Ask For Referrals On Every Call

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May 14, 2024 by Sean Luce

We work way too hard in media sales: making 20 prospect calls a day to secure just four appointments -- a typical, industry-wide 20 percent closing ratio. That's a tough way to make a living. To make your life a little easier -- and more profitable -- here is a solid technique to help you increase your business by 15 percent over the next 90 days. It's designed to help you ask for referrals on every call you make, and it will change the way you sell and double your closing rate.

The Referral Foundation

The best prospects are the clients with whom you already have relationships. Second best are those referred to you by a prospect who has said, "No." Third best are those referred to you by another trusted professional or friend.

A satisfied client can give you three of four good, qualified leads -- if you just ask. When you make a closing presentation and somebody declines, do you really think they want to tell you that? In some cases, there are conditions that they cannot fulfill in your closing presentation. Just remember: If they were not interested, they probably would not have had you make your presentation. This is a great time to ask for a referral, since most people would like to help if you ask. Third-party referrals are strong, since, in most cases, they come from people who can attest to your credibility and business savvy even though they might not have personally used your company before. They might be a community leader or have another strong community affiliation. Ask them for referrals, and then use those referrals.

Three Steps To 15 Percent

Most sales reps don't ask for referrals because, according to them, they forget. Some don't ask because they have never been taught to do it. Some don't ask because they don't feel right asking a client, as they also would have to ask the dreaded question, "Is it working?" Unfortunately, many sales reps don't believe in their own product's effectiveness.

The following three-step process won't help you improve your memory skills, and if you don't believe in your own product, nothing can help you. Thus, we'll deal with the never-been-taught element.

Step #1: Describe a typical viewer/reader/listener. Start with, "Would you do me a big favor"? (Most customers will say, "Yes"). Next, say, "Typically, our listeners are for example between the ages of 35 and 54, female, household income $50K, and they have some college..

Step#2: Have them imagine faces. If you ask clients, "Is there anybody you know who might be interested in.," they will have to think of everyone they ever met. Instead, have them visualize specific people they know. I worked with a rep, Jeanette Radar, and she is textbook when asking for referrals. She would ask them: "Who is your financial planner?" "Who works on your car?" "Do you trust him or her?" "Do you think they would be the right type of client to serve our listeners, as you are?" In other words, as Radar says, "Each of your clients gets their kids' teeth cleaned, each has a financial planner, and each knows other business owners in categories related to their own business."

Step #3: State a success story and wait for the response. Ask: "Who do you know who might like to hear about what we did at Sunrise Ford, where we helped move an incremental 20 cars over the past weekend?" Now, wait for the answer. The longer they ponder, the better the chances that they will think of someone.

Over the past 12 years in seminars, I've challenged more than 50,000 sales reps to ask for referrals as outlined above, and I have received numerous emails form reps who say their business went up by more than 15 percent. Hopefully, you'll try to prove me right, instead of wrong, and build your business like never before -- working smarter, not harder.


Sean Luce is the Head National Instructor for the Luce Performance Group and can be reached at


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