Picture this: you’re having a conversation with a prospect and you realize that your solution is not something that they need at this time. You might be able to help them later but right now the conversation is not going to progress. You end the conversation graciously and move on.

If this is what happens, then I think you’ve made a very common mistake.  You may have let your need to move on to another prospect overtake your ability to recognize a new opportunity.  In fact, you should let that recognition that the prospect is not going to become your customer right now be a signal that it’s time to ask for a referral.  Assuming that you’ve done a good job establishing a relationship and listening to their needs, the prospect could be an excellent referral source for new business.

The reality is that as much as we may qualify prospects they won’t all be our customers.  In fact, we expect to close only a fraction of the number of people we speak to. The prospects we don’t close may not have a need for your solution right now, or perhaps the finances don’t work for them at this time. Frankly, it never feels good to be told “no,” But you can turn this around by asking for a referral.

One approach to transition to a referral request is to say: “I realize that we can’t offer you a solution right now, and I understand that. Is there anyone else in your sphere of influence that you think might be faced with this challenge?”

When you do this, your prospect will be impressed. They might have been expecting a different reaction – perhaps a quick exit and/or a show of disappointment. But asking for a referral shows your professionalism and communicates your confidence in the solution you offer.  Aside from getting a good referral, you may also be getting a prospect who decides to work with you when the time is right.

We all know that “no” doesn’t mean “no” forever. “No” means often “no” for right now. Leaving the discussion having demonstrated confidence in your solution and your strong interest in providing it to those who need it will differentiate you in a positive way.

At One of a Kind Sales, we love selling and we are experts at sales and cold calling, in particular. If you would like to discuss how we can help you and your team please contact us at 908-879-2911.