How to Triple Your Referrals in 1/2 the Time

If you try to be everything to everybody, you will be nothing to nobody.

People can't help you if they don't know what helping is. When you ask for referrrals, for instance, if you don't specify who you are looking for, don't be upset you didn't get leads. If you don't know your ideal client, how can your referral source know?

So who is the ideal client?

I will tell you who it is not. It is not "everybody." It is not "anybody who is open-minded to improving their business." Of course, you may sell to others outside your ideal target. However, the idea here is that when you proactively "referral" prospect - as I call it- versus have leads come to you and ask for your services, you must know who you ideally can help and who you may not.

In addition, if you don’t know who you can help, then that person who you want to help will certainly have no idea you can help them.

Figuring out your ideal client can be challenging. To help you, ask yourself the following questions about who could benefit the most from your solutions:

(Note: Unless you are a one-person, brand-new company, your current company has a history of clients. Find out who the top clients at your company are and then apply these questions).

-What are the company's annual revenues?

-What industry is the company in?

-What is its annual revenue?

-Is it publicly or privately traded?

-How many locations does the company have?

-Tangible or intangible service? (Product such as office equipment or services such as customized sales training

-How old is the company?

-Where is it located? City? State? Zip code?

-Where is its headquarters?

-Is the company growing?

-Is the company planning on moving to new offices?

-Did the company just move to a new office?

-If your sale involves a company switching to your product, who did the company typically use prior to the switch?

-Who is the decision-maker? VP of Sales? CEO? CFO? Controller? Owner?

-What is the personality of the decision-maker?

-Is the decision-maker on LinkedIn?

The ideal client has those characteristics you can find through means other than asking people. In other words, if you wanted to find your ideal client, you could create a list merely by scouring the Internet or going to the local library.

So who is TBN Sales Solutions ideal client?

-Outside salespeople who call on accounts in person

-Telemarketing department that cold calls inside

-$1 million - $100 million in annual revenues

-Base salary of $40,000 + $100,000 with commissions

-Base salary of $50,000 + $85,000 with bonuses

-Monthly, quarterly quotas or annual targets

-Multiple locations with headquarters in a major city

-Company is at least ten years old

-DM is VP of sales or owner

-Technology company


-Printers/web designers/graphics company

-Realtors (100 percent commissions)

Mortgage brokers (100 percent commission)

-Financial planners (100 percent commission)

-Insurance agents (100 percent commission)



-Sales conferences

EXERCISE - Who Is Your Ideal Client?

Examine the last five customers you or your company sold.

Write down the top twenty characteristics of each customer.

Compare your results of all five customers

Take out a sheet of paper and label it "Who is my ideal client?"

Write the ten most common measurable characteristics



Happy selling!




FREE live sales tips by Todd Natenberg at ACA in Overland Park- How to Double Your Sales in 1/2 the Time


FREE live sales tips by Todd Natenberg at ACA in Overland Park- How to Double Your Sales in 1/2 the Time

You are personally invited to a FREE in person seminar by Todd Natenberg, President of TBN Sales Solutions and Author of the just released book, "I've been in sales for 10 years! Now what?" A (NEW) Playbook for Skyrocketing Your Commission

What? How to Double Your Sales in 1/2 the Time (Top questions to ask on a sales appointment)

When? Thursday, August 27 at 9 a.m.


American Club Association headquarters, 7092 W. 105th Street, Overland Park, KS 66212, Clubline 800.793.CLUB| Direct 913.244.5160

"You can't get where you are going if you don't know where you want to be. If you don't know where you want to be, no road map will get you there." - Todd Brian Natenberg



Listen, Don't hear- A.R.T. Your Way to Sales Success


Listen, Don't hear- A.R.T. Your Way to Sales Success

By Todd Brian Natenberg

Author of the just released book, "I've been in sales for 10 years! Now what?" A (NEW) Playbook for Skyrocketing Your Commissions


There is no better way to distinguish yourself from your competitors than to summarize your prospects' needs- out loud- after probing, and prior to your presentation.

When you summarize, you prove you listened, not that you heard.

What's the difference?

Hearing is simply not being deaf. But listening entails a three-step process.

At TBN Sales Solutions, we call it the A.R.T. method: Acknowledge, Repeat and Take action.


Have you ever had a one-way conversation where you do all the talking? Isn't that just as annoying as when someone else does all the talking? You feel like you are talking to a brick wall, don't you?

Then, when you address the situation, what's the other person's response? "I heard you. What was I supposed to say? I didn't know it called for a comment," they say.

What the other person doesn't understand is that you wanted acknowledgement. You needed to understand they heard your words. Ways to acknowledge include nodding your head with direct eye contact, positive or negative facial expressions depending on the situation and verbal comments, such as "I understand" or "I know what you mean."


Typically, when salespeople acknowledge a prospect, they feel they've listened. But this is just the first step. The second step is actually repeating what was just said to ensure you interpreted it properly. Don't dissect every sentence. Just hit the high points. If you did not get every point down, repeat what you remember.

By hearing you repeat it, the prospect will be so impressed that what you leave out won't matter.

Take Action

This proves you truly understand the prospect's needs. What you say or do next must be a direct response to the answers provided. Many sales reps have lost deals or won deals at this step. Here's an example of what not to do:

During my telecommunications corporate training days, a rep and I probed one prospect with good questions. We reached the point where the prospect told us, "What really matters to me are reliability and customer service. Price is not the issue. If you can guarantee me your company can provide these two criteria, you will earn my business."

The rep's response was, "Great, let me show you how we can save you money. By switching to us, we will lower your rate." The meeting ended 10 minutes later. We never heard from the prospect again.

Here's how a top-notch summarization may sound:

"Okay, Prospect So-and-So. Let me summarize what you said. You have been with the company for 10 years. You came here from Idaho because you found it to be a great opportunity. One of the key reasons for the company's success is customer service. Your company sells to small and mid-sized businesses. You are the one who would 'sign on the dotted line.' What is important to you now is billing, customer service and a competitive price. Is there anything I left out?"

"No? Great. Now, let me explain how based on your situation, we can help."





Simple Selling Means Simple Buying

By Todd Brian Natenberg

Author of  

"I've been in sales for 10 years! Now what?" A (NEW) Playbook for Skyrocketiong Your Commissions 

The easier you make it for people to buy, the more they will. The more complicated the sale, the simpler you must be.

Who has been asked the famous question by your clients or prospects, "Who do you consider your main competition for your industry?"

Without fail, our answer is or should be always the same: Indecision. 

The hardest part about selling is (despite those that fear prospecting) is creating that sense of urgency.


So how do we do that? We know there is the important selling value. But even more important is to  make it easy for prospects to say yes. Here are a few specific strategies and areas to focus on:

-Scheduling the appointment

Everyone in this day and age sends the Outlook invite to confirm a meeting.  But how do you send the invite? Remember 95% of e-mail today is read on a phone where often only the subject line gets read.

When you send that invite, be super specific.  Say in the subject of the invite the people's names and companies they represent- both yours and theirs, and whoever else will attend. Then include in 3 words what the meeting is about  in the subject line.  


In the location, include the specific address and phone numbers of the two main parties who are meeting.

This may seem trite, but think about when you get Outlook invites. How specific are they? Aren't they missing information? Isn't that frustrating having to take that extra step to look things up?

Prospects will appreciate the simplicity of this and it sets the tone for the entire sales process.

If you are scheduling a phone appointment, include in the "location" what phone number you will call and who will initiate the call.

In the notes section, cut and paste your full e-mail signature with your name, title, company, phone, e-mail and website. In fact, include everyone's contact information in that notes.

-Follow-up with a very detailed e-mail after you have conducted a formal appointment

Don't just say thanks for meeting. Be super specific. The subject line should say: "Thanks for meeting in person; Follow-up and next steps."

In that e-mail, say point blank, "Here's a recap of our conversation and agreed upon next steps."-In that followup e-mail, if you handed out any printed material in person, include the follow-up PDFS or  web links. 

The more specific you are, the more professional you are. The more professional you are, the more the prospects want to do business with you.

Remember that you aren't just sending a thank you e-mail. Because this is a complicated sale, this will become a reference point from here on for you and the prospects. They can search for this e-mail in the future as the sales process progresses to remember what was discussed, what it meant and why they should care.


Back in the day, I sold complicated telecommunications and technology and inexperienced salespeople thought it was so important to be technical, because prospects were technical. They thought the more complicated the prospect, the more you had to keep up with them.

But are you keeping up or are you creating the complication?

The best quote I heard a director of technology/CIO once say, "I don't need you to explain how technology works. I know that. All I care about is how you are going to simplify my life to be more productive."

 I challenge you: How about simplifying before the sale is made? 

Todd Brian Natenberg, President of TBN Sales Solutions, is the author of the just released book, "I've been in sales for 10 years! Now what?" A (NEW) Playbook for Skyrocketing Your Commissions.

TBN Sales Solutions increases productivity for sales professionals through customized training. We establish step by step processes through private workshops for corporations, individual consulting and keynote speaking for associations to impact the bottom line.


"Customers do not care how much you know until they know how much you care...But showing how much you care includes showing how much you care about yourself.

Sell how you want to buy." 

Visit He can be reached at or call 913-735-4318.



Consultant language vs. sales language- What do you tell yourself?

"The choices we make determine the life we lead"- Danny Devito character in motion picture, Renaissance Man

In the world of sales, a better expression is, "The language we speak determines the sales we make."

Do you truly consider yourself an extraordinary consultant or a salesperson? We say it often, but it's just as important. There is no difference. It's about not just how others perceive you, but how you perceive yourself.

I recently met with a client who before he invested with me would indicate he wasn't a good salesperson because he didn't like being pushy, was about developing relationships and just wasn't "aggressive" enough. 

With that kind of internal talk, he was absolutely right, he wasn't a good salesperson. More importantly, he wasn't an extraordinary consultant. There is no doubt his self language translates to when he speaks to customers.  It's the old expression, "If you don't believe in yourself, how will anyone else?"

If you truly believe that what you do makes a difference in the world- and it does!  change your self talk.

Do doctors ever apologize for what they do? Do attorneys ever ask you to meet with them when it's convenient for them?  If you say, well they are professionals and you are just a salesperson, to that I say, bah humbug.

My two word definition of selling: Helping others.  

What you do matters. You may not be doing heart surgery, but providing value to others- whether in phone service, telecommunications, real estate, financial planning, printing materials, mortgages, photocopiers or payrolls is tremendously honorable. 

Another term for "increasing productivity," "increasing efficiency," or "impacting the bottom line"?

Improving the quality of life. Now, that's something to be proud of.



Keep it simple silly


Keep it simple silly

Make it easy for people to buy and they will. Make it harder to buy and they won't.

The larger the sale, the more complicated the sale, the more essential it is that you keep it simple.  But ease of the sales process goes beyond not making a big deal out of what indeed may be a big deal.

For instance, one of the biggest incorrect myths about selling technical services to technical people is that you must be technical with them to earn their trust. Not true at all. As more than one CIO said to me during my days selling educational technology and telecommunications, "I don't need you to explain how it works. I know that. I need you to tell me why I should care and how it's going to make my life easier.:

Gee, sounds like the client wants us to talk in benefits, don't they? But you say if they speak technical, you must get technical to be credible.

Try this on the next technical discussion with a client, "Look, I can get just as technical as you may or may not need me to be. I can talk the talk and give you the lingo. But at the end of the day, isn't what really matters to you and your colleagues, how I can improve your productivity to impact the bottom line?"

- Todd Brian Natenberg


1 Comment

How do you say thank you for a referral? Do you?

How do you say thank you for a referral? Do you? How do you feel if you give a referral and hear nothing? If someone refers you business- whether it is a legitimate lead or even just information, be appreciative- and most importantly- express that appreciation.  But the question is, What does that mean to express appreciation?

Expressing appreciation is a 3 step process:

1. When you send that follow-up or initial e-mail to the lead that was provided you, always mention the name of the person who referred you, cc that person who referred you, include in the e-mail how you know them and compliment them someway (“who is very professional, very helpful, etc.) and acknowledge that person in the bottom of the e-mail with a “P.S. John, thanks for the referral. I will keep you posted.”

2. If you the lead turns into a potential opportunity and you have a scheduled meeting with that referred person, send a quick note to the person who referred you telling them you are meeting- when and where.

3. Lastly,  call that person who referred you on the phone – not e-mail, not texting- pick up the phone and say, “Just called to say thank you for the referral. I’m not sure how it will pan out, but I appreciate you connecting me. That’s the only reason I called. Have a great day!”

“People refer others because they believe in the person they are referring and they believe in the person who they are referring to. Everyone wants to help and give help- so long as they know they are helping.”

1 Comment


Never present the price without establishing the value first

“How much does it cost?”

Be very careful answering this question. Remember there is price and there is cost. The price is what you charge. The cost is only what the return on the investment is when the value is established. If you show someonea return on their investment of say $50,000 and the price is $5,000, that’s a no brainer, right?

The way to combat that is to answer this:

“I understand that the investment is important to you. However, until I know what it is you are looking for- or whether we can even help you- I wouldn’t even know how to answer that. Our programs vary, but more importantly let’s determine if I can satisfy your needs. We may not even be able to, but without some additional information we’ll never know. Is that fair?”

Of course it is.

Happy selling!




E-mail is for marketing and accountability- never conversation

We’ve said it before, but it must be said again”

E-mail is for marketing and accountability- never conversation. If you ever get a “difficult” e-mail sent to you and you find yourself inclined to respond to controversy, accusations, or innuendo, don’t. Sarcasm, frustration, and challenges do not appear the same in a conversation as they do in e-mail. Nothing good can come from sending things in e-mail that can come back to haunt you.

Here’s a tip when getting that tough e-mail and deciding how to respond:

1. Type up your most direct thoughts, how you truly feel- as an e-mail

2. Send it to….YOURSELF

3. Type up another e-mail and say this:

“Let’s speak via phone or in-person. What a good time?”

Remember when communication used to involve live human beings?

(Yes, that was sarcasm).

Happy selling!