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Practice Makes Perfect Networking / Asking For ReferralsWednesday 08/29/2012
DirkDirk Cummins / MainStreetChamber - Houston
Chapter President / State Director

Asking For Referrals


“Mr. Client, who do you know who might be interested in my product?”


“Mr. Client, who is your dry cleaner, CPA, attorney, etc.?”


“Mr. Client, I get paid in 2 ways, one is by my company and the other is by you referring me to your friends and relatives. Who is your brother?”


If you have been in sales for any period of time, then you have been told by countless sales managers, trainers, and other well intentioned people that this is how you ask for referrals. For me, this approach rarely resulted in any referrals. My guess is that this approach has never worked well for most of us.


The disappointing results made me feel less than stellar. My sales manager didn’t mind telling me that my results were less than stellar, even though I was in the top 5% of sales. So I began my quest to discover the secret of being a stellar referral gatherer. Guess what? My results didn’t improve. So I began to think that referrals were great but there was no system that would deliver consistent results and give me the instant gratification that I needed.


Then one day I was either reading or listening to a tape program from an author I don’t remember and the referral gathering system he described set off a light bulb in my head. I worked through the night to set the wheels in motion for my next day’s sales calls. The results I experienced were nothing less than fantastic.


Before I share this system with you, I must caution you, the program calls for you to do some homework. Here’s the wisdom that the unknown author shared. First, you must sit down and list the names of the people with whom you want to do business. Second, you must list the names of the people who are neighboring your client. This may be the people in the neighborhood where the client lives, or owners of businesses that are around the client’s business, or both.


Once your list is complete you are ready to meet with your client. The conversation with your client will go something like this. Mr. Client, do you know your neighbor Mr. Smith? If the answer is no, go to the next name. If the client says yes you would say. Mr. Client, I’m hoping you can give me some advice. I’m thinking about doing business with your neighbor. Do you think it would be a good idea? Then I ask. What can you tell me about your neighbor? The final question I ask is... Mr. Client, if your name comes up in our conversation, is it ok that I mention you are a client?


A suggestion, please, develop your own questions to fit your personality and adapt the questions to your client’s personality. The results I experience with this system are really good, not perfect, but really good.


If you have been following our weekly conversations and giving first with no expectation of receiving anything in return, you have been moving into your client’s inner circle. Therefore, the conversation should be easy and fruitful.


Good Selling!




About Our Show Advisor: Dirk Cummins is a practicing financial consultant who attended the University of Virginia at Quantico, Virginia while serving in the United States Marine Corps. He is a CHARTERED FINANCIAL CONSULTANT® (ChFC®), and has completed the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® (CFP®)certification curriculum. Dirk is also a CERTIFIED DIVORCE FINANCIAL ANALYST™ (CDFA™). Dirk's areas of specialization include business and individual planning. Dirk's professional career began in 1974 in his hometown of Canton, Ohio. In 1978 he accepted a position with Lineberry Financial Group and relocated to Houston. He has held various positions within the financial services industry prior to starting his own firm. Dirk has been involved with numerous volunteer groups and is currently serving as the President of the MainStreetChamber Houston Chapter and State Director for the MainStreetChamber. He has also served on the Advisory Board for the Academy of Finance at Spring Branch ISD and on the Pro Bono Committee for the Financial Planning Association Houston chapter. He has also served as Past President of the Crossroads Chapter of Services Cooperative Association as well as a member of the Board of Directors. He has also served as an Advisory Board member of the Entrepreneurial Development Center and a member of the Board of Directors of Women Achieving Independence & Financial Success. He was a Republican Party Precinct Chair in Harris County, and an Election Judge in Harris County.

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