Sales Coach Christine Harrington

Struggling to Get Referrals? Here’s Why

If you hate cold calling, you’ll love this article!


Because this article answers the million dollar question that can generate over a million dollars in business if you’d simply ask for referrals!

Why is asking for referrals not a part of your selling discipline? Why are account based selling teams avoiding referrals?

Struggling to get referrals? Here’s why.

In this article, you’ll learn 3 obstacles that stand in your way.

#1 Call Reluctance (Fear of Rejection, laziness, or both!)

Here’s the reality…most sales people and account managers (you too) fight with call reluctance, even with clients they actually know and like.

Why? Because it’s easier to hide behind emails.

I’d be a billionaire by now if I got a dollar for every time a salesperson said to me in a coaching session when asked

Me: “Why didn’t you just pick up the phone and call?”

Salesperson “Well, if I called, I’d probably get Voice Mail. It’s just easier to send an email.”

That’s plain laziness, with no strategy.

Then what about the elephant in the room regarding rejection fear?

Most account based selling pro’s would rather cold call than ask for referrals.


Because dialing a cold call list is impersonal. You have no connection and certainly no relationship with the person you’re dialing. So if they hang up on you…no biggie…you just mark them off your list and move to the next phone number.

Referral calling is totally different. Someone thought highly of you to offer an introduction into their world of business relationships. Now you must make a good first impression. You can’t be cavalier about this referral call like you were when cold calling.

You may stress about..

-If I ask my client for a referral and he says NO…now what? I look like an idiot because that means he doesn’t trust me or see my value.

-Does asking my client for a referral imply my business is suffering, and I’m begging for a crumb?

-Should I ask my client to do something for me?

These are all stressors I’ve heard during coaching sessions. However, my own experience has been that people actually like connecting other like-minded people who can help each other. The introduction is a credible resource, saves the other person time and helps solve a need with a referred trusted advisor. It’s a win/win.

#2 Referral Selling Isn’t Your Priority

You have a process in place for selling. What priority should referral selling take in your sales process? The answer…it should be your FIRST priority.

Right now, you’re sitting on a gold mine called clients. Referral selling is the fastest way to increase your sales in as little as 30 days. Yes, it can be that quick but you must commit to transitioning to referral selling.

Think of it this way…Who are your top 25 clients? If at the bare minimum you ask each of your top 25 clients for 1 referral, you could have 25 warm introductions over the next 30 days. When was the last time you self-generated 25 warm leads in 30 days? Maybe never! 

Now..what if you asked your top 25 clients for 2 referrals?

Now you’ve doubled your warm leads.

This is why referral selling should be your number 1 priority. And if you’re struggling to find the right words, read this article here for tips on how to set the stage for your clients. 

#3 Your Mindset is Stuck.

We all feel warm and fuzzy when a random referral comes our way. During those times, you welcome the referral! It feels like a gift from God floating down from heaven landing in your lap!

However, to have an actual strategy to ask for referrals…Whoa, Nellie! Your mindset shifts into park.

Like anything new you try, you’ll be lousy at it at first. But don’t let your fixed mindset discourage you from learning and practicing how to become better at referral selling.

It’s a behavior shift you must make consciously.

Here are a few tips when asking for a referral.

  • Tell your client exactly who you want to meet. Give them the profile of what your ideal client looks like.
  • Ask your client to refer the highest possible connection they have with the referred organization. (i.e C-Suite introduction rather than middle management.)

As you know selling is a human to human interaction. It’s solving a need. Once you make the shift to Referral Selling as your first prospecting priority, you’ll never have to cold call again.

Do you want your team to learn how to find referrals, and close more deals? Let’s schedule a time to chat. I’d love to help! Simply choose “Schedule Now” then choose “Introductory Phone Call”. It’s free!

Savvy Sales Lady

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