I made this sales mistake recently!
By Phil Lee
A client had recently been asking me to make contact with a very close business associate of his in an allied company. He was adamant that it would make sense for us to talk.
I reached out a few times to his colleague to initiate a conversation and found that it was proving difficult to make this happen. It seemed that speaking with me was not a priority for him. I relayed this information to my client and suggested that we leave it for the time being.
He was again adamant that we should talk.
Finally, after another failed attempt to reach him, I suggested that there was no sense in following this “referral” up. His response was that he would have his colleague call me that afternoon. His colleague did call me and we scheduled a meeting. To make our meeting more useful I asked him to complete a brief questionnaire and send it to me prior to the meeting. He said he would look at it and “try” and complete it.
I think you may have already guessed what happened! He did not complete the questionnaire and (more as a favour to my client than anything else) I attended the scheduled meeting anyway. He was a nice guy but, needless to say, we did not have an overly fruitful business meeting!
So what did I do wrong?
I overlooked the fact that, although my client felt it was a must for us to meet, his colleague seemingly did not! I should have politely thanked him for the referral but declined the meeting UNLESS his colleague was as keen and eager for us to meet!
The lesson is that a referral MUST want to meet you as much as the referrer wants you to meet. Anything less and it’s just like a cold call!
I hope you benefit from my mistake.