“Find these people, seek to genuinely know them, and look for unlikely ways to move your deals forward.” – Alex Smith in today’s Tip 1273
Do you ask for an unlikely referral?
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Scott Ingram: You’re listening to the Daily Sales Tips podcast and I’m your host, Scott Ingram. Today’s tip comes from Alex Smith. Alex is an AE at Docebo, which is Latin for “I Will Teach” and as Alex likes to say, it’s English for – Kick-Ass Learning Technology. He also hosts the Stories of Selling Human Podcast, where he shows how all people sell well by being human. Here he is:
Alex Smith: Hello, Sales Success Community. This is Alex Smith. I wanted to get on real quick and drop a quick tip about ways I like to cultivate unlikely referrals. Before we get to what an unlikely referral is, we all probably are used to cultivating what we call what I’d like to call likely referrals. We all know the power of a likely referral. These are those great clients we do business with that are happy and willing to tell their friends about us. This is just another reminder for me that when you close an account, it’s completely fair to ask for a referral.
My go-to is always over a call. It’s very similar to this statement that I found from a HubSpot blog email. And it goes like this “Hey, client’s name, really got this one over the line. We know that this is just the beginning and we’re going to work relentlessly to bring your vision to life. Real quick question, just curious. Do you happen to have any friends who are looking for a new LMS solution or a new software solution?” Or maybe if I want to be a little playful and make a joke, I might say, “Hey, can you think of any friends who probably need a new software solution or LMS solution, but they just don’t know how bad they need it yet?”
So I think there are times where I think that asking a referral right after you close an account, maybe we think it’s a little self-serving and then we put it off, and then it just never happens. But I truly believe in the power of reciprocity. People want to help people that are helpful to them. So always ask. It’s never too late to go back to ask, even if there’s someone in your book of business whether you’ve closed it and want it, or even if you’ve closed it and lost it, but you believe in your heart that you service them well, please go ahead and ask for a referral.
Okay, so now we have likely referrals down pat. So what the heck am I talking about when I talk about an unlikely referral? Unlikely referrals are people that I believe you haven’t done business with directly, but these people can help advocate on your behalf or help you gain more information about an account. I believe these unlikely people exist around all of our accounts. And when you find them, it’s an amazing way to build a deep trust with your buyer. I always like to think, who do I know in my network or who can I meet indirectly that might be helpful to my sales efforts?
Some examples. So, before I got my current job, I reached out to a rep named Sophia Jackson. Sofia was someone who had been featured on Scott’s LinkedIn Top Sales Influencer list, and during the height of COVID, she made a post asking for Netflix recommendations. I connected with her and referenced the post and gave her two of my all-time fav. I had to give her Ozark and Tiger King. So we had a call. She was a commercial AE at the time at a company called Docebo. Didn’t have direct decision-making about this role. I don’t even think there was an open role at all. But she gave me tons of great info about the company and helped me in my process, told me where all the bodies are buried, were buried, let’s just say.
Six months later. After that first call, I started at the current company I work at, Docebo. Recently, in my current role, I was working an opportunity with a large national test prep provider. This is an industry that’s super new to me. I didn’t have any similar clients that were doing what they were doing, so no other clients I could refer them into. We have educational clients, but they’re really a youth business unto themselves. They’re end users or high school EP teachers. So I thought to myself, who do I know or who do I have friends with that I could reach out to that might somehow be connected to an end user?
Well, this is a stretch, I know, but my wife has a huge family. Her cousin is actually married to a former AP math teacher. I know. Big stretch, but she actually knew this company super well. I got on a call with her and she actually walked me through how she used this product and all of her challenges. It was just gold. I went as far as even getting her on the phone with my client to give her her experience directly to my client, and it went a long way to showing the client that I really knew them. A month or so after that meeting, I had a signed contract for over 150K ARR.
My final one is, Please be going internally and asking for referrals. So on a recent large opportunity I was working, I put out a call on our company Slack channel, that I had a large opportunity, I was working, and I wanted to look for anybody that may have trusted connections at this company in sales, leadership or training, et cetera, that they might be willing to make an intro to. I was able to get an intro with a senior salesperson to give me a little bit of info. Again, this person had no direct involvement with the buying team. They were just a senior salesperson. But again, that person could give me names, could give me people to reach out to, sales people I know Scott’s this one of his hacks loves to reach out to salespeople. They love to help fellow salespeople out and give them information.
I also reached out internally and learned someone in our PS team actually worked with my actual direct point of contact at a former company. They were able to talk it up, they scheduled a call, and it really accelerated the deal. And that also closed for over 150K ARR this past quarter. So in closing, we all know the quote people buy from people they know, they like, and trust.
A classic quote. But I believe people also buy when they feel that the other person on the other end, genuinely likes and wants to get to know them. They already have these people that have gotten to know them all around them. I mean, you should find ways to build relationships with these people. Why not? They’ve already done the work. You just have to get to know them as people.
See, there are probably people around all of our accounts that you can cultivate to help you present yourself as someone who knows your buyers. Find these people, seek to genuinely know them, and look for unlikely ways to move your deals forward. You’ll think before in October at the Summit. Good luck on your second half.
Scott Ingram: For links to connect with Alex on LinkedIn and to subscribe to his Stories of Selling Human Podcast. Just click over to DailySales.Tips/1273, and if you know a great human in your life who’s job title most people think isn’t in sales but you think they are absolutely selling every day, he wants to meet them!
Once you’ve connected with Alex about that, be sure to come back tomorrow for another great sales tip. Thanks for listening!