A referral kit is a physical prop that a referral partner can use to introduce you to a potential new customer. It usually consists of information that will help the potential new customer in four ways –
- One – it helps them understand the problem and the consequences of inaction.
- Two – helps them understand the possible solutions .
- Three – it presents a first step to resolving the problem, which is often a phone call or meeting with you.
- Four – it elevates your authority in the mind of the prospect as a legit industry expert to enhance your level of trust.
Rather than just introducing you via a crappy email introduction, your referral partner hands over a referral kit to the potential customer. The goal of this kit, the only goal, is to enable them to get on a phone call or to have a sit-down meeting with them.
In sales, a referral is the key to the door of resistance
As Bo Bennett once said, “in sales, a referral is the key to the door of resistance.” Potential buyers will be far less resistant to work with you if they know for a fact you’ve done right by other people.
There are a number of reasons why this approach to gaining referrals is so incredibly powerful. First off, it removes all of the sales pressure from all sides of the conversation. You are removing the immediate possibility of a pesky salesperson chasing someone on the phone or over email. This then facilitates easier referrals because both your referral partners will not feel awkward passing it on versus making an introduction and the potential customer doesn’t have any sales pressure on them either.
However, your referral kit is not a sales brochure. The purpose of the kit is to educate. You are helping the potential customer better understand their problem and then help them to analyse the options. When you put the first step right in front of them at the end of your referral kit, bam, that is the icing on the educational cake.
Additionally, the referral kit can be seen as a gift. There is a layer of value being given to the potential customer from the referral partner when the hand this over. Again, doubling down on the reasons why your referral partner will make some referrals for you. It turns the conversation from “will you meet with my friend because they can sell you something”, to “I just read this, I see you have the same problem that I did, here is a potential solution for you.”
A referral kit elevates you from a salesperson to an industry expert.
Finally, a referral kit elevates you from a salesperson to an industry expert. It is a true differentiator in the marketplace. We are taught from an early age that people who are able to publish, who are able to put words on paper or produce high quality video content or those who are able to speak in front of a crowd are experts.
Clearly anyone can publish a book on Amazon these days, but it didn’t used to be so easy and so we still have these ingrained thoughts and initial opinions about those around us who have hit publish. And so downstream from this, when we’re introduced to a new individual via content, we are immediately a higher status in our industry than those who are just picking up a phone and cold calling the dollars. Just to give you some statistics on the issue, Career Builder report that a whopping 82% of employers say that employee referrals are the most important in generating the best return on investment.
82% of employers say that employee referrals are the most important in generating the best return on investment.
So, what the hell goes in our referral kit has seemingly could be video downloads, reports, any piece of content right?
Well a great referral kit actually includes five distinct parts. Each part is essential to building huge trust and additionally positioning you as an expert in your industry. It’s important to include all of these steps as they are building blocks on top of each other.
WHAT MAKES A GREAT REFERRAL KIT
One – ask questions, give results.
In creating the content of your referral kit, we should follow the proven advertising formula of – present the problem, make it painful, solve the problem. So, we must begin by explaining the problems that your prospect faces. We need to get in sync with your prospect, even if they already know the problem they have they should still explain. This shows empathy as we demonstrate we are on the same wavelength as them.
Then we need to ask ourselves a question – what problems do they actually want to be solved? All too often salespeople get excited about the problems their prospects have, even though the prospects don’t give a shit about solving them.
A good way of building a structure for your referral content is to include all the common questions in the content that inbound prospects typically ask you.
A good way of building a structure for your referral content is to include all the common questions in the content that inbound prospects typically ask you. Then of course raise up the pain for each of these problems by projecting into the future where the client or prospect will be if it is not resolved and this is going to get them excited to call you.
Two – the first step
Once you presented the problem to your prospects and you’ve talked about the future consequences if they don’t act now, it’s time to relieve some of this pain. We’re gonna give them a peek at the solution or at least the first step of it.
Oh, we don’t need to create a 300-page book on how they can solve the problem themselves. I don’t think this is actually counterintuitive as most buyers could probably solve most of their problems if they had enough time. What they really want is someone to solve the problem for them. However, our time is important here in B2B sales and so we don’t need to go that deep into solving the problem, we only need to comment on the first step.
The first step should start to reveal a bit of the future, it should excite them, should get them tapping their toes ready to take action.
Three – what you can bring
Now that you expressed your understanding of the problem, you’ve built some trust and rapport in the process, it’s time to show them step number two in resolving their levels of pain. This, sales legends, is essentially what we tell them they need to buy from us.
We need to do this with the lowest barrier to entry as possible. For example, rather than selling endoscopes into a hospital, I tell them the next step is for me to call in and review the existing stock of endoscopes to see if any of them actually need to be replaced or if there are other maintenance tasks that can be done to improve their current stocks lifespan.
It might be a product demo, it might be a design session for example for a marketing agency. But for most businesses selling complex things in a higher-level sales cycle, the next step is typically a one-to-one meeting of some kind. We know it is a sales meeting, but we’re not going to call it that because industry expert consultants don’t sell, they solve problems.
As you cracked this step of the referral kit remember you are still scary to a prospect as a sales professional. You need to continue to take away as much risk as possible from the conversation and frame it up simply as more value being added to them.
Four – that you know your shit
Throughout this process your potential customers are looking for clues that you can be trusted and that you will do what you claim you will do. Forget about trying to reassure them yourself, you need to have other people speak for you.
The testimonial is king here. Now you don’t want to just smother your referral kit with people saying nice things, this immediately turns it into a sales brochure rather than something with been produced to really help someone solve a problem you need to firstly include testimonials from individuals who are specifically like your potential customer – if you’re selling to a CFO you need to have testimonials from the C suite in there.
Next is the formula of the testimonial itself. We don’t want a one or two line quote saying for example, “the Sales School helped us increase our turnover by 20%.” We need a four-step approach –
- A – The prospect must introduce themselves so that you again can link the testimonial to your new potential customer.
- B – They must explain the challenge that they faced and what life looked like when this problem loomed over their heads.
- C – They describe the solution that they found…which is you. They then describe the relief that they had from working with you.
- D – Now we come into today specifically, they explain that the problem is solved, the results that were delivered, how life is different, and importantly…nothing about you. You helped in the middle of the story, in the chaos, but the person giving the testimonial is the hero in the story.
You can get these testimonials over a five-minute phone call which you can transcribe or even better yet if you can get this on video. Once it’s transcribed it can be turned into a cool two minutes testimonial and when you have five or six of these really powerful on a webpage for example.
Five – Don’t be scared of giving away too much.
Some salespeople, and even more so than any entrepreneurs listening to this, are scared about giving away their full solution because they think the prospect will just do it themselves rather than hire them, or by their product or service.
This is complete nonsense, buyers are way too busy to be implementing any of this themselves. If that was their plan originally, you were never gonna sell them anyway.
Your ideal customers don’t want a DIY solution. They want someone to take care of the problems for them, so all you’re doing is positioning yourself to be that individual. Don’t over-complicate this, outline everything they need to do and immediately your more trustworthy than the salesperson cold calling them promising them miracles but not explaining how it’s going to happen.