A referral is better than you think

by Will Rotondi

Say that you find John Smith at ABC Co., and you’re positive he’s the best point of contact for a conversation about new business. You check out his credentials on LinkedIn, make note of his job title, and research his company’s information.

So you reach out. You call, leave some voicemails, send a few emails. Then you get a response: “I’m not responsible for that service here. You should reach out to Joe in the other department.”

How do you react?

Some would say that’s a step in the right direction. Even though you haven’t scheduled a call, you’ve heard from someone at that company who knows who you need to start the conversation with.

Others see these referrals as failures. For them, it’s like coming to the end of the prospecting journey and having to start the cycle all over again. Perhaps it makes them feel like they don’t know who their ideal prospects are, that their sense about the right person was off, and that they’ve been wasting their time barking up the wrong tree.

If that’s you, try not to let these moments discourage you. Referrals are better than you think. They’re a positive response, a push in the right direction, that isn’t shut down with a no thanks or not interested kind of reaction. They can also give you more clout with the person you’re reaching out to.

Which email would you be more likely to open from someone you don’t know: one with a subject line saying that person has a question about your company, or one saying that your coworker recommended they contact you? Chances are, the latter. Just like getting your foot in the door at a new company to be interviewed, that kind of clout helps you get a first look above competing emails in your prospect’s inbox.


Then all you have to do is use your email savvy to get them to agree to a call.

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