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Interview with Rochelle Carrington, Sandler franchisee in South Salem, NY
Peter Helmer of Sales Lead Dynamics interviews Sandler franchisee Rochelle Carrington about referrals and prospecting.
It’s a safe bet that you won’t get many (or maybe any) referrals, if you don’t ask for them. But you also have to ask in the right way.
So says Rochelle Carrington of Sandler Training. Rochelle works with service professionals (consultants, lawyers, accountants), salespeople and business owners to improve their sales skills. That includes learning how to get referrals.
I met Rochelle last year when she gave a presentation “Money Does Grow on Trees…Referral Trees.” We’ve gotten to know each other since then. I’ve become a fan.
For starters, says Rochelle, don’t call it a “referral.” She prefers “introduction.”
It is impossible to tell where an introduction can lead: to new business, to a new idea or maybe to more introductions. When you give an introduction, you’re “arranging a blind date, not a marriage,” she says.
Rochelle sees two barriers to getting introductions: Beliefs (afraid to ask) and Technique (don’t know how to ask).
You gotta believe
Many people don’t believe that they can get referrals (ah,er….. introductions). They fear looking desperate if they ask. Or perhaps they don’t want to bother colleagues. And maybe they don’t think they are worthy of an introduction.
Rochelle considers this attitude “head trash.” Get over it!
You’re an accomplished professional. You provide a valuable service. You’ve got a lot of contacts and ideas to share. Colleagues, clients and former clients want to help – and get your help. But first you have to ask. You also have to reciprocate.
Do the right thing
Then there is technique. “People are afraid to get too specific when they ask for referrals. They will ask ‘do you know anyone who can use my services',” says Rochelle. You’ve got to be very specific in describing your target market. Otherwise, your referral sources can’t help you. She favors the C.A.P.S. approach:
Characteristics – industry, company size, location etc.
Alternatives – What are the alternatives to working with you? The problem gets worse? Nothing happens?
Pain – What is the pain they’re suffering? Example – declining sales.
Symptoms – If the pain is lost sales, the symptom could be a drop off in leads.
You need a plan to get more introductions, says Rochelle. They don’t just happen. That means mapping out your week and determining whom you will be talking to and whom you should ask for introductions.
Rochelle recommends a goal of five introductions per week. That may seem like a daunting task. But consider how many people you connect with during the course of a week via phone calls, client meetings and networking meetings. If you connected with 20 people, could you get five introductions?
At the same time, be prepared to give introductions (Give before you get. Remember?). You need a plan for that as well.
You’ve also got to keep score. Keep a tally of the introductions you get each week and from whom. The same goes for the introductions you give: how many and to whom. So, follow Carrington’s Law: Make a Plan. Ask Often. Ask Correctly. Reciprocate.
© 2008–2010 Sales Lead Dynamics. All rights reserved.
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Sandler Training is the leading provider of sales and management training, with over 200 licensed trainers throughout the U.S. and internationally. The company provides a full range of sales and management training programs, with powerful coordination and customization benefits throughout its extensive franchise network. Among its many achievements, Sandler has been awarded the #1 ranking for training programs in Entrepreneur magazine’s “Franchise 500” nine times since 1994, the most recent being for 2010.
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