To improve cold calling results, we need to be able to get the most out of each interaction. And whether the call goes well or not, there are a few things that we can do to walk away with something after the call. One thing that we easily implement is try to get a referral on each call when cold calling for sales.
A referral in this context is the act of trying to get a prospect to give you the name of another contact that you should talk to. There are two types of referrals we can pursue: 1) internal referral and 2) external referral.
In business-to-business sales, a major portion of the work for a sales professional is navigating and mapping out the organization. A business will have many different departments or functional areas: IT, finance, HR, operations, procurement, etc. And each department will typically have many different levels and players. Effectively moving across and inside of these departments will have a positive impact on sales effectiveness and asking for internal referrals will help with this when cold calling for sales.
The best time to go for the internal referral is at the end of the cold call where you can politely ask the prospect to point you in the right direction. As you do this, you can share department names or the titles of individuals that you typically work with to help the prospect identify who they should connect you with.
It is important to be aware that the prospect may be reluctant to give you the name of anybody if you have not done a good job to decrease their guard. This could be a result of the fact that they can tell that you are cold calling for sales and if they refer you to someone else, that may make them look bad in some way. One way to defuse that if you sense reluctance is to reassure them that you will not mention their name as the referrer.
A secondary type of referral that we can pursue when cold calling for sales is an external referral. This would be trying to get a prospect to point you in the direction of another potential prospect that is outside of the business that they work for.
The power of our personal and professional networks is strong. Not only does the average person build out many connections in their natural everyday life, but many business professionals are connected with piers that do the same thing they do for other companies. If you have built rapport with a prospect, there is nothing wrong with asking them if they know anybody that it would make sense for you to reach out to and connect with.
By getting in the habit of asking for another contact name or referral at the end of each cold call, your list of prospects and organizational information will drastically grow. This one minor change or addition to your process will have immediate and drastic results.