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Turn Referral Partners Into Cash Cows

Turn Referral Partners Into Cash Cows

Paul McCord

Is your pipeline anemic?

Are you finding yourself having to work harder to find and connect with quality prospects?

Is your call list getting short and you’re not sure where you’re going to find new names?

Whether you’re facing the above issues or not, aligning yourself with others who can expose you to new prospects, help set up the sale for you, and help make life more enjoyable is one of the most effective marketing methods you can employ.

Enlisting other salespeople or companies who sell to the same prospects as you to help you find and connect with quality prospects has been a staple of marketing for top producers for decades—and unsuccessfully imitated by countless others.

Why have top producers found working with other professionals for referrals to work so well while so many others have failed to capitalize on them?

I often hear salespeople and managers-and even some sales trainers-talk about seeking out ‘referral sources’ to help them find and connect with prospects. These referral sources tend to be salespeople who are likely to deal with people or companies that would be great prospects for the salesperson and who might need or want their product or service.

These ‘referral sources’ discussions always interest me, so I’ll engage the salesperson in a conversation about their experience with them. Typically my first question will be how much business they’ve closed through these referral sources. A few will indicate they’ve done well with them, most indicate they’ve seen very little to no real business from their sources.

When I ask the salesperson I’m speaking with what the other salesperson gets out of making the referral, they mention that they are giving the referrer the assurance that they’ll take exceptional care of the salesperson’s client, allowing that salesperson to become more valuable to their client by becoming a trusted source of addition advice and services, or they’ll give the salesperson’s client a discount of some sort that only that salesperson’s clients get, or they’ll give the salesperson a $5 or $10 gift card to Starbucks or wherever for every successful referral—in other words, nothing of value to the referrer.

When I assert that the other person is getting nothing of value, I often get a scornful look and verbal resistance. Some of the responses I’ve received are:

From a mortgage loan officer: “Their client has to have a loan and I’ll make sure their client is well taken care of and gets a great deal—and that the loan will close on time. That’s real value to that Realtor and their client.”

From an insurance agent: “She doesn’t offer insurance, just securities. Her clients need insurance and she can be assured that I won’t try to steal her clients or infringe on her business in any way and if she doesn’t help her client through me, her client is likely to see an agent that will try to steal her business.”