Referrals are (nearly) everything you need

by Andy Bounds on December 2, 2011 · 0 comments

Your ‘BNI words’ don’t always work when selling

Referrals are the best way to get in front of decision makers.

I mean, think of the options – advertising (expensive), waiting (slow), cold calling (horrific).

But, great though referrals are, the best outcome they’ll give you is a meeting with a decision maker. There’s still plenty to do if you’re to seal the deal.

Unfortunately, your approach at BNI that gets the referral doesn’t always help make the sale when you’re in front of the customer.

For instance, in your 60 seconds, you speak non-stop about your business. However, when selling, it’s the customer – not you – who should be doing most of the talking.

Also, many people’s 60 seconds focus on…

  • what they are – I’m a plumber, printer, accountant; and/or
  • what they do – I fix leaks, I print brochures, I complete tax returns

But customers want neither of these. They want…

  •  what you cause – a fixed radiator, increased sales, to pay less tax

So, the words that ‘got’ you the referral won’t ‘get’ you the sale.

The best way to start

Assuming Bob has referred you to Cheryl, try this…

You: Cheryl thanks for your time today. As you know, Bob suggested we speak
Cheryl: That’s right
You: Bob says he knows you because [#1 - INSERT REASON]
Both: Chat about Bob
You: Bob suggested you might be interested in [#2 - POSSIBLE FUTURE STATE SHE MIGHT WANT YOU TO CAUSE]
Cheryl: That’s right
You: And what are you looking to achieve here?

And you’ve asked your first future-focused question. Now you can let the conversation flow from here, ensuring it covers both areas above.

You’ll notice you need to find two things from Bob (#1 and #2) before your meeting.

This might be new for you. It might take time.

But ‘Givers Gain’ applies as much when you get a referral as when you’re trying to give one. You have to give everything you can, to enhance Bob’s stature in Cheryl’s eyes.

Do this and he, and your chapter, is more likely to refer you again and again.

And, you might just get a sale too!

Andy Bounds
Andy Bounds has helped his customers win over £8billion of new business. He was voted Britain’s Sales Trainer of the Year. His book The Jelly Effect (Capstone) is an international best-seller. To receive his weekly tips on improving sales and communication, visit

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