The First Step in Generating More Referrals

How to Generate More Leads

Where does selling begin?

What is the first thing you must do to make more sales?

This is something that not enough people ask. Not enough people who are in sales, business development, or whatever term you want to use, even think about this question of where does selling begin?

What’s the very first step? What is the first thing you have to do? 

And the people who do ask that often have the wrong answer.  

Here’s the answer that most salespeople have.

Most of us think that selling begins with lead generation, right?

How do I develop a lead?

 Lead generation is supercritical and super important.  

This is something that we spend a lot of time teaching at Brand Builders Group, but that’s not the first step in generating sales.

There is a step before lead generation which you don’t hear enough about.

And it’s a simple concept.

It’s a simple word.

It’s a word that you have heard your whole life.

It’s just probably not one that enough of us have intentional enough focus on in generating sales.

Creating Relationships

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What is this word that I’m talking about?

It is super simple.

The word is relationships.  


When we think of selling, so many of us think of the new prospects that we’re going to sell to.

We think that is what sales are, that we need more leads. I need new people to talk to which is true.  

The reason why people struggle with lead generation, which is the number one thing that every salesperson and sales team struggles with on not enough leads, is because they’re thinking of how do they go find new strangers and try to get them interested?

Your mind immediately goes to all these cold methods of such as knocking on doors, sending cold emails, posting random stuff on social media, etc.

A lot of the things that you should and need to do anyways.

The fastest path to cash in a sale, the shortest distance between where you are and generating commission, revenue, or earnings, is not through lead generation, but through relationships.

The best form of lead generation in any business is referrals.

Referrals don’t appear out of thin air.

Referrals come from people you have relationships with.

And if you don’t have deep relationships with your network, then you don’t have a pond to fish in for good referrals.

You must build this “well” of relationships.

You must build great connections, deep relationships, with the people you already know before you can pull referrals out of them, so to speak.

That’s what we all want to do, right?

We joined sales. We want to make quick money. We want to get referrals right away. We’re just off and running, which isn’t a bad thing.  

You should have the urgency to make money and to generate leads.  

And you should have urgency to focus on referrals which a lot of people are terrible about on how to ask for referrals.

But before you can even ask for referrals, you’ve got to have people to ask for those referrals from which are relationships.

The key to relationships is that you must build relationships before you need them.

You must build relationships before you need them.

Too many times, people who are in sales are trying to extrapolate or extract referrals from people that they don’t have great relationships with.

And then they can’t understand why they don’t get more referrals or why they don’t get better quality referrals or why it’s so hard to even ask for referrals.

It does have something to do with whether or not you’re asking and how you’re asking, for sure, but what it really has to do with the relationships, the people that you’re asking for referrals from is that you don’t have the credibility with them yet.

You don’t have a true depth of connection.

You don’t have the trust established as much as you think, because if you did, it wouldn’t be so hard to ask for referrals.

It wouldn’t be so hard to get referrals and it wouldn’t be so hard to get more referrals. 

Getting referrals is pulling water out of the well but you need to build the well first.

Which means you must build relationships before you need them.

If you don’t build relationships with people, then when you go to try to pull referrals, there’s not going to be anything.

There’s no water in there because there’s no trust, in this metaphor.

Let me explain again.

The “well” is the relationship.

And the depth of the well is all about trust.

It’s how much trust do you have.

The “water” that you extract is referrals.

You must build relationships before you need them.

How to Build Trust in Relationships

How do you do that? How do you build relationships before you need them?

Simple. You give.

The key to building relationships is to give. You help them. You give them referrals; you do things for them.

People always wonder what they can do for them as they don’t know what to do.

There are tons of things that you can do.

You can give them favors. You can give them an education. You can give them endorsements. You can give them training. You can give them advice.

You can give them encouragement. You can give them recognition. You can give them a celebration. You can give them a promotion.

Those are all things that you can give to somebody right now.  

You can also spend money on things for them. You can give them meals. You can give them gifts. You can pay them referral fees. You can give them experiences. You can donate to their charities. You can send them equipment or technology. Those things cost money.

The other thing is you can introduce people to them. You can introduce them to vendors. You can refer people to join their team. You can, as I mentioned, give them referrals. You can share clients; you can share media opportunities.

These are all the things that you can do in a relationship to build the relationship.

In essence, it comes down to giving before getting.  

If it’s a relational bank account, you must make deposits before you make withdrawals.

The way that you make deposits is by giving. You must give first, and you build those relationships. You build that trust.

You serve first. Once you have built that relationship, then you can ask. Then you can take, then you can receive, and then you can get.  

Relationships precede referrals.  

If you’re not getting enough referrals, it’s probably because your relationships aren’t as deep as you think.

How about you? Will you purposefully build relationships now? Let me know in the comments below!

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