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Rocket Fuel -How effective are you at Leveraging?

This Rocket Fuel is about using Leveraging to your advantage. To illustrate the power of Leveraging I have included a couple of simplistic short stories:

There once was a prospector named Noel who made his living by finding gold. He searched the land far and wide and was only able to capture a meager share. One day Noel was talking to the smartest person in all of the land about his lack of success. The wise woman pointed out all of the large rocks that were strewn throughout the land and told Noel there was gold hidden under many of them. She also said the bigger the rock; the more gold that lies beneath. Noel promptly went to work running from rock to rock but all of them were too heavy to move by hand. Noel thought and thought about how he could move the rocks but he could not find a solution, so again he asked the wise woman for an answer. After Noel presented his problem, the wise woman handed over a lever and Noel went happily on his way. A few days later, he reappeared, suggesting that the lever didn't work. The wise woman was puzzled, but then handed him an even bigger lever. Noel returned once again, complaining that the rocks still didn't budge. Said the wise woman, "Noel, I don't understand it. This lever is big enough to move even the biggest rocks on this land. Exactly how hard are you pushing down on it?" With a perplexed look on his face, Noel responded, "You mean I have to push the lever down?"


Perhaps you're groaning at Noel's naïveté, but honestly, I've met my fair share of salespeople like Noel over the years. The next story is different but the underlying message is the same.


Omar is a salesperson who makes his living selling his products and services to prospects and clients in his territory. He makes cold calls and some warm calls but he always struggles to find enough good-quality prospects to purchase the product he is selling. Over the years, Omar has accumulated many clients, but since he always spends so much time trying to find prospects, he never finds the time to do a great job for the clients he has. Then one day Noel was talking to the smartest person he knew - his manager - about his lack of prospects. His manager told him, "Noel, if you do a great job of building strong relationships with your clients, you can leverage those clients into an abundance of high quality referrals. The key to being successful at leveraging is to build great relationships ---- the better the job you do, the more leverage you will have!" Omar had found the answer to his problems! He went to work 'going above and beyond the call of duty' impressing his clients. A few weeks later, he was back in his manager's office, complaining that he didn't get any referrals. His manager was confused by Omar's lack of results and told him he had to do an even better job. And Omar did… but weeks later he still had no referrals. Back to the manager's office he went, convinced the strategy was wrong. The manager said, "I don't understand it, Omar; you are doing such a great job for your clients. Tell me exactly what you said when you asked these good clients for referrals." With a perplexed look on his, face, Omar said, "You mean I have to ask?"


I realize these stories are simplistic but ask yourself, how many salespeople do you know that do this exact thing? They work extremely hard doing a great job for their clients, then sit back and wait for the referrals to magically appear. To be successful at getting referrals, you need three important ingredients:

  1. You need to have good clients. The more well-connected and well-respected your clients are, the bigger the opportunity for referrals.

  2. You must build great relationships with these clients. The better they feel about the job you do for them the more leverage you have for getting those referrals.

  3. You have to invest time and effort to learn an effective approach for getting referrals, and then, most important, you have to use it regularly with your clients. Having leverage without proper effort produces little or no results.

Some people call the act of asking for referrals 'Referred Lead Prospecting' while others call it 'Business Development'. Rocket-Man calls it 'Leveraging' because that's exactly what you are attempting to do; leverage one good client into many more! So, take a look in the mirror and ask yourself, "How effective am I at leveraging?"


Onward and Upward!

Brian Kjenner


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