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Apr 16, 2024 Ryan Humphreys

Social Selling Success: Mastering Digital Introductions & Referrals

Listen to this blog - Social Selling Success: Mastering Digital Introductions & Referrals

Cold calling, a tactic that dominated sales for decades, is no longer as effective. Today, buyers are increasingly turning to their networks for trusted recommendations. This is where social selling comes in, leveraging the power of your online connections to build relationships and generate leads. 

But how can you take your social selling efforts to the next level? Enter the magic bullet of social selling: digital introductions and referrals.

A sales referral is simply getting your brand or product recommended to another company or individual. So why is it so effective? Customers trust referrals. 

A whopping 92% of buyers trust referrals from people they know. This is no surprise. Recommendations from a trusted source carry a powerful weight, instantly building trust and credibility with potential customers.

But it's not just buyers who benefit. For salespeople, referrals can be a game-changer. Studies by McKinsey show that referrals can increase conversion rates by up to 70% and boast a 66% faster close time.


Why Referrals Work in Social Selling

Social selling thrives on connections, and digital introductions and referrals unlock three key benefits that fuel your social selling efforts.

  1. Broadening Your Sphere of Influence
    Traditionally, salespeople rely on their own network. Referrals allow you to tap into the vast networks of your existing connections, dramatically expanding your reach and uncovering potential leads you wouldn't have found otherwise.
  2. Warmer Leads, Faster Conversions 
    Referral prospects are pre-qualified by default. They come pre-sold on your brand by a trusted source, leading to warmer conversations and faster conversions. Remember, the referrer has already vouched for you, giving you a significant head start in building trust.
  3. Vote of Confidence
    A referral is more than just an introduction. It's a public endorsement from someone your prospect respects. The referrer is essentially putting their reputation on the line by recommending you, sending a powerful signal that you're a credible and trustworthy solution provider.


Asking for Digital Introductions and Referrals: The Process

The good news is that referrals are abundant. The bad news is that only 11% of salespeople actually ask for them. This presents a golden opportunity!

Here's how to transform yourself into a referral-generating machine:

  • Identify Key Accounts: Who are you trying to reach? Once you know who you're looking for, map out the key decision-makers within those companies. LinkedIn Sales Navigator can help you identify prospects, create lead lists, and thanks to their new Account IQ feature, it will also help you provide in-depth financial/competitive data.
  • Leverage Your Network: Your existing connections are your most valuable asset. Review your network on LinkedIn to identify individuals who might have connections within your target companies.
  • Cultivate Relationships: Don't just blast out blind referral requests. Invest time in building genuine relationships with people in your network. Offer your expertise, share valuable content, and be helpful whenever possible. Remember, people are more likely to recommend someone they know, like, and trust.
  • Make the Ask: Once you've nurtured a relationship, it's time to ask! Don't be afraid to directly request an introduction to a specific individual within their network.

Requesting a digital introductionExample Template - Requesting a Digital Introduction

Let’s dive deeper into making the ask for a referral. Instead of a blunt request for a "sales call," frame your message around the potential for a valuable conversation. Explain who you're looking to connect with, why, and how it could benefit their network.

Personalisation is paramount. Briefly mention something specific you've learned about the target person's work or a shared connection you noticed. This demonstrates you've done your homework and adds a genuine touch.

Keep it concise and to the point. Nobody wants to wade through a lengthy email. Explain who you'd like to be introduced to and why you believe a conversation could be mutually beneficial.

Maintain a friendly and professional tone. Think of it as reaching out to a friend of a friend. You want to be approachable and respectful.

Finally, if you have any mutual connections, be sure to highlight them! This instantly establishes a foundation of trust and makes the introduction more likely to happen.

How to Know When to Ask For a Referral

Timing is indeed critical when it comes to asking for referrals. It's an art that requires a bit of strategic planning! 

One prime moment to consider is after you've proven your worth to a connection. Whether you've provided exceptional service, solved a pressing issue, or demonstrated your expertise, this is when your credibility is at its peak. 

Your connection is satisfied with your performance and more inclined to share their positive experience with others in their network.

Similarly, when you've just completed a project or achieved a significant milestone with a client, it presents an ideal opportunity to discuss referrals. At this juncture, the client's satisfaction is fresh, and their enthusiasm for your services is likely at its peak. 

Seize this moment to capitalise on their goodwill and ask for introductions to others who could benefit from your expertise.

If a connection has successfully referred you previously, it indicates a level of trust and satisfaction that you can leverage for further referrals.
Express appreciation for their past support and gently explore the possibility of extending their endorsement to others in their network.

The launch of a new product or service can serve as a strategic trigger for referral requests. Your network may be intrigued by the novelty and eager to share it with their contacts. 

Use this momentum to engage with your connections, highlighting your offering’s unique value proposition and inviting them to contribute to its success.

Lastly, if you've recently developed compelling marketing content that showcases your expertise or the benefits of your products/services, it can serve as a powerful catalyst for referral requests. 

Sharing this content with your network reinforces your credibility and primes them to be receptive to your referral requests.
Trust us - timing your request for referrals will increase your chances of success!

Set Your Sales Team Up For Social Selling Success

It's crucial to equip your sales team with the tools and knowledge they need to thrive in this new era of sales. At Tribal Impact, we understand the transformative potential of social selling, and we're here to support you every step of the way.

If you’re ready to invest in your sales team’s growth and development and enjoy the benefits of effective social selling, take a look at our Social Selling training program

Ready to supercharge your social selling program?

About Tribal Impact

Tribal Impact is a B2B Social Selling and Employee Branding Agency.

We're a team of social media strategists, trainers, coaches, content creators and data analysts who are passionate about helping our B2B customers develop and scale their social selling and employee advocacy programs.

Learn more about us here.

Published by Ryan Humphreys April 16, 2024
Ryan Humphreys