- Blog post
Dig deeper when you ask for referrals
When you ask for a referral, there are two kinds you can ask for.
Everybody knows about the first kind. Fewer think about the second kind – even though, research shows, they can have a huge impact on your sales.
The first kind of referral, of course, is a potential buyer. “So tell me,” you ask your satisfied customer, “Can you think of anyone who might need what I sell?”
There’s nothing wrong with those kinds of leads, of course – especially if you can also wrangle an introduction to go along with it. But while you’re at it, there’s another question you ought to ask: “So tell me … in your industry, whose opinion do you trust?”
Ask that question of enough buyers, and you’ll discover something very important: an opinion maker. He or she may not have a fancy title or a powerful job, but make no mistake: This is someone with authority. Someone who gets listened to.
Someone you really should get to know.
Your goal isn’t to sell them anything, necessarily. These “other referrals” may not be good prospects for you. They may not even have any budget or buying power. What they do have is respect. And if they decide that you can offer something of value, they can spread the word.
Finding and cultivating opinion makers isn’t easy. But if you want to be a leader in your industry, it’s worth the effort.