Life is Too Short to Wait For Referrals

Life is Too Short to Wait For Referrals

If Referrals are so great, how come there is so much passivity out there when it comes to referral based sales training and philosophy! Life is too short and your Sales Forecast is too important to wait for referrals. 

The only reason to wait for referrals to ‘happen’ is fear and fear is your greatest enemy in sales. Yes, you need to be aware of the risks when being a pro at referral based sales, but, don't allow risk to create paralysis in your prospecting efforts.

The phone is only your friend, as a salesperson or sales leader, when YOU are proactively using it to make appointments happen.

Salespeople and sales organizations need to develop a bigger referral mindset and then use that mindset to fuel massive action in their prospecting pipeline.

 If you are a Sales Leader this post is even more important because the bad training about referrals out in the marketplace that is infecting you and your sales team, both in the mindset and execution, is making your job far harder and less lucrative.

Life is too short...

To be trapped by the awful concept of 'earning' referrals from your clients/referral sources and sitting around waiting for the phone to ring. Your clients/referral sources won't refer you (in almost all cases) if they don't like/know/trust you so don't focus on that. You won't be able to measure when they are ready, by that standard, until after it has happened and then how will you keep the momentum going predictably? 

Be likable, trustworthy and knowledgeable, or, choose another form of prospecting!

Related: The Big Boys Are Coming: Why Advisors Must Innovate Now!

Life is too short..

For you to rely upon other people to decide your future. When you don't ask for referrals from your clients and referral partners, proactively, after doing research, evaluating your relationship with the referral source, assessing risk and how it affects the effectiveness of the desired referral you are a victim of your own design.

YOU are the sales rep! YOU are the Sales Leader/Manager, VP of Sales! You were hired to create, to DO...don't be passive. You need to ask, you need to figure out WHO they know and HOW you could be introduced as easily and low risk as possible. 

Referrals are based upon relationships. Implement some self-leadership and take massive action within current and new relationships. Don't wait to see WHO is willing to refer...get out there and find them. The one's that would refer you later on without asking will almost always be willing to do it NOW when you ask them.

Life is too short...

To rely upon surprise referrals. How are you going to crush your sales quota (or, for leaders to ensure you keep your CFO from killing you after missing your sales forecast) if you can't forecast the results? 

Do not get me wrong: I love surprise know, the ones you didn't ask for and that just drop into your sales funnel. They are freaking awesome and make me feel really good...but, they aren't frequent enough, to predictably fill your Pipeline and reliably move through your Funnel.  I have found over the years that Hope is an ineffective strategy when discussing your sales forecast with your Manager.

Life is too short...

To expect your Sales Manager/Leader to trust you to build your business by referral if you don't have a plan and metrics they can see and manage?!? Referral based sales requires sales skill and continual learning. You not only need to be able to do the "Challenger Sale" on your own, you need to be able to tell a story that creates introductions to prospects that wouldn't ever take your call...except through a personal referral.


Be Active! Don't sit back and hope that referrals come to you because you 'earned' them. Create some appointments in your calendar to talk with great clients and past referral sources and ask for their help. Don't wait! Referral based sales is the best way to grow sales, but, it won't produce to its potential if you don't make it happen.

Mike Garrison
Sales Strategy
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Life is too Short to Wait for Referrals! Relationships are everything to me, both personally and professionally. I have spent the entirety of my career in helping salespe ... Click for full bio

NBA Player Carl Landry Demonstrates the Value of Persistence in Life and Work

NBA Player Carl Landry Demonstrates the Value of Persistence in Life and Work

Written by: Jon Sabes

When you meet Carl Landry, stand-out college basketball player and nine-year NBA player, you imagine that becoming a professional basketball star was a straight forward run for the 6-foot-nine-inch power forward. 

However, when you go deeper into Carl’s background, becoming a NBA professional was less than certain and little came easily to the 33-year-old from Milwaukee:

  • He was cut from his high school team as a freshman and averaged less than ten points a game when he did play as a senior.
  • He started his college career not at Purdue, but a junior college where it was not clear he would play.
  • When he finally got to Purdue, he tore his ACL in his knee his first year and reinjured it the next year.
  • While his family held a party for him the night of the NBA draft, he slept in the Philadelphia airport after missing a flight following a workout for the 76ers.
  • In the NBA playoffs, Carl had a tooth knocked out, but came back in the same game to make a game-winning blocked shot as the Rockets beat the Utah Jazz 94-92.

Landry, who I interviewed on my podcast, Innovating Life with Jon Sabes (, is a remarkable example of the value of “persistence.” In a time where technology creates the image that anything is possible at the touch of a button, persistence is an under-appreciated trait. When I spoke with Carl, I clearly saw someone for whom success has only come through a force of will that made him a NBA player, but it also made him a better player every year he played. That’s the kind of personality that has produced greatness in business as well as sports.

Carl was, in fact, drafted that night he spent in the airport. The Seattle Supersonics chose him as the 31st overall pick and then traded him to the Houston Rockets where he rode the bench for much of the first half of the season. When All-Star teammate Yao Ming was injured, he stepped in and played a key role in the Rockets astonishing 22-game winning streak (the third longest streak in NBA history). And, that season, after sitting on the bench for 33 of the first 36 games, he was named to the All-Rookie second team.

Carl was the first in his family to go to college. “I told myself that this was my ticket out, so I did everything I possibly could to be the best person in school and also on the court,” he said.

His family life in Milwaukee showed him what he didn’t want to do. “Just being honest with you, seeing some my cousins, peers, they went to work for jobs paying six, seven dollars an hour or they didn’t go to work at all and then living off welfare. I didn’t want that.”

When he was first injured, he had to contemplate the end of a career before it even got started. “When you have an ACL tear, it’s over…no more basketball,” he told me. “I said, God, give me health again and I’ll do everything I can to leave it all out on the line and be a successful individual.”

On my podcast, Carl pointed out another interesting lesson he learned in the NBA: Not doing things just to fit in.

“Fitting in was easy,” he said. “Doing everything that everybody else does was easy. If I stood out in some type of way, I’m going to have different results. I’m going to have stand-out results.”

That’s called the “Law of Contrast” and it produces that exact effect of changing the outcomes that everyone else is experiencing.  Carl is smart, he recognized that differences make a difference, and doing whatever it takes is what is required to make real, meaningful differences.

Every off-season for the last 11 years, he has run a camp for kids in Milwaukee where he tells youth his story of hard work and persistence. “I always tell the kids to apply themselves and always be persistent,” he said. “If you dream, apply yourself and be persistent. With hard work, man, the sky’s the limit.”

When Carl says the sky’s the limit he means it.  He is smart to recognize that it’s important to dream big, because if we don’t – we may be selling ourselves short. “You have to dream bigger than your mind could ever imagine,” he said. “I wanted a nice house. I wanted a nice car. I said, and I got all of that. So, what do I do, do I stop now? Maybe I didn’t dream big enough.” That’s a big statement coming from a kid who grew up to be the first in his family to graduate college and go on to be not only a top NBA basketball start, but a good businessman, father and someone who gives back to the community.

I’m convinced that in whatever he takes on as a basketball player or in his post-hoops career, Carl Landry is not going to stop getting better at whatever he does, and in the process of doing so, make the world a better place.

GWG Holdings, Inc.
Investing in Life
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GWG Holdings, Inc. (Nasdaq:GWGH) the parent company of GWG Life, is a financial services company committed to transforming the life insurance industry through disruptive and i ... Click for full bio