Word has it that 66% of all sales are through word of mouth, but only 18% of sales representatives and companies have a formalized process for business referrals.
There is another way to look at this statistic: Are you part of the 82% who are going after the 34% of sales that are not influenced by word of mouth or business referrals?
Most sales representatives find it tough to get business referrals, but it doesn’t have to be.
Here are 6 ways to get business referrals from clients and acquaintances:
Let Everyone Know What You Do
This is more for acquaintances but you should let people you meet also know what you do. It is said that everyone has a network of 250 people and these 250 people know 250 people. This means that you can have access to up to 62,500 people.
Imagine how many of these people could potentially use what you sell.
Ask for Referrals
As crazy as this sounds, you should just ask people you do business with or who you know, who they may know that they could refer you to.
Form Relationships with Synergistic Companies
Why not look to other sales people in non-competing, synergistic companies to generate business referrals?
For instance, if you are a home renovation company, consider working with an interior designer so that you can share business referrals back and forth.
Networking events are a great way to meet people that can help you with business referrals. A great resource to for networking events is Meetup.com . All you have to do is go to Meet Up and look for different networking events in your town or city.
If you can’t find one in your town or for your industry, then join Meet Up and start one. I did this and I run two groups in Calgary. I have meet lots of great people and been given some great introductions to people that have translated into business.
One of the best features of LinkedIn  is the ability to see people in your network who are in other peoples network that you my not be connected to.
For example, if you want to get in to see a Vice President of Sales for a company, you can go to LinkedIn and see if this person is on LinkedIn. You can then look and see who you know who may know them.
Then all you do is approach your connection to see if they can introduce you to the Vice President of Sales that you want to meet.
The best way to get business referrals is to give referrals. Always be listening to see if people need help. If you know someone that can help them, then it is your obligation to make a referral.
One Last Note
It’s one thing to get a business referral, but to take things to a whole new level, get introductions. Take your referral process to the next level and get your contacts to line up meetings to personally introduce you to referrals.
Referrals  Photo via Shutterstock