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I don't know anyone to refer you to.

I looked and didn't see this talked about before so I'll ask. Do you find that a lot of people don't know of anyone to refer you to? Does that happen a lot? - by Thomas
I looked and didn't see this talked about before so I'll ask. Do you find that a lot of people don't know of anyone to refer you to? Does that happen a lot?
I think this does happen a lot. Think about how many salespeople mishandle referral requests. - by Mikey
In my business of selling advertising specialties I don't get a lot of help in the referral department from my customers unless the organization is large enough to have more than one center of influence in this regard. At least not enough referrals to be able to say I can really impact my business with them.

I can see how it might work if selling to the consumer, and how important it might be to keeping the pipeline full of prospects.

Chuck - by Sales Pro 1000
This is a common complaint from the salespeople in my training seminars, my coaching clients, and the companies who I talk about referral training with. Other than being told "no" when asking for referrals, this is the most common issue.

The problem actually arises from several problems created by the salesperson:

1) typically the salesperson brings up referrals after the sale--sometimes as they are literally walking out the door, or after they think they've done something to earn them. If the request comes after the sale, the customer has already changed mental gears. They're not thinking about the salesperson and the sale any longer. Instead their mind is elsewhere. The request comes as an unwelcome and unexpected intrusion. If it comes after the salesperson thinks they "earned" referrals but haven't completed the sale, the customer may question their judgement--it isn't the salesperson who decides if they've earned referrals, it's the customer--and that is generally with a satisified customer after they have seen the work completed, not prior to (see #3).

2) because the request is last minute, the customer has had no opportunity to think of whom to refer. They've been given about 10 seconds to go through their mental file cabinet to come up with good names. Now, the request is not only unwelcome, but because the customer has been given no time to think, it's also unreasonable.

3) again, because it's a last minute request, the client hasn't been given the time to get comfortable giving referrals. Clients assume that whomever they refer you to will be more critical and more demanding than they have been. And, certainly, they don't want to be embarrassed in front of family, friends, acquaintances, or co-workers. So, in order to get quality referrals, they need time to get comfortable with the idea of giving referrals and that you won't embarrass them.

4) they have no idea what a good referral for you is. You obviously know what a good referral is. And you may be standing there thinking "give me someone just like you." They're standing there thinking "what does this person want and how do I get rid of them." Assuming customers know is not realistic. They have to be told what a good referral is and they have to have time to think about whom to refer.

There are actually more problems than that, but that gives an idea of why getting referrals is so difficult for most.

It doesn't have to be that way, though. Using a well constructed process to let your clients know that you work by referral, that you expect referrals from them, what a good referral for you is, why giving you referrals is in their best interests, and how you're going to earn the referrals will not only overcome the above problems, but will generate a large quantity of high quality referrals from all most all of your clients.

This system works in consumer sales and business-to-business sales alike. As long as the primary sales process is relationship driven, the referral process works. - by pmccord
I think this does happen a lot. Think about how many salespeople mishandle referral requests.
A mishandled referral request is a problem but so is working with clients without connections and selling products or services that people are uncomfortable referring. - by Houston
If you are selling to individual consumers, I think the following might work.
If you've sat down for the appointment, it is assumed that you have qualified that person as some one that can use and can afford your product or service. They must therefore fit somewhere in your target market, correct? Now, we've all heard the old saying "birds of a feather flo