a referral business.

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