#2 Referral Tip: Retire the Referral Pitch
If you are using a standardized or rehearsed verbal approach to asking your network for more business, leads or job openings, it’s time to retire that approach and opt for something more subtle and customized. The referral pitch is second only in ineffectiveness to its evil parent: the dreaded sales pitch. How many surveys, books and bodies of research need to come out before the sales pitch is put out of its awkward, skin-crawling misery? Of course, somewhere out there, someone is reading this and saying, “But it still works!” I can assure you, it works in spite of the pitch—not because of it. Just because a person does not run screaming from the room or hang up on you, that does not mean that it’s working.
Challenge yourself to come up with ways of asking for referrals without triggering the amygdala in the brain of the person you are targeting for referrals. Remember, the amygdala, the most primitive part of our brain, is responsible for determining who we can trust and who may be a threat to us. As soon as a salesperson launches into what is obviously the PITCH part of the conversation there is a good chance that discomfort is present in the listener. Discomfort triggers the amygdala and puts the listener on alert. You don’t want that. You want referrals. One easy and effective way to solicit referrals is to mention a new product or service you are launching to a client and explain briefly how it might be of interest to some of the people in their network. Then drop it and move on. Along the same line of thinking, if you are searching for a new career and are ready to reach out to your network—be sure to mention any good news you might have of companies that are interested in you or any education you have added as you subtly remind people that you are looking for great connections in this area.
When it comes to referrals you want to cultivate—not mow.
“Images of the amygdala literally lit up when study participants had to make a decision, no matter how rational or logical the decision seemed to be. In other words, emotion won over reason in every decision-making situation.” Selling Power Magazine
Come up with five ways you can subtly remind your market that you are open to referrals. Share with us.