Can you remember the first sale you ever made? Go way back into your childhood. Was it lemonade? Cookies? I remember my first sale as if it happened yesterday.
When I was 10 years old, I was obsessed with Legos. I couldn’t get enough of them. The only problem was that back then (in the late 80s…), Legos were quite expensive (they still are). I then practiced my biggest and cutest smile and asked my parents for more Legos, but they told me that in order to get more Legos, I needed money. “Well, don’t you have money I can use?” I said in my most sweet voice.
Long story short, I had very good parents (still do) and they taught me the value of money and also the value of hard work. They told me that if I wanted more Legos, that I would have to go make some money and buy them myself. So left with no other choice than to work hard and earn some money, that’s what I did to satisfy my Lego addiction.
My two other obsessions during my childhood were baseball cards and candy. The next time my parents needed to go to the Price Club (now called Costco), I asked them to take me with them. I told them that I was going to buy a whole bunch of candy and baseball cards at the Price Club and then divide the packages up and sell them to people. Buy at wholesale prices, mark them up and sell at retail prices. (I can’t take 100% of the credit for that idea, my Dad helped me out with that one)
I then took the candy and baseball card packages that I bought and went through my neighborhood, door-to-door, trying to sell them. My neighborhood was a pretty friendly place to kids growing up – until you try and sell stuff. I got quite a few doors slammed in my face.
I came home from my adventure utterly defeated. Didn’t sell a thing. I was basically doing the 10-year-old version of cold calling and it didn’t work.
The next day I was playing with my friend Brent (probably building Legos or playing GI Joe) and I told him about my dilemma. He said to me, “Why don’t you go to Ashton’s house, he loves baseball cards. Oh, and Glenn does too.” I did exactly that and made my first sale – All from a referral.
This story might sound overly simplistic and you might be saying to yourself that the story of a 10-year-old selling baseball cards and candy is irrelevant to you, but you’d be wrong. Yes, it is simplistic, but no, it’s not irrelevant. It’s simplistic because you’re talking to people you already know to get new business (referrals) instead of people you don’t know (cold calls). And it’s relevant because referral business is usually the best kind. Most businesses get 80% of their revenue from 20% of their clients – The 80-20 Rule.
The key is to use the magic words and adopt a referral mindset. The magic words aren’t actually magical, they’re just a constant reminder to have that referral mindset and coach your friends, clients, and other people in your network to think of you when someone mentions a need for your product or service (top-of-mind awareness).
When you’re speaking with clients or even at a party with friends, you could say magic words such as: “When you come across someone who needs what I have to offer, will you arrange for us to get together? I believe we will all benefit if you do.” Build that ‘referral consciousness’ so they know to mention you when a situation arises.
Last but not least, provide tremendous value. When you do a good job and provide tremendous value, you exponentially increase your referability – not sure if that’s a word, but it means that more people will want to refer you to others because you do a great job and it will make them look good.
The ‘magic’ is just showing up and being top-of-mind. As Woody Allen once said, “80% of success is showing up.”
I hope that helps and as always, email me with any questions.
To Your Continued Success,