Why is it that every salesperson will tell you that referrals are the best way to generate new business, and yet so few of them actually use this approach regularly? It seems like this would be SALES 101.

If referrals are so effective, then what is your intentional strategy to build your business through referrals? Do you have a plan, goals, and a way to track and measure your results?  On one hand, referral business is unsurpassed; and on the other, people are passive about developing their referrals. It’s common sense, but not common practice.

Below are four possible reasons you aren’t using the most powerful sales strategy you could ever have:

1. It feels uncomfortable. When we ask for a referral, it feels as if we’re asking someone to help us, and it’s not easy asking for help. It feels as if we’re intruding on a relationship, and we’re asking a busy person to do more. And the biggest fear of all is that they might say no. Unlike other business development strategies, asking for referrals is very personal.

2. You’ve never learned a reliable process. You don’t know how to ask in a way that will get results. It’s a skill…you must have a process and practice through role-play.

3. You haven’t defined the process and consequently, you aren’t measuring results. To you, referral selling appears as something nice to do. However, historically you haven’t tracked the success rate of your current referral business. The best approach is to set a weekly goal and to hold yourself accountable to the team.

4. Historically, it hasn’t been a formal part of your sales process. Asking for referrals must be integrated into all the work we do, rather than an afterthought. It must be a proactive strategy and not something we leave to spontaneity.

RedRock Leadership provides word class sales training and leadership development. www.redrockleadership.com