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I read Endless Referrals, Third Edition yesterday cover to cover and was fascinated by the lessons I learned about turning your social and business networks into your referral network. I thought I knew a few thing asking about referrals, but Endless Referrals: Network Your Everyday Contacts Into Sales by Bob Burg took what I knew to a new level.

Favorite Quotes from the Book

“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care—about them and their problems.”

Question that separates amateurs from pros:

“How can I know if someone I’m speaking to is a good prospect for you?”

One thing I always do I stell the referrer, “I promise I’ll call.” And when I call the referred prospect, I say, “Hi, Ms. Johnson. This is Bob Burg calling. I promised Joe Callahan I’d call you.” Sort of positions us a little better in that person’s mind right off the bat, doesn’t it? (Please make sure you actually did promise.)

Julie: Good morning, Mary Jones’s office. May I help you?
Me: (informal and friendly, as though I belong) Good morning, this is Bob Burg. May I speak with Mary, please?
Julie: And where are you calling from, Mr. Burg?

She wants to know the name of our company, doesn’t she? That way, she can decide if what we do will be of interest to Mary or if she should discourage us. What I’ll do at this point is answer with the name of my city, and then segue right into a reflexive closing question (I’ll explain that term in a moment), “What’s your name?”

Julie: And where are you calling from, Mr. Burg?
Me: Jupiter, Florida—I’m sorry, what’s your name?
Julie: Julie Smith.
Me: Oh, thank you, Julie.

Notice there was no pause between “Jupiter, Florida” and “I’m sorry, what’s your name?” I didn’t want to give her an opportunity to say, “No, I mean what company are you with?” Instead I went right into my reflexive losing question, “What’s your name?”

Notice that the time I gave was 2:10pm. Whenever scheduling any appointment you should suggest an odd time, as opposed to 2:00, 2:15, 2:30 or 2:45. This gives the impression of your time being clearly slotted, accounted for, and important. The same goes for percentages: 34 percent is actually much more credible than 35%. Why? Because it’s much more specific, and it suggests documentation.

Of course, you should only say something like this if it is a fact. And if the exact percentage result was 35%, you’re still better off going with 34 percent. If increased production and productivity are not at least 34 percent, absolutely don’t state that!

Mary Jones: Hi, this is Mary Jones. How can I help you?
Me: Good morning, Ms. Jones (not “Mary” yet), this is Bob Burg. I understand you’re the person in charge of bringing in outside professional speakers for your annual convention. Is that correct?
Mary Jones: Yes, it is. What can I do for you?
Me: Well I… by the way, do you have a real quick minute or have I caught you at a really awful time?
I and many others have found thi exact language to be very helpful. After all, has any other salesperson shown this much empathy and consideration for their potential time constraints? Also, you’ve given them an “out”.

If you are in a business where you can prequalify the wants and needs of your market, great. If not, you’ll have to make a few more calls in order to qualify the same number of prospects.

If the prospect does show interest, it might be appropriate (depending on the situation, you may need to wait) to further qualify her position by asking, “Mary, along with you, who else will be in on the decision-making process?” That, of course, is much more tactful than saying, “Are you really the decision maker, or are you just pulling my leg?” Again, tongue in cheek, but understand the difference.

The two books I began with nearly 20 years ago were Secrets of Closing the Sale by Zig Ziglar and How To Master the Art of Selling by Tom Hopkins. I credit these two books with equipping me with the information I needed to become a successful professional salesman. (By the way, I believe a better term than “closing a sale” is “completing a transaction.” Hopefully, a sale will never actually be closed but will instead stay open—and lead to lots and lots of referrals!

The bridge transports you from the part where you were (post sale conversation) to the part where you can ask for referrals, without any feelings of discomfort for either of you. Here’s an example:

Mary, I’m in the process of expanding my referral business, and I find it’s helpful for me to partner with my friends and clients such as yourself. Can we take a few quick minute and run past the names of some people I might also be able to help?

Thanks Bob Burg for the awesome book!

You can discover more about Bob Burg at

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