How To Get Referrals From The NO SALE

Written by Sean McPheat | Linkedin thumb

No/Yes SaleMany sales people today still have problems getting enough good referrals. While there are a few astute sales professionals that have truly mastered the art of getting referrals, it still seems to be primarily in getting referrals from clients. Some sales people have become skilled at getting referrals from those prospects that buy.

However, there remains to be but a rare few in the world of selling that have mastered the art of getting referrals from those prospects that DO NOT buy. If you can manage to get quality referrals from both the SALES and the NO SALES, you would dramatically increase your income!

Here is a quick, yet powerful and effective tip to help you get more referrals from the prospects that say “NO.”

A Common Scenario
The main problem sales people have with asking for referrals from the no sale, is that the request for the referrals comes only AFTER the NO SALE. What I mean is that after the sales person closes for the order, asked for the sale, received an objection, then closed on the objection, then asked for the order again, and again….and maybe again; then, finally after it appears to be a lost cause, the sales person now asked for a referral.

At such a point in the sales process, not only is the prospect concerned about referring associates, but also the sales person is too afraid to ask!

The Timing of the Request
Once you ask for the order, a certain amount of tension and pressure evolves. While this is normal and natural whenever people have to make an important decision, it is the wrong time to ask the person to recommend one of their friends or associates to go through the same thing.

Ask for Referrals Earlier in the Sales Process.
Just who said that you have to wait until the very end of the sales interaction before you can ask for referrals? It wasn’t me!

Find a moment early in the sales interaction, when the prospect and you both are still at ease, before it starts to come to the price and the money. Build in a time to ask for referrals just after you explain those great, fantastic benefits that solve all of the prospect’s problems.

“Steve, as you can see, our XJ7 software solves a ton of problems and will save you a lot of money. I’m going to take just a couple of minutes and put together a quote for your plant. While I do that, I wonder if you would introduce me to a few of your associates that you know are having the same problem. I will do exactly what I have done here; show them that there IS a solution. Don’t worry if they may buy or not…I don’t know if you will yet. But it is good to know what is available, don’t you agree?”

Ask for referrals before the close and get more referrals from those who you do NOT close.

Happy Selling!


Sean McPheat

Sean McPheat
Managing Director

MTD Sales Training | Image courtesy of Renjith Krishnan at

450 sales questions free report

Originally published: 26 April, 2012

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