Episode 22: LinkedIn for Referrals and Permission to Name Drop
Listen as the Social Sales Link Team talks about “LinkedIn Referrals and Permission to Name Drop”.
In this episode, you will learn about referrals as an absolute most powerful way to start a conversation with a buyer and use it to ask permission to name drop.
Hey! Welcome to another episode of Making Sales Social Live, where today we’re going to talk about one of our absolute favorite topics, which is LinkedIn for referrals and permission to name drop. Brynne, why is this one of our most favorite topics?
Brynne Tillman 0:17
Well, you know, it’s because of this ability that got me to actually launch Social Sales Link in the first place. So it has that much gravitas, right? Back when I was in sales and sales training, we knew that the absolute most powerful way to start a conversation with a buyer was through referral from a client or a strategic alliance, a center of influence. But what would happen is, I’d say; “hey, Bob, I know you’re probably connected to quite a few people like yourself that could leverage our services the same way you have, who do you know that you could introduce me to?”. Right, and that’s the face they go; “hmm. I can’t think of anyone right now. But if someone should ask, I’d always be very happy to introduce you”. Right, that’s the conversation. And while we still needed to ask for these introductions, and their referrals on a consistent basis, it was always frustrating for me to get very few from that process. However, when I did get them, they were amazing. So we’ve continued to ask, fast forward a decade or two. And I recognize that LinkedIn as it came into play, that it had a magic power that solved this problem. You know, I was teaching this as a sales tool in this way before anyone even knew that it was a sales tool. And it was exactly this, this referral and permission to name drop, we are now able all of us to connect with someone and filter and search their connections, to build out a list of people that they know that we’d like to meet, and run the names by them. And we have a very specific way of doing that. So that we’re not overstepping your boundaries with our network. But I don’t know if you want to talk a little bit about, kind of that process.
Bill McCormick 2:17
What I want to really, kind of start talking about is the fact that I think there are so many sales professionals that are on LinkedIn that have no clue that they can even do that. Or they have an idea, they think it’s possible, but no one’s ever shown them how, or what they’re doing is they’re just using LinkedIn to find people. And then they’re just pitching, you know, and they haven’t earned the right, and they come across as salesy, and they come across as a kind of commission breath, as our friend, Larry Levine would say. What’s so great about LinkedIn, is the fact that you can, when you’re connected with someone, and if they’re a true networker, they’re going to have their connections as being public, as being viewed, you should always do that. You can go in there, and so let’s say that I’m selling marketing services to large corporations. And so I want to find other marketing people, which, by the way, if you’re selling to marketing people, LinkedIn is the top place to find them. Because 98% of marketers say they use LinkedIn every day, no extra for that little tip there. So what I can do is I can go into Bob’s connections, I can either go to his profile, click on the number of connections, he has to pull it up, or on the search in the free version of LinkedIn, I can click and pull up connections of him, and put Bob’s name in there, and select him, and click second degree. So these are going to be people that Bob knows, that Bob’s connected to on LinkedIn, that I’m not, and then I get down to the title. And then if I’m in a geographical area, I can put that in the search to refine it. If I’m looking to go to expand in just a certain industry category, I can put that in there. But I want to go down to the title and I’m going to put in some titles of people in marketing, so VP of Marketing, Director of Marketing. And then when I click search, I’m going to find all the people that Bob’s already connected to that fit my ideal client profile. So now this is magic. Now, the next part is to get Bob on the phone, get them on a zoom call, if we’re happy to be able to meet in person, and be able to go through this list and find out from Bob who he would be able to either introduce me to, or we could use permission to name dropping, we should probably define those two things a little further.
Brynne Tillman 4:34
Yeah. So now I have this conversation and I’m gonna start this, Bob, I’m gonna have with you. Let’s roleplay a little bit: “Hey, Bob, I noticed you’re connected to quite a few people on LinkedIn, then I’m going to be reaching out to you in the next couple of weeks. I’m wondering if you’d be open to a quick 10-minute call to review these names with me, and you know, provide some insights before I actually reach out. Would that be okay with you?”.
Bob Woods 4:58
Sure, get on my calendar. That’s fine.
Brynne Tillman 5:00
Excellent. So now we schedule a 15-minute call: “Bob, thank you so much for taking my call and your willingness to review these names with me”. So I now pull up this list, and you go through the list, and what are some things that you might say?
Bob Woods 5:12
So John Smith, and no idea who he is. Now, Sally, I do know her, I’ve talked to her probably the last time. I probably talked to her. It was about six months ago, in relation to a deal. I definitely know her. Stan is a good friend of mine. In fact, we had, we played golf and had cigars just over the weekend.
Brynne Tillman 5:32
And so maybe 2025 names, becomes eight names that Bob now says: “I know this person, I know this person”, I’m going to ask him. Do you think this is someone that could benefit from my services, the way you have?
Bob Woods 5:47
Brynne Tillman 5:48
Awesome! So now there’s two paths, the introduction is; “Thank you for your insights of these eight people. Who on this list would you feel comfortable introducing me to?”.
Bob Woods 6:00
Definitely Stan and Sally, and probably Jonathan as well.
Brynne Tillman 6:05
Awesome. So now what I want to do is say; “Bob, thank you so much for your willingness. Would you like me to send you a little paragraph?”. And then all you have to do is copy us both in an email to make that introduction.
Bob Woods 6:15
Yeah, absolutely. That sounds–
Brynne Tillman 6:16
Now I’m gonna write a paragraph, that says from Bob’s–”You know, I’ve been working with Brynne for the last couple of years, she’s done this, and this. I think it would be of great value for you to jump on a call with her. Even if you don’t work together, you’ll get some insights on how to grow your business”. Great. I write that I give that to Bob, he now makes those three introductions. There are five more, right, there were eight names. So Bob, I really appreciate it, I’ll get that introduction over to you. When I reach out to the other five, notice that I didn’t ask him permission, then I’m still gonna reach out to them. When I reach out to the other five, is it okay, if I mentioned you’ve been my happy client, and you think I might be able to help them as well.
Bob Woods 6:53
Out of the other five, I’d say the only one probably not to reach out to would be James, because we’re not really speaking right now. So I don’t think I can help you very much. But the other ones are great for it.
Brynne Tillman 7:08
So I love that right now. It doesn’t mean I’m not going to reach out to James, it just means I know now not to drop Bob’s name, right? And now of the other folks, I reached out, I know, Phil, Bob Woods and I were chatting the other day, I start with Bob’s name. That’s what we have in common, that’s why they’ll keep breathing. Bob Woods and I were chatting the other day, and your name came up in our conversation. He thought it made sense for me to reach out and introduce myself. I’ve been working with him for the last couple of years. And he believes I could bring some value to you and your business, even if we don’t work together. Let’s set up a quick 15-minute call, I’m happy to share some insights. I connect on LinkedIn, Bill, thanks so much for connecting with me on LinkedIn, I’m looking forward to sharing insights around X, Y, and Z. Based on Bob’s recommendation, here’s a link to my calendar, boom! Right, now we’ve done both, we’ve asked for referrals, and we’ve asked for permission to name drop. And about half of those become conversations, Bill–
Bill McCormick 8:09
So some important things to just to point out here. So first of all, you want to make it as easy-as-possible for the other person, right? They’re doing you a favor, you also don’t want to wear out, you’re welcome with this. And another thing you can do is you can say: “Hey, and is there anyone in my network that you want to be introduced to?” because you want to reciprocate that. But also, as Brynne said, she’s going to write that paragraph out and send it to Bob, so that Bob doesn’t have to think he just has to do it. Because again, we want to make–Listen, there are people in your network who are classic referrers, right? There may be part of that kind of a culture. So they’re used to– maybe they get a lot of referrals, they give a lot of referrals. There, you’re not gonna have to worry about them, other than maybe they’re busy. So you make it easy, other people will be people that will tell you all day long that they’re going to give you referrals and send you referrals, and you get goose eggs. So then you want to go the route of permission to name drop, because permission to name drop, we retain control of the referral. We’re not waiting for somebody to do something, we’re just getting permission, and then we’re running with it, and retaining the timing. So important points to point out.
Brynne Tillman 9:21
Yeah, so what I would say I mean, we obviously teach a lot about LinkedIn and social selling about the profile that’s social listening, about content, about nurturing. But I will tell you, this particular session of talking about LinkedIn for referrals and permission to name drop, is the fastest time to pipeline, right? This is the easiest way, the short game, right? This is the short game of sales. If you do this well with the right people and we have had clients that have booked conversations within hours of this process, right? So we’ve done it as well. So the bottom line is if you are a true salesperson, and you want to leverage LinkedIn to its fullest, make sure you embrace these referrals and permission to name drop. And don’t try to speed the process up. Because as soon as you try to speed it up, and you try to, I’m not going to talk to my client, I’m just going to name-drop them. It breaks, right, because maybe I reached out to James and now I’ve named dropped Bob without any insight. The other thing is Bill can reach out to Bob and say; “Bob, who’s this Brynne Tillman, she just dropped your name”. And I could burn two bridges really fast, right? (Bob) Yep. And so, it’s really important. You know, everything that we teach comes from integrity and authenticity, and responsibility to our network to maintain that consistency across the board, so that we never lose trust with anyone in our network. And everything that we’re doing is authentic. And so when you try to speed this process up, things break, and it can really hurt your reputation. (Bob) things break bad.
Bill McCormick 11:11
I want to leave everyone with a challenge. Look at your calendar, over the next few days, what clients are you having meetings with that you’re just going to get together and talk? What referral partners are you meeting with to just have, you know, that one-to-one coffee, where you both kind of talk a little bit, but nothing ever really gets done. Go and look at their connections, and mine their connections for people you want to be introduced to, and send them emails that say; “hey, we’re getting together on Wednesday, I just had–took a look, and I found X amount of people you’re connected with. I would love to be in front of–can we schedule 15-minutes during our time to just talk about that?”. I challenge you to do that, and then message us and tell us about the appointment from that. Because I guarantee, you’re going to get appointments from that.
Brynne Tillman 11:56
I love that. That’s a great way to wrap this up guys, ultimately go out leverage your network the right way, and you will fill your pipeline on a consistent basis.
Amen. So thanks again for listening to another Making Sales Social Live. We’ll see you next time.
Permission to name-drop is an important tactic to use when seeking referrals because you keep control of the referral, you’re not waiting for someone to make the introduction for you, and you’re making the process easy for your networking partner so they will be happy to give you that permission.