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NorthStar Performance Partners, LLC | Minneapolis, MN

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Believe it or not, your parents were wrong. Money actually does grow on trees. That’s one of the essential Sandler Selling Rules.

Skeptical? Don’t be. Just be willing to ask yourself: what kind of tree? And the answer is: a referral tree.

Think about how many referrals you received over the past, say, twelve months. Why did you get them? Were you being proactive? Were you utilizing a system for generating them? Did you make a point to ask clients to send referrals your way?

Or did the typical referral come your way while you were in reactive mode, passively waiting for something good to occur?

As a professional salesperson, you may want to consider the possibility that you should be doing more when it comes to proactive referral generation, so you can grow your referral tree a lot faster. Make no mistake: there is a serious bottom-line advantage to maximizing your inflow of referrals. Our experience at Sandler is that closing a referral from a current client or a shared professional contact is roughly five times easier than closing a brand-new opportunity with whom you have no shared connection.

Your responsibility as a sales professional is to create a referral-generation process you can consciously execute on a regular basis. This process must create a steady stream of introductions from people who know what you and your organization do well--and who want people in their network to benefit from working with you.

Generating those introductions may require looking a little more closely at LinkedIn, noticing who you are already connected to, and figuring out who they can connect you to. It may mean studying a current client’s org chart to identify who you don’t know but should, and then asking your contact at that company to arrange an introduction. There are lots of ways to grow your referral tree. The important thing is to do it consistently, as part of your personal behavioral plan (also known as a cookbook).

Referral generation is not an event. It’s a process. We’ve worked with many, many salespeople who have brought in literally millions of dollars of sales revenue that is directly traceable to a proactive referral process, one that they consistently executed as part of their behavioral plan. At its simplest level, referral generation is a matter of keeping in touch with your “raving fans” -- and asking them who else in their world you should be meeting. Why in the world wouldn’t you want to do that on an appropriate, regular basis? Why wouldn’t you track the results? Why wouldn’t you do whatever you could to improve the process over time?

Make a commitment to grow your referral tree. Consistently follow through on that commitment. And the money will come.

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