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More Advocates = More Referrals and Less Cold Calling

An advocate is a person that will go out of their way to recommend you to their friends and associates. Build an army of advocates and you’ll quickly have a bigger pipeline and higher closing ratio with far less cold calling.


In Sales Prospecting is Life

The single greatest concern facing all salespeople is prospecting for new business. As a commission salesperson, your livelihood is directly dependent on your ability to prospect effectively. I have never seen a salesperson leave the profession because they had too many qualified prospects to work at one time.

The good news is that the easiest way to connect with high-quality prospects is through referrals. The best way to get referrals is to build and army of advocates.

To be successful in the sales profession you need assistance from your clients in the form of referrals. Average salespeople do not invest their time nor spend their money developing clients into advocates.

3 Keys to Building an Army of Advocates

Building an advocate army doesn’t happen over night, but the time, money and effort required to develop advocates is certainly worth it. Most customers are initially reluctant to provide referrals and need to be encouraged and trained.

Cows don’t give milk; you’ve got to work for every drop. To become effective, advocates need to be trained and motivated. Advocates aren’t born they’re developed!

Identify Your Army of Advocates

  • Begin by creating a list of your existing advocates. Clients that have already referred prospects to you, automatically become part of your advocate army.
  • Review your client list for potential advocates. Identify those clients that have purchased multiple orders or large single orders but have not yet referred a prospect to you.
  • After I’ve identified my list of advocates and potential advocates, what do I do next?
  • Let your existing advocates assist you in training your potential advocates. Develop an action plan to contact your potential advocates and invite them to a breakfast or lunch along with one or two of your best advocates. This low-pressure approach is effective because you merely guide the discussion and allow your advocates to share their referral techniques.
  • Stay in contact. Put your advocates on a suspense list to contact them quarterly. Consider calling or mailing them something of interest, such as an article or newsletter.

Train Your Army of Advocates

  • Teach your advocates how to approach a prospect. Be careful not to let them over educate their referrals. Role-play the actual words you would like them to use when they introduce you. I suggest that you coach them to say what it is that you do – not how you do it. Keep it simple and short.
  • Prepare them for the standard objections that they may expect to encounter from a prospect. If they are not prepared to deal with the typical objections, they will be less effective and will potentially be discouraged from future prospecting attempts.

Reward Your Army of Advocates

  • Send them a thank you card and or call them to thank them for referring a prospect to you. Keep them informed on the status of their referrals. You must have a system in place to provide feedback to your advocates or they will not feel appreciated and will loose interest.
  • Consider giving them a small gift for their involvement, such as a gift certificate to a local restaurant.

The more people that are saying good things about you and your company in the marketplace, the more sales you will make!


You build deeper emotional connections when you interact with people based on who they are—not who you are. Learn how to flex to the different buying styles in our FREE sales training guide: A.C.E.D. Buyer Style Playbook

About the author

John Boe

John Boe

John Boe is an entertaining speaker with a powerful message and a passion to…

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