Depending on the culture of an organization, some people will never give out any names. You probably already know this and you probably already know how difficult it can make things, especially when you’re just starting out.
Manufacturing referrals is a process you can use, no matter what your business is, to get to who you really need to reach. Now, this is not universal but I would like to suggest that you can get a referral from just about everyone if you keep a couple of things in mind:
Know Who You Want to Reach
The first step to manufacturing a referral is to know who you’re trying to get to. In the federal space, we are after two key people:
- Project/Program Managers: These are the folks who are responsible for getting the work done so the agency can meet initiatives associated with its mission.
- Procurement: These are the contracting officers and specialists that create opportunities, select the procurement mechanism and spend the money.
Now, if you’ve done your research right, you’ve already identified many of these people. The next step is to go after them.
Know Who They Know
If you know who you want to reach then you can identify the office they work in, right? If you know the office, you can usually identify others that work in that office. So, what if you called them up?
Here’s a hypothetical example of how that conversation could go:
: “Hey John, this is [your name] with [your company] and I was trying to get in touch with Sara Jennings. Does Sara do purchasing?”
John: “Yes, Sara is a contracting officer.”
You: “Great, I did some research and she handles [what you sell]. Is that right?”
John: “She handles a lot of different purchases, I am not really sure what she does.”
You can see where this is going.
: “I can appreciate that. I know you guys are pulled in a lot of different directions but I did hear that she is really good at what she does–is she one of the good folks?”
John: “Sara is one of the good ones.”
You: “Would you happen to have her extension? It will be great to meet her. I think she’s important, don’t you?”
John: “I am not sure if she needs anything right now and I don’t give out numbers.”
BAM. Smack into a wall. Ordinarily this is where most folks give up.
But you’re prepared–you’ve already done your research, right?
: “I just found this… 123-456-7890 – is that her number?”
John: “I think so.”
You: “Thanks John! I appreciate the help. Have a great day!”
Congratulations. You have just manufactured a referral to Sara and can not only honestly say that you talked with John and but also that he said she is important and one of the good folks. Because he did.
Does this mean Sara will listen? You bet she will. You are now one of the few who have broken through and talked with a key buyer for what you sell.
We’ll discuss more about manufacturing referrals in our free webinar
at 11:00 AM EST today (July 8th). We’re also going to talk about identifying federal buyers in time for the September spending frenzy and ways to identify hidden opportunities. Drop by and feel free to ask Dave any questions you may have.
Dave works with companies by incorporating best-in-class business practices like targeting your best customer (customer segmentation intelligence), “Top-Down” sales training and sales management. He builds his practice on the principle of doing the right thing for others--all the time.
Personal “bests” include booking $11.8 Million in new private and government business in 18 months (from cold calls) and managing sales representatives to close ratios of 85% (in cell phone sales).
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