Episode 38: LinkedIn for Client Referrals
Listen as the Social Sales Link team talks about “LinkedIn for Client Referrals”.
In this episode, the Social Sales Link team will discuss how to get one of the most important thing we want from our clients – getting “External introduction.”
Bill McCormick 0:00
Welcome to another episode of Making Sales Social Live! Where today, we’re going to talk about: “LinkedIn for client referrals”, really, the secret weapon of LinkedIn, the magic power, the superpower of LinkedIn. You know, two weeks ago, we talked about the five things that we want from our clients, which were more business, internal introductions within a company, vendor introductions, well, recommendations and case studies. But the fifth one is we want “External introduction”. So let’s talk about that for a moment.
Brynne Tillman 0:35
I honestly believe this is the most powerful tool in the entire world, LinkedIn is the most powerful tool in the entire world, to allow us to get more client referrals and or permission to name drop. So I kind of want to go through that, here’s the thing, most of us in business development are asking for referrals. If we’re not, like, we’ve got to go back to the basics, and this is what it looks like: “Bob, I’m so glad we’ve been able to help you do X, Y, and Z. Who do you know, that could use our services the same way you have?”, and Bob will shrug his shoulders–
Bob Woods 1:11
And Bob is crickets at that point.
Brynne Tillman 1:12
Right, you shrug your shoulders, you know, “I can’t think of anyone right now. But if someone should ask, I’d be happy to refer you”. Well, we can’t afford to wait for referrals. So LinkedIn allows us to search and filter our clients connections, by location, by title, by industry, by company and really drill down to find a list of people that they know that we want to meet, and now the conversation is: “Hey, Bob, I happen to notice you’re connected to quite a few people on LinkedIn, I’d love to get in front of before I reach out to them. Can I run these names by you and get your thoughts?”. What do we do after that bill?
Bill McCormick 1:55
Because here’s what happens, it’s like Brynne said, like, we ask people, but we put them on the spot, deer in the headlights, like: “Oh, I don’t know, but maybe I’ll–”. So this week, you’ve got meetings scheduled with your clients, it should be part of your follow-up process. When you’re having meetings with your clients that before you meet with them, you go look through their LinkedIn connections and see, who do they know that you would like an introduction to? Because the way it looks is–now when I come into that meeting with Bob, who’s my client, he’s my happy client, things are great, and we’re just talking about maybe more business, or maybe we’re just talking about how things are going, or we’ve got something, a project that we’re working on together, I can just say at the end of the meeting: “Hey, Bob, Listen, before this meeting, I had a chance to look through your LinkedIn connections, and I noticed you’re connected on LinkedIn, the 10 people that I’m looking to get in front of, they’re my ideal client, you know, would you have like another 10 minutes to go through those names with me? Or could we make another appointment tomorrow, or later on today to talk about it”, and when Bob says: “Sure”, then what you can do is really quickly review those names, and if this is on Zoom, it’s fantastic, because what you can do is just share your screen and pull up their LinkedIn profiles. Because a lot of times I’ll ask Bob a name, and Bob would be like: “Hmm, I don’t remember that person”. But if you show a picture, and they see the profile, like: “Oh, yeah, Jerry, yeah, we go way back”, and so what you’re able to do is go through those names, and here’s what you’re looking–well Bob, tell him, what are we looking when we go through those names? What are we looking to get them to say?
Bob Woods 3:40
We’re looking to get them to say that, you know, either that, you know, sure, though, they’ll recommend and set up a meeting for that, or the other thing is, and it’s and it’s something that’s easier for us to do, as the people who are asking for these is to ask them permission to drop their name. So there’s a couple of advantages, they’re probably the biggest one is that you stay in control of the process at that point, you don’t have to depend on this third person who is obviously busy and you know, may drop the ball for a wide variety of reasons, none of them having to do with you, and so if you do that, and you take control of it, at that point, you can have a more directed outcome, because you’re the one who’s going to be reaching out and saying, you know: “Hey, Brynne and I were talking, and your name came up in a conversation”, and then you go from there, essentially, because you’ve named drop, you come in with more authority and more credibility, and they’ve, you know, to reference old mafia movies, they’ve vouched for you, essentially. So all of that is really great to get that conversation started with that connection of, you know, in this case brings connection.
Brynne Tillman 4:55
I love that! Here’s the thing, before we even get to that point, we’ve got to run these names by that client. (Bob) Oh, yeah, absolutely,(Brynne) and we’ve got to go through them and say, what about this guy? What about her? Is she good? Right? And ultimately, we want your client to agree to a couple things. Number one, this is a good connection for you, you want to ask them: Is this someone I should meet? You want your client to say, yes, and the second thing you want to do is get permission to mention that you’re my happy client, we had this conversation twice. It’s really three things: Yes, this is a good person for you to meet, I can mention you’re my happy client, and that we had this conversation and you know, so great. Now when we do exactly what Bob said, which is brilliant, we’re going to reach out if they go: “Yes, we want to get the introduction”. That’s one way, we want to focus on what Bob talked about, which was the name drop, right? So now we’ve got permission to go, okay, great. Now I reach out and I go: “Bill, Bob Woods, and I were chatting the other day, your name came up in our conversation, and he thought I should reach out to introduce myself. I’ve been working with Bob for the last couple of years on X, Y, and Z, and he thought I could bring some value to the conversation. Let’s connect”. So to Bob’s point, which I absolutely love, that name drop, that permission to name drop is a game-changer. As he said, we keep the sales process with us, and we’re leveraging these names getting through, yeah, Bill.
Bill McCormick 6:20
One of the things I’m going to say is there are some situations where you’re going to let that person make the introduction, right, there are certain clients you have that are well connected, and they’re true networkers, and if they tell you, they’re introducing you to somebody, like in the days when we were meeting face-to-face before you go back to your office, there’s an email, or a phone call, or something that was made,(Brynne) or lunch meeting,(Bill) right, or lunch meeting, right? It’s gone, you know that if they told you they were going to make an introduction, it happens, and definitely let that, I think it has a bit more weight. Also, fun talking to Brynne about someone should: “Oh, yeah, I’ve known her for 35 years, she was the, you know, she was the maid of honor at my wedding”, or she’s my–(Brynne)I was nine,(Bill) right, however many, that long, a long, long time. They’re my kids’ godparents or something, you see that close relationship, let that happen, because you’re going to commit it, on an even higher level at that point. But Bob’s point, and to Brynne’s point, by permission to name drop is probably going to be 90, if not 95% of the names that you have because you want to keep control, and especially with a customer, I was thinking this while Bob was talking, if a networker forgets to make an introduction, it’s just okay, they’re busy. If you have a client that says: “Oh, yeah, sure, I’ll make that introduction”, and it can mess with our heads because then we can start thinking: “Hmm, do they really like me? Are they really satisfied with the business I’m giving them, if they’re not willing to make–take that out themselves.
Brynne Tillman 7:50
Not only that, they now feel guilty that they didn’t do it. They’re gonna avoid your call: “Oh, my God, I still have to do that for Bill. I’m not gonna talk. I can’t take his call until I get that done”.
Bill McCormick 7:59
Definitely, you know, for the majority of these, it’s going to be that permission to name drop, and so you can do this right all on LinkedIn. So Bob tells Brynne: “Yes, Brynne’s a great person for you to connect with. Yes, you should mention my name”. So I sent Brynne a connection request, and it says: “Hi Brynne, Bob Woods and I were talking the other day and your name came up, please take a look at my profile, and if you think it makes sense, let’s connect”, then when Brynne accepts my connection requests, I can go back and say: “Hey Brynne, thanks so much for accepting my connection request, would love to loop you in and what Bob and I were talking about the other day, please let me know the best way to schedule I’ve included a link to my calendar below if you find that more convenient, best, Bill”, and now I put the ball back in Brynne’s court, and Brynne has got FOMO, right? So she wants to know; “What were they talking about about me?”, and so she’s gonna go ahead, and she’s going to accept that, and either give me some dates to meet, or she’s going to go on my calendar and schedule, and some people push back on this like, like, is it too forward to send a link to a calendar scheduling app, right, and I think it’s okay, Brynne came up with this great idea of saying, you know, let me know a few dates you’d like to talk or–go ahead, go ahead, you do it, you do it better.
Brynne Tillman 9:20
Because this is new for us.(Bob) Yeah. It’s new, so we’re playing it out, but I think the current perfected way is: “Bill let me know your preferred way of scheduling. If a call, if it happens to be through calendar links, here’s mine, pick a time that works for you”, so that we’re not putting them off and saying: “Well, you have to do all the work because we’re saying what is your preferred way of scheduling”.(Bob) Aaron? Hey, sup, buddy. (Brynne) We want our clients to associate only positive emotions with us. Yes, we don’t want to put them out if it doesn’t make sense. So if we have this conversation, they give us all this feedback and we take it from there. We have to maintain–the client relationship is worth way more than any referrals or introductions we could ever get, right? So we have to keep our relationship with that client intact, and sometimes by asking them to make introductions, when they’re not happy about that, it breaks down the trust and the camaraderie, and–right we’ve now put work on our clients to Bill’s point, and I’ll reiterate, I know we’re going in circles a little bit. But if there is a client that has made introductions for you before, that says: “Oh, I can introduce you to this gal”, you leverage it. Otherwise, the permission to name drop will make–
Bill McCormick 10:39
There’ll be some clients that you have that are just, they’re all referring to you. I’m thinking of one right now that for my wife’s business, constantly, we’re getting emails, my wife’s getting emails and says, so and so said, to contact you for this, you know, you’re safe with those folks. Sales is part science, part art, right? It’s really a mix of those two things, and part of the art is being able to read people’s relationships, if I’m in a business relationship with a new client, and we’re still in the midst of doing training. No, I’m not going to quite ask for referrals, or make introductions, but I am going to be compiling a list, I’m going to be doing some research and being ready to do that. Because one of the greatest times to do it is after you’ve completed a job for them, they’re very happy, and they send you that “attaboy” email that says: “Brynne, wow, thank you so much for being able to help us with the LinkedIn training for our sales team. The results have been phenomenal, we’re seeing these great results”. So immediately, Brynne wants to start thinking about two things: First of all, I want a recommendation, can you please go to my LinkedIn profile and give me a recommendation because this is a case study, this is something we’re going to use down the road. But then immediately I’m thinking: “Okay, who does Bill know that I need to know? So who can I start thinking about making these, asking for these introductions”, and it’s got to be thought out, and it’s got to be done when the timing is right. So again, it’s part science and you know, numbers and fact base, but then part of it is an art of feeling them out and talking to them and seeing: “Okay, now’s the time, now I’m ready”, and for every person it’s going to be different, for your industry it’s going to be different, for your customers it’s going to be different. It’ll be different with one customer that we have for Brynne, than it is for me, because we’re different, so that’s kind of where the art of it comes from.
Brynne Tillman 12:38
It’s interesting, Linda says, If you want a rigorous RFP, I think you can ask in the beginning, you certainly can. I don’t, I want a case study around the referral so that when I hop in, I can talk about the value that I brought or our common connection because that’s a bridge to ultimately, kind of converting them from: “Hey, I’m willing to take your call to I might be a prospect”. But how you run it is fine, if that works for you, absolutely, keep it up. I want to ask Bob a question, how do we technically, and this is gonna be hard to do, because we’re not sharing screens. But technically, how would I find out who my client knows, because if I click through and they have 979 connections, how do I identify the right ones?
Bob Woods 13:26
Yeah, so you would use LinkedIn filters for that at that point, and you can go to their profile, click on their connections, and then up top, you will have some filters up there. Probably the most important one, just to start out with, would be to just click on that second-degree connection, and then you can go over and click on more filters, and from there, that’s where you can really drill down to the people who you exactly want to see, and like Brynne said before, that could be just by geography, title, company name, industry type, and that sort of thing, essentially. But that additional filter button is where you really want to concentrate on as well as just selecting specifically second-degree connections.
Brynne Tillman 14:40
Right, and there’s a connection’s up, so that’s where you type in their name right?
Bob Woods 14:18
You can do that too, yep,(Brynne) yep.
Brynne Tillman 14:20
Oh, right, because you already did that, you went the backdoor way.
Bob Woods 14:25
I went to the profile first and then did that. So–(Brynne) we love that you did that,(Bob) there are more than–so obviously there’s more than one way to do this.(Bill) Many ways. (Bob) Yeah, there. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, there are actually many ways to get it started, but that’s definitely one of the ways.
Brynne Tillman 14:40
That was awesome. Yeah. So Linda said: “Would you ever ask a well-connected connection? Who has a closed network if they can unlock it? If not, what would you do?”.
Bill McCormick 14:51
Yeah, so I would email the person, I’d say: “Hey, Brynne, I noticed that you have your connections hidden on On LinkedIn”, and here’s the thing, some people may have it from a long time ago, maybe in an industry that they were in, it was very competitive, and they didn’t want to see people to see their connections. and they may have forgotten to turn it back on. Other people may have it done just because somebody told them they should, and they don’t really realize it. So I would email them and ask them or try to get them on the phone to say, you know, and ask them about that and find out the reason, and then ask them if they would be willing to do that for you for a season, and listen, what’s the worst, they can say? No, you know, just don’t be a jerk about it and go: “Oh, well, fine”. But also don’t lecture them, you know, what Bill, Brynne, and Bob say: “I believe if you really want to be networkers, we should have our connections turned on and visible”,(Brynne) we did. So go ahead, and what’s your work around?
Brynne Tillman 15:47
The alternative is you can get on a Zoom call, let them share their screen, and they can search their first-degree connections. So Bob said, choose the second-degree connection when doing the filters, if they’re searching their own, so what you do is you go in, you have them, click on the Search bar, hit enter, hit all filters, have them do first-degree connection, and then what other filters matter to you, if you only want to meet CEOs put that in the title, if you only want to meet people in the greater New York area, put that in the filters, and then you are going to get a list of their first degrees on the Zoom, and you can review the list, they never have to open up their connections, it’s more work for them. I have done this a lot with networking partners more than clients, when we’re talking about client referrals really right now. It has worked very well with them, and we’ve had great successes with asking for networking referrals, but client referrals, same thing. Now, you’ve got to make sure that they understand you know, that I would not and as much as the email would be great, I think I’d added at the end of a call with them, and say, you know: “Bill, I love working with you. I’m not sure if you know, but the way that we’ve grown, our business has been referrals from our happy clients, and a lot of times our clients just don’t realize who they know, if you’re open for a quick 10 minutes, you know, I love it, you know, if you’d be open to opening up your LinkedIn network, and reviewing some of your connections”. You don’t even have to tell them that they’re closed at that point, if you don’t want to. But if you’re open, you know, and we can select a few people that you might think that would leverage our solution the same way you have.
Bob Woods 17:37
And a vast majority of people who are listening right now probably would not do this. But make sure that you get permission, and make sure that they say yes, because if you don’t, and you decide to work around the person, and try to be a little cute and just say, you know: “Hey, I was talking with Brynne, and I see that you know Bill”, but I haven’t talked to Brynne about it a couple things can happen. Number one, Bill might not either know Brynne, they’re just loose connections on LinkedIn, or Bill might not like Brynne, God knows why, because we all love Brynne. But there might be something there, or so you know, obviously, it’s done for at that point. The other thing is if Bill and Brynne do know each other, and they’re both friendly and everything else. But yet you go around and just you know, and just name drop Brynne without permission. What happens if Brynne and Bill are in a conversation a week later, and one says, you know: “Hey, Bob said that you were talking to him about me”, and you know, that’s cool, and Brynne goes: “I don’t know what you’re talking about”. We’ve now burned two bridges with that.
Bill McCormick 18:46
Brynne Tillman 18:47
Bill McCormick 18:48
Really good point. Always be authentic in what you’re doing, any of your activities on LinkedIn, you know that can’t be can’t be said enough. So listen, this is really the magic of LinkedIn, but I’m just going to point back to what I always point back to is, as you’re doing this, as you’re looking at people’s profiles, remember, they’re going to be looking back at your profile. So what does your profile say, is your profile setup all about you? Or is your profile setup all about your ideal clients? So that’s something, kind of as a review to remember, one of the things we talk about, we always start at the profiles, the foundation of everything, because all roads lead back to the profile. So thanks for joining us for another great week of Making Sales Social Live, and we’ll see you next time folks. Thanks for tuning in. Bye-bye