The Sales Engagement Podcast
The Sales Engagement Podcast

Episode · 3 years ago

Stop the Cold Calling: 3 Steps to Start Referral Selling w/ Joanne Black

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Joanne Black, founder of No More Cold Calling, is on a mission to end cold calling. For more than 22 years, she’s been helping businesses stop the madness of cold calling and referral sell instead.

Joanne defines a referral as receiving an introduction to the person you want to meet. Tune in as she discusses how each caller can become a part of your network. 

 

 

Welcome to the sales engagement podcast. This podcast is brought to you by outreach dot ioh, the leading sales engagement platform helping companies, sellers and customer success engaged with buyers and customers in the modern sales era. Check out sales engagementcom for new episodes. Resources in the book on sales engagement coming soon. Now let's get into today's episode. Hey everyone, thanks again for coming back to these sales engagement podcast I am incredibly excited about today's show. We are very lucky everyone, so stick with us, don't go anywhere. We have JOE and black, a wealth of knowledge in sales, particularly cold calling and why there shouldn't be any cold calling anymore. He's been called as sales contrarian. She's America's leading authority on referral selling, which we're definitely going to dive into today. I don't want to spoil her thunder here. I want toss them on over to Joe and who can tell us a little bit more about herself, what she wants to talk about today and why we should be paying more attention to referral selling. Joe and thanks for me on the show. Well, it's my favorite topic for Fer all selling show. So you know that I can answer any question you have about the topic. Awesome, awesome. Give us a little bit about your background. How did you get to where you are today? You're a published author, you have two books. Walk us through kind of what's been going on in the past few years. Well, it's been more than a few it's been twenty two actually. But my I worked for two consulting and training firms over the years and when I went out of my own in one thousand nine hundred and ninety six, my first client was a referral and didn't think about it the time. I was working with the management team on their sales strategy and when that was occurring they happened to be doing a customer satisfaction survey to fifty of their best clients and I added a question. To this day, I have no idea why I did that. I said, would you be willing to be a referral to this company? Now, seven was high. The answer came back six point five. Where they asking fifty five hundred? No, nobody was asking. So then I thought about as the wait a minute. My best business always came from referrals. I started asking my feet on the street, research, sales leaders, salespeople I knew. Do you like to get referrals? Oh yeah, it's as business. You know, were presold. They trust us. We don't have competition. The sales process shortness, there's no cost, but best of all, they convert at an unbelievable rate, well more than fifty percent of the time. So that was that answer. Then I asked this question. Do you have a referral methodology with a strategy, metrics, skills, accountability for results? Well, you can guess the answer to that question,...

Joe. Twenty two years ago it was no and the answer is no today. So I'm a very logical person. Figure out. On the one hand it's the best business. On the other, yes, they happen. Of course, a client moves to another company caused us to come in, but we can't depend on that. So what was getting in the way? I figured it out. I develop the methodology to close that gap and make referrals the way we work every single day. And when you see referral, what do you mean by that? How do you define referral? Referral means that you receive an introduction to the person you want to meet and the reason that's important is you know the tendency has been. You know, you might say to me, Joan just called Jim. Tell him I told you to call, or tell him like you know, send him an email, cold it on tell them. Well, you know, does that work? Sometimes he asks. But the power is if you introduce me with the business reason why he should talk to me. And what happens then is I always get the meeting. I mean as the person trusts you, which I assume he does, so I only right. I always get the meeting, I have an amazing conversation and whether that person becomes a client or not, know it is important, of course, but that person is an extension now of my network and I always share best practices, I give insides, I represent you well. So the introduction is what matters, and the reason it matters, the reason referrals matter at all, is because they solve two huge issues that just don't go away, and one is getting a consistent stream of qualified leads in the pipe. Everybody wants more, doesn't matter how great our business is doing. In fact, last month I had a conversation with a sales fee P and he said to me, told me how fantastic their business was. He'd started last fall, so about a year ago, and he's told me, month over month, quarter of a quarter, they were hundred and fifty percent ahead, etc. And I'm thinking, oh, he doesn't need me, and then he said, but my focus this quarter is generating more leads. So no matter how much business we have, we always need to get more leads, but qualified leads. And the other reason is that salespeople need to get meetings with their decision makers as much as possible. It's always not possible, but when we ask for an introduction, we get what we ask for. So I want to ask you to introduce me to exactly the person I want to meet. Those are the two issues referrals solved, in addition to many others, but those are key and, like you said, these problems, these issues, have been around forever. You Pioneer referral selling twenty...

...two years ago and, like you said, it's still an issue today. Why is it becoming so much more important today? Doesn't just linkedin fix this? Partially, yes, but we misuse it. So linkedin as a phenomenal place to do research right to find out who people are, who they know about their background, what commonalities you have. But it is a place to begin a conversation and begin a relationship. It's so misused today. You know, it used to be that, you know, people would, once in a while, after they connected with you, send over a pitch. Now they're putting the pitch in the invitation right. I can confirm that. That happens way too often. Yeah, Oh, here's a link to my calendar. I think you know. I don't know. You why it's totally misused. Begin a relationship, begin a conversation. That's what it's about. The problem today is everybody's typing away and they're dependent ending on digital for referrals, and there's misconceptions about that. In fact, there's been discussion on Linkedin, pointing fingers at me and saying, you know, Chowan, you know, you say you have to talk to people, but that doesn't scale. In fact, you know, for enterprises maybe probably, but for SMB in the market now doesn't scale. All right, so that's a conversation going on now. But here's what happens, and here's why I say use social media to get all your background, to begin a conversation, to get them to acknowledge that they know the person you want to meet. That's how to use digital and then, if they know the person, set up a call. Why? Because that person knows everything. Right, you only know on Linkedin when I put on Linkedin. HMM. You don't know who my family is. You don't know if where they work. You don't know who my brother in law's my next door neighbor, you don't know what groups are, all the groups I belong to tons. You don't know about me and if I were a little younger. You don't know who my roommates in college. Where you know any of that? Therefore, in the conversation I can get Intel that nobody else gets. I learned about the relationship, what's important to the person. How should I craft my message that would resonate? What's here she like? You know, for some people they say oh, bottom line, just get to it right away. Others will say she really likes to build a relationship and you have some commonalities here. Focus on that. That's what drives revenue and people miss out if they don't actually have the personal conversation. They scale referrals do, because nobody, well practically nobody, and enterprise, mid...

...market or even SMB needs thousands of clients in a year and we're still going to get incoming leads. Right, we're going to get incoming leads from marketing, from downloads, from social media, from all of this, but referral should be outbound, proactive and intentional. Make Sense? It does make sense. One thing I want to go back to. You said no one needs thousands of new customers a year. I think they're probably listeners right now, being like I sure do. Of course I want thousands. What are you talking about? Maybe you explain that a little more. I think. I think I know where you're going, but I'd love to hear what you're saying. Yeah, so you know if you're selling something one thousand, nine hundred and ninety five. Yeah, of course you do. If you're selling a commodity, I'm talking about in the BDB space, where people are spending money and that it'd be an enterprise, it'll be definitely in the market and most likely in the SNB space as well. If you're below that, no, if you're selling a commodity, what I'm talking about doesn't matter and I don't want it to matter. So I want account executives in those spaces to listen up and determine that referrals can really shift the way they work. Okay, so the listeners, if they're following you along and agreeing, they're thinking, okay, well, this is something I'm not doing enough of, or I feel like I'm doing a lot of it, but just not in the right way, the way that you've laid out. What should they do to go about building out this referral selling process something that they can take away from this podcast today and implement tomorrow? The number one thing is that look at your clients. Have you asked every single one of the people you've come in contact with during the buying process for a referral? When I ask that question, the answer is always know. Now part of the reason, I think, is the way organizations are structured today. So I sell a deal, I hand it off the customer success, the implementation team man move on to the next prospect, but I've left money on the table because I've built those relationships. I need to be the one asking. That is huge a current clients are just one source of referrals, but they're the most under leverage that you know. They're quiet to help us. They just don't know what to do. They don't know what we're looking for. Obviously they're not going to refer to their competition, but those of US selling into the enterprise or even in market, there can be referrals internal the other divisions of the company, right, in addition to being external to counterparts they know in other companies. That...

...makes a lot of sense. I think that's a, like you said, underleveraged aspect of this, the land and expand play, right to sell into different divisions, and that's something. Obviously we do it outreach or we try to do it outreach as much as possible, but this is decidedly old school. This is an old school tactic and I don't mean to say that offensively, I don't mean to offend you, but why is it continue to be relevant? I mean, I'm sure, and I'm struggling with this as well, I'll be honest, that there has to be some technology, some solution that can just take care of this right, because that's the way we operate these days. Oh, there's a problem, I'm I'm just going to go buy a tool and that's going to take care of it. Why? Why is this so important now? It's always been important because people do business with people you know, except again, in a commodity play. I'm not talking to people who do that. It's even more important today because of this reliance on technology. To your point, there are many platforms that say they automate referrals, that you can just ask on the platform, and you know, those platforms are successful. I don't deny that. It is not my point of view and I what I believe is that people are hiding behind the technology. Oh, all, I guess I just have to do this, but I represent you. If you're introducing me and there's a conversation we need to have now, you may not believe that. That's fine. Then if what you're doing is work and keep doing it. When people ask me that about cold calls, and Oh, I'm really good at it and I'm successful, then fine, keep doing it. I'm not saying that this referral approach is perfect for everybody, even though I believe it is. People are going to say, man, and not for me. Well, if it's not for you, it's not for you. But think of this, that you would be talking to people every single day who want to talk to you. What would your sales life be like if that would happen? A lot more pleasant, I'm sure, the sheer amount of rejection that most people deal with when their cold calling or cold emailing. While I haven't done it for many years, when I did do it it was crippling. That's probably when I went in the marketing yeah, that I mean, that makes a lot of sense, right. You're only talking to people who also want to talk to you. It's going to equal a much better outcome and better outcome, but also it it collapses your prospecting time. I think about it. You make an introduction to me, okay, Bomba, I schedule the call so I don't have wasted time prospecting and then it as we said, it's shortness to sales...

...process. So there's so much that happens, including increasing the conversion rate. Maybe really you know, when I asked people, what's the average conversion rate? Oh, you know, could be twenty percent, maybe sometimes thirty. Well, with referrals it's well more than fifty. It was fifty four years Joe, and then about four years ago the move, the needle moved, and people now tell me most cases it's more than seventy percent of the time when they've received the introduction to the right person and you can't beat that. You absolutely can't beat that, and I think that's a really important point that you made, is that this on one side, my gut reaction is, okay, this is a time consuming process. This is going to take a lot of effort, a lot of one to one touches. I can't automate much of this. This doesn't sound right. But then you say no, it does speed up the sales process, it reduces prospecting time. That's something that all of our listeners need to take take home, because most people are like, how do I become more effective? HOW BECOME MORE EFFICIENT? You're telling me this is one of those ways. It's the most important way, but it does require some investment, time, investment, strategy, investment from companies. It needs to be an outbound strategy that the sales later, you know, puts that stack in the ground and says this is our number one outbound approach. We're still going to use technology. I'm not saying we don't. I use technology all the time, of course, but I'm not depending on it, and that's the difference. So we need a strategy, need metrics. How are we going to evaluate people, measure them? We need to integrate referrals into our sales process beforel selling is actually a skill. It's a behavior change and with any skill, well, it requires reinforced meant coaching and accountability, and that's the part that takes a little time. But once people invest their time and their dedication to that, they learn how I asked, they practice their rewarded and incentives for referrals, everything shifts. Then they begin to work efficiently and their productivity and their revenue stars. Referrals are the fastest way to drive revenue. Boom tagline. That's it right there. When you come into a shop and they're asking you to coach and implement a referral selling program, do you find that they give you two or three reps to start with and kind of do an EB test, or is it an all or nothing? Or how does that go about when they bring you in? So let's go back to accountability. So I would start working with the cerrow the head of sales to talk about what he or she wants to accomplish, what will make a program like this successful? What are their their metrics?...

WHO SHOULD BE INVOLVED? And it's only the people who agree to be accountable for results. You know, we haven't had that in the past. Okay, you know, everybody, come, we're going to learn this, as in this great and then nothing happened. And so not two or three people. But I like starting with a small group. It could be say eight to twelve, depends on the size of the company. But it's the group that raises their hand and says, I know, I have to invest my time, I understand what the programs about and I agree to be accountable for certain results. That's the group we start with and the bar can be really low for the accountability Joe. It's so I agree to bring in one more client through a referralt doesn't have to be high, it needs to be something, otherwise they shouldn't participate. Does that make sense? Yeah, absolutely. And it's when you have that bar pretty low, it's more of a kind of a proof of concept, and once you achieve that, then it's like, okay, let's let's think about rolling this out to the entire team. That's right, and a lot of clients now are speaking to me about I really want to build a referral culture. So I think I've been doing that for the last twenty plus years, but never really use that term because it sounds so big, right, but I found the definition of culture that made a lot of sense, which is culture is something that people do when no one's looking. It's a way we behave, it's a way we act, it's a way we represent our company, it's what's inside here. That doesn't happen overnight but, like you said, in stages. So you start with one group, then another, groups like looking over. Oh Gee, you know, how do they do that? I want to do that as well, and then it gradually expand ends. That's great. Yeah, then that's the natural progression of building a community and a unified goal, right, a unim way of doing things. That's right, Joan. If there was one thing that you could leave our listeners with to today, what would that be? What's the big takeaway? Take a look at your current clients, someones with whom you have relationships. Who can you ask to introduce you? But be very specific about the person you want to meet and the why you want to meet them, whether it's the land and expand approach or an introduction to one of your other named accounts. That will be important. The other thing I'd like to ask everybody to do is invite me to connect with you on Linkedin with a personal message and say you listen to this conversation and you'd like to connect, because I answer every personal invitation with my own response. That's how we begin to build relationships and have a conversations critical in today's world, and it's perfect segue into my next question. If people wanted to get ahold of you, you already said Linkedin, but how could they do that? They want to learn more about what you do, about meeting some of your...

...books. How can I do that? My email is Joanne Jaoa and any at. No more cold callingcom. That's also my webs site. No more coal callingcom and I will give you my phone number, because I love to talk to people, but I don't answer the phone unless I know who's calling. So probably best to email me first. Will schedule time to talk, but here it is four one hundred and five, six, one eight seven sixty three. That's in the San Francisco Bay area, Pacific Time. Glad to chat. It's my favorite topic and the one that will drive revenue for you. And when you get inundated with calls, we can go back and re edit this episode and bleep out like the last four number so we can put them brings on that. Thank you so much for being on the show. To the joy and I'm sure you're going to get a lot of interest in your methodology, a lot of inbound leads coming your way and hopefully not too many calls. I'd love it. That's a good problem to have. Joe. Thank you and thanks for of our listener for tuning in today and we will see you next time on the sales engagement podcast. Thank you. This was another episode of the sales engagement podcast. Join US at sales engagementcom for new episodes, resources and the book on sales engagement coming soon. To get the most out of your sales engagement strategy, make sure to check out outreach to ioh, the leading sales engagement platform. See you on the next episode.

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