warm introductions in sales

How I Make my Introductions as Warm as Cookies…

In sales or general business – there is something better than the free socks you get at every start up event…warm introductions.

If you ask any C-level or above, they are 10x more likely to respond to your email or phone call if you have been referred by a person they like, trust or respect.

Most cold emails generate a 1-2% response rate.

I find that my warm referrals normally receive a 40% response rate – which is conservatively 20x-40x more likely than a standard email, so the number I have quoted above at 10x is the bare minimum you should aim to achieve when opening new doors.

Despite the efficacy of the technique above, why do we continually fail to execute?

There are three key reasons.

Over-reliance on Sales Automation Platforms

The technology industry just like the consumer market is subject to be repetitive cycles. A product hits the market which has the ability to improve the way organizations influence prospects in the short to medium term, but as adoption increases, the unique benefit evaporates as it becomes more mainstream.

Technologies like e-signing and auto-dialing were all the rage and now are considered a standard part of the stack rather than a new edge over the competition. Continuing this notion, sales automation platforms are the new fad.

Unfortunately I don’t feel comfortable naming these companies – but the way in which they approach mass sending makes them as difficult to spot as an oncoming freight train. We all know them and we all now ignore messages from them.

In the right hands, they do still have some utility. However under a status quo where sales leaders often neglect training & best practices amidst a host of other priorities – inexperienced sales development and account executives are doing more damage than good for 95% of the B2B companies I encounter.

A churn and burn approach – where sales reps send mediocre emails to 100s of brands at a time without fear of recompense – creates a nightmare for future expansion when companies look to improve their growth curve.

Companies are forced to pull the emergency life line to the marketing department, who are tasked with resurrecting the firm’s brand reputation from the Silicon Valley graveyard.

By this time, referrals aren’t just impractical they are unattainable.

Sales Representatives with a Malnourished Rolodex

In this day and age – where the average sales rep moves jobs every 15 months – most individuals don’t have a book of business which they can leverage effectively as they move from organization to organization as there is a tendency to overtax their previous companies as they move from offering to offering.

Furthermore – younger reps are not taught how to network and approach this in such an artificial way that decision makers can see the intent of a sale a mile away.

How many times have you been at an event and someone appears all to eager to start talking about their product in the first two minutes, instead of taking time to connect with you at a personal level?

We Don’t Know how to Ask for a Referral

Continuing the point above, reps simply don’t know how to ask for a referral.

Just as they don’t know the right way to cultivate their Rolodex over time to create genuine connections for future deals – the knack of sending the right email isn’t natural without practice.

We often send emails out of the blue asking for an introduction with no context and no subtlety – so let me share my secret.

Warmer Introductions than Cookies

To foster warm introductions – use this three step process.

Firstly I add each high priority person I speak to into an email database – to which I send a personal update about me every 3 months. I want my contacts to softly think about me from time to time and in every email – I invite them to tell me about what has gone on with their life – to which I reply to every email personally.

When it comes to reaching out they feel like they know me more than ever and I know them – turning what is normally a bother into a pleasure filled task. A few rules for this include:

  • Make sure this newsletter talks more about you and less about your business
  • Only add people who you consider your personal advocates and friends i.e. you have done business with for long enough for them to feel personally connected to you
  • Give everyone to opt out easily in the body – the last thing you need is people hating the fact they are on the list. In fact, everyone who unsubscribes is helping you. They are explicitly revealing that they aren’t as close to you as you thought & should be removed.
  • Use lots of pictures rather than words- they are always more fun and engaging than words

Secondly, try to be less artificial when you actually meet people in person. Ask them about their interests, use genuine compliments and position yourself as someone who is fun and engaging to be around. When it comes to connecting ask the simple question –

“What is the best way to keep in touch so we don’t forget about this…”

The final step is to actually email something which is likely to convert. I have five baseline criteria which enable my emails to work:

  • Mention something you read that concerned them recently via Linkedin, Facebook or Twitter – “I saw you are now a dad, congratulations.”
  • State the importance of the introduction to you and your career – “This deal is make or break for me this quarter.”
  • Ask what you can do in return and make some suggestions – “I see one of your sales reps is trying to break into X account – could I help in return with an intro? Is there anything else I could assist with that is important to you.”
  • Give them a pre-written template and invite them to make edits – “I took the time to write the email which could be helpful, please feel free to send it in your own words.”
  • Thank them in advance. This adds the emotional trigger which influences them to take action.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below & feel free to InMail me if you would like to see some of my most successful templates.

Stop paying for sales tools & data when the way to make more connections is sitting under your very nose!

About The Author

Dailius Wilson

Dailius Wilson is the 24 year old founder of WolfofYorkStreet.com – helping the world's top SaaS companies to optimise their sales and marketing efforts. Dailius is currently a Director at TrustRadius and a digital blogger at increasemyonlinebusiness.com. Dailius was named as one of the Top 30 Entrepreneurs in Australia for 2015 by Anthill Online and was ranked in the Top 100 SEO Experts in the World. Dailius has also been a guest on the Ellen Degeneres Show and has over 10,000,000 views on Youtube