You’re in your dealership on a Tuesday morning and the receptionist at your company has transferred a call to you. The caller starts out saying, “Hi Bob, thanks for taking my call. My name is Ken Taylor and I was asked to contact you by Jim Smith, the owner of ABC Plumbing, one of your customers, and I promised Jim I would follow through. Do you have about three minutes?” Of course, you answer “yes” since it was your customer who referred me to you.
“I work for XYZ Company in our Commercial Department. I’ve been able to help Jim grow his business through our networking program. That’s the reason he gave me your information, he felt like we would be able to help each other. Are you looking to grow your business?” I think you know that 99% of the time your answer will be in the affirmative.
“Great, I would love to stop by to meet you personally and to pick up about a dozen of your business cards. We display them in our dealership and I keep several with me when I am calling on businesses. I want to be prepared should someone need a service like yours. Would Tuesday or Wednesday of next week work for you at around 9 or 10AM?” This conversation is real and one I have made hundreds of times with great success. In fact, I get over an over 90% success rate when I reach an owner. Take those odds to Las Vegas!!
This call is based on our philosophy of “Referral Based Selling.” Your chances of seeing a decision-maker on a cold call are slim at best. When you have a referral source, it changes the entire dynamic of the call. Let’s break this conversation down to individual components to identify why it works so well over the telephone:
- Most likely I got a gatekeeper before I reached a decision maker. When I identified myself, and mentioned my referral source as one of Bob’s customers, it is seldom that a gatekeeper gets this type of call. In almost all cases he or she will put you through or ask if you want to be sent to voicemail. Decline the choice of going to voicemail on the first call and instead tell the gatekeeper you would like to call back at a more convenient time and ask him or her “Is there a better time to reach Bob?”
- I used a referral source. This is a game changer! When a referral source is used it eliminates the “unknown.”
- Not only did I have a referral source, it is what I call a “leveraged referral source.” Why? Because Bob’s customer Jim, asked you to call. Bob does not want to upset his customer by refusing the call!
- I identified myself and gave a “value point.” I mentioned that I was able to help Jim grow his business (value) and take the headache out of his fleet (value). I call this “value in exchange for time.” Everything is a trade off and a business owner who has a full day wants to know that if he or she is going to give me time, there is something in it for him or her. This is a very important step that most sales people ignore.
- I verified that what I have to share is of interest. When I asked, “Are you looking to grow your business?” This question has power in two ways. First, there is almost no business owner who would say “no.” Second, it is a great lead in to your request to meet in person.
- By saying I want to meet and pick up business cards and brochures I have expressed a tangible reason for having to meet face to face.
- I gave a detailed explanation regarding what I would be doing with the business cards and brochures which again adds credibility, reality, and value. This is a critical step that should not be left out of this word track.
- I asked for the appointment! That is what I call a secondary close and I assumed that the business owner would want to meet with me. I didn’t ask for the appointment I assumed that either Tuesday or Wednesday would be better! (Called the “Alternative Choice” close.)
- What I did not mention is a very important step, sending Bob a “thank you” card and following up with a phone call in 24 hours, thanking Bob for his time (It’s best if this is a voicemail!)
You may have noticed that the referral was a big aspect of this strategy. Recall from our sample conversation that Jim, who gave the referral is your satisfied customer! How did we get Jim to give us a referral? That is the subject for our next article!! In fact, it is most likely that we were supplied with at least 15 to 20 referrals with the system I have developed. Referrals are the fastest and most efficient way to grow your business. Referrals also add the “fun” back into the sales process. Are you having fun yet??
About Ken Taylor:
Ken Taylor’s training, consulting, and coaching have been used on individual, regional, and national business levels to achieve ultimate success! Known as an industry leader and as “America’s Corporate & Personal Coach,” Ken has consulted for companies like General Electric, General Motors, FCA, Ford, Commercial Truck Trader, and Equipment Trader.