I’m sure you’ve heard it: “That referral didn’t pan out.”
Interesting that the term, “pan out” was the expression used in the “old days” when panning for gold.
When “gold fever” struck, folks would rush off to a likely spot somewhere in the country, stick their pan into a stream, slosh the dirt and water around and hope (pray) they’d find a few specks of the precious metal. Slosh around some more water, a little more hope, maybe a lot more prayer, and maybe a little gold shows itself. If so, it would be a successful day.
Getting quality referrals isn’t that much different. Recently I was visiting with a local business owner. He told me that he had been all over town attending networking events, chamber meetings and functions, even was a member in an exclusive industry group and had determined that business networking didn’t work.
When I questioned if they had received referrals, the response surprised me, “Oh, yes!” They said, “I got quite a few. But they didn’t pan out.” Let’s talk about this.
How to “pan out” more referrals!
1) You won’t get them all! Some clients are just not ready, now. Having spent most of my adult life in sales, I know you simple can’t close them all. Try? You bet! Miss a few? Yes, sir. Even though “the deal” didn’t come together right now, remember, at any time that “lost sale” or “missed client” could come back and be viable. I closed a lot of those “lost sales” months and sometimes years down the road.
2) Ask for what you want! Be specific about what you want. For example: Does the mortgage broker want to be referred to a client in the middle of a home loan, or one just starting the process? If you want to be referred to someone in the very beginning of the sales process, ask for it. If you want someone who already owns a similar product and might be looking for a change, ask for that.
3) Any opportunity to present your business is still a good opportunity! Let’s say you asked for the specific client you wanted, and after you meet them, they aren’t qualified to purchase, have no credit, or other issues that negates your product or service for them, right now. <b>Don’t miss the referral moment</b>. Ask them who they know that might be interested.
A dear old preacher I knew, Kenneth Hagin, once said: “You won’t get good at your preaching until you’ve given the same sermon 50 times.” Take each opportunity as practice. Get good at it, and it will pay you handsomely.
4) Evaluate the referral! If you get a referral, learn from it. Where did it come from? Was it a good one? Why did it or didn’t it, “pan out?” Was there something that should have been said to the prospect to clarify being a viable customer upfront by the person giving the referral?
If you consistently get referrals that don’t pan out, consider asking a trusted friend or business colleague to listen to what you’re asking for, you just might be getting it.