B2B sales. The right way.

How to use Linkedin to get referrals

When you show customers that you care, they start to like you and, eventually, tell others about you. That’s why we work on developing new ways to deeply connect with clients. Salespeople know referrals are the best way to generate easily workable leads, but unless your company is the hottest startup on the market, people won’t feel any need to talk about you with their network. That’s why I wanna show you a trick to get referred more. 

Piece of cake (but you have to cut it right)

Traditional methods of asking for referrals don’t work well. In one of his posts, Matt Heinz wrote “If you ask for a referral all the time – at the bottom of your emails, on your letterhead, in your voicemail message – it’s going to get annoying fast. But if you ask when I’m most likely to refer you,[…]most happy with what you’ve done for me, your chances of getting the referral go up”.

So spamming your client inboxes with messages like this:

example of sppaming message on linkedin

…will only get you this response:

man with crazy face

“Mike’s a cool dude, he wouldn’t react like that”. Even if he were your best friend, you’ve just asked someone to do a lot of work for YOUR benefit and for free. He’d have to research the best people to contact, write messages and email them, getting deals for you in return. Let’s be honest, this doesn’t add up. 

All the “Mikes” of this world are getting busier and busier, forced to only do stuff that has a potential upside for them. So if you’re thinking of using the above method, let me share a pro-tip with you: don’t even try.

Invite your clients

What should you do then? I say use anything you can to improve it – I used Linkedin.

First of all, remember to always invite your clients (actual and potential) on LinkedIn. If you want this strategy to work, you have to make it a habit. 

Apart from that you can just send invitations to everyone you meet on business occasions, create a big network which can generate many opportunities. 

Time for stalking on Linkedin

When you’re connected on LinkedIn, you can check their network for people that fit your ideal customer profile. Your job here is to find those that will definitely benefit from a deal with you. Here are the steps I take to find them:

Go to the right profile and click “connections”:

bartosz majewski network of contact on linkedin
Filter the list by job titles (CEO/Sales Manager etc.):
list of contacts
Now let’s do some magic – go into “advanced search”:
additional option for search
 Here you can narrow your search, for instance to a certain location:

how find a location for referrals

Remember not to make it hard for them to introduce you. For instance, try not to pick CEO’s of competing companies.
 
Obviously you’ll get more from the above process if you invest in a premium version. I really recommend it, that 60 euro/month really pays off when you can browse Linkedin with no limitations.

Ask for the intro

What you got from LinkedIn is a legitimate list of prospects, which you can use to move forward. Their profiles show their companies, so you can easily check which one you’d like to work with. Pick five to ten people and ask “Mike” for an introduction. My template for this kind of request looks like this: 

Hey [name],

I noticed that you have:

  1. Jason from TurboSoft,
  1. Eduardo from WeCanDoIT,
  1. Franz from GiantCorp 

in your LinkedIn network. From here it looks like they match RightHello’s ideal customer profile and could benefit from doing a project with us. Would it be a problem for you to introduce me to them?

I’d be in your debt if you do so! And remember that I’m like The Lannisters – always pay my debts. :)

Best,

Michal

If you do it in a pleasant way and “Mike” likes you (meaning he enjoyed doing business with you), you will definitely get introduced.
 
You can make it even more awesome by preparing a message template for personalization, to start a conversation with your new lead. Here’s a copy we usually use at RightHello:

Hi [name],

I hope everything is great!

I’d like to introduce Michal from RightHello. They delivered us pretty cool results with their lead generation efforts. I think you could benefit from their services, or even a short Skype to see what it’s about.

Cheers!

Enjoy referral leads

I think it’s a smart way of asking for referrals, one that will not put your business relations at risk (by desperately nagging them until they include you in their spamlist). Plus it’s pure joy to chase LinkedIn referral leads. You’re in a position where the clients you’re approaching already know doing business with you adds value, now use it to close the deal. 

PS. Linkedin even has it’s own Sales Navigatorwhich is a separate product that you might find useful, perhaps to build on the concept I gave you and generate leads only from Linkedin.

If you’d like to read more about referrals, try these posts:

3 Ways That Actually Work to Ask for Referrals in B2B Sales by Garrett Hollander

How to do Referral Sales by Steli Efti

How Does Your Brand Impact Referrals by Lee W. Frederiksen



  • http://www.heinzmarketing.com Matt Heinz

    Great advice guys, nice work!

    • Piotr Zaniewicz

      Thanks a lot! :)

  • http://www.salesstaff.com Garrett Hollander

    Really well-written post, Piotr. The templates are spot on.

    • Piotr Zaniewicz

      Thanks Garrett! :)