REFERRALS? Get a Referral? ME?
One of the quirkiest things about selling is how few salespeople genuinely ask for referrals. Is that the case for you? My hope is that today’s tips will challenge you to turn that around.
Our experience shows that many salespeople ask for referrals BEFORE they have earned the right to do so. Giving referrals is something many customers will do, IF the salesperson has delivered on their commitments. But try getting that referral without doing so and you are likely to strike out.
That does not take away from the POWER of referrals. Getting referrals is one of the practices top sales professionals have turned into a habit.
Here are a few tips you should consider:
1. Give Value First – Your best prospects for referrals are those customers who are delighted with you and your company. Deliver on your commitments. And after you do, then you should make every effort to ask for a referral.
2. Be Specific – Many salespeople ask for referrals incorrectly. They ask timidly. They say something like, “Mr. Customer, who do you know that might benefit from our services?” While this is courteous, more powerful is for the salesperson to ask, very specifically, what he is looking for. They might say something like, “Steve, our success is dependent on working with individuals and companies who see the value of what we do, just like you have. I am specifically looking for an Operations or Human Resources VP that you know who may want to explore and learn more about our company and what we offer. Any ideas?”
3. Use LinkedIn to help you be specific. Connect with your best customer’s LinkedIn profile. See who they know or what groups they are a part of. If one of their contacts is a person that fits your profile, reach out to your customer and ask them if they would be willing to introduce you via LinkedIn. Offer to send them something of value as an introductory piece: a white paper, an article or even something on a personal level that can get the dialog started. And don’t forget to reach out to past colleagues and family as well!
4. Testimonials – In all cases, once you have delivered on your commitments and there are sufficient “results” that the customer can point to, ask the customer for a testimonial letter. While not as powerful as a direct referral, these can make a huge difference in the sales process with other customers. Most customers are willing to provide one – particularly if after you ask, you communicate your willingness to write a sample for them to consider. This eliminates the burden of their doing it themselves, while still reviewing and approving what is written.
5. Goals – Finally, set a goal for referrals. Make it part of your own “dashboard.” A simple goal might be to generate at least three qualified referrals each quarter, resulting in a minimum of five pieces of business a year.
Remember, referrals are one of the “secrets” of Rainmakers. Become a Rainmaker today!