What is the best way to approach and work a referral?

What is the best way to approach and work a referral?

Written By Jeffrey Gitomer

KING OF SALES, The author of seventeen best-selling books including The Sales Bible, The Little Red Book of Selling, and The Little Gold Book of Yes! Attitude. His live coaching program, Sales Mastery, is available at gitomer.me.

What is the best way to approach and work a referral?

The best way to approach a referral is not to approach a referral.

Let the person who referred you make the first contact, and talk about you as a third-party endorsement. Maybe even set up a three-way meeting or a three-way lunch.

If somebody gives you a referral and tells you to call them, but has not called them him or herself, it’s nothing more than a lead (and an awkward one at that).

A referral is the easiest sale in the world if it’s set up properly. You must get your customer involved as an additional salesperson. This will remove any hesitation and any barrier.

The problem is that salespeople are so anxious to call the referral on the phone, that they do it the wrong way, and lose half their potential sales.

If you get a hundred referrals, and you engage them the right way, you should make ninety sales. If you find that the referrals are only one out of two, I assure you the fault is yours.

“Working a referral” may not be the best way to look at it. “Partnering with referrals” gives you a much clearer idea of what you need to do to maximize your percentage of sales.

The first thing you do is THANK your customer. The second thing you do is ASK FOR HELP.


1. Get your customer to give the referral as close to the sale as possible.

2. Get your customer to call and make an introduction.

3. Get your customer to set up a three-way call.

4. Get your customer to set up a three-way lunch.

4.5 Get your customer to tell you everything you need to know to make a personal impact.

FINAL ANSWER: The customer or person who gave you the referral is the best resource to help you make the sale. Once you have all the information you need, and the customer has set a meeting and helped you in every way possible, thank them by getting them a referral.

Jeffrey Gitomer, author of The Sales Bible, and The Little Red Book of Sales Answers. President of Charlotte-based Buy Gitomer, he gives seminars, runs annual sales meetings, and conducts internet training programs on selling and customer service at www.trainone.com. He can be reached at 704/333-1112 or e-mail to salesman@gitomer.com

c 2006 All Rights Reserved – Don’t even think about reproducing this document without written permission from Jeffrey H. Gitomer and Buy Gitomer 704/333-1112