Asking for referrals from satisfied customers is often overlooked by both salespeople and companies. For those who are not taking advantage of the power of referrals, you are ignoring one of the best lead generation tools you have at your disposal.
Yes, referrals are one of the best ways to get leads and also to build social proof about your brand, product or service. Referrals usually have a higher conversation rate since someone the prospect knows and trust, said they should speak to you. With that said, you need to develop a system to encourage this to happen on a regular basis. I know many companies that thrive because of the strength of their referral system.
Doesn’t everyone want their sales funnel filled with warm leads where the prospects guard is lowered? Being able to use the name of a happy customer that the prospect knows will increase your chances of getting a meeting. Also think about the fact that if someone gives you a referral to contact someone they know, the people they are referring often have expressed this need or pain to them in the past. Do you think your success rate for setting appointments and eventually closing the sale will go up with a referral versus cold calling? I assure you it will.
The first thing every organization should do is to make sure they implement these 3 steps:
(1) Set the requirement of your sales force
- They must ask for referrals
- This should not be a nice to do
(2) Develop referral tracking system
- Are your sales representatives asking for referrals
- The sales force needs to understand that management is watching
- Actively review percentage of referrals in pipeline
(3) Train sales representatives
- How to ask for referrals
- When to ask for referrals
- The importance of asking for referrals
Both the salespeople and the company will make more money if they are regularly asking for referrals.
It’s a very simple addition to the sales process. Any time they meet with someone new that they have built a solid report, closed a sale or spoke with a satisfied customer, they should ask in a casual manor, “Do you know anyone else who may be interested or benefit from our product or service.” If they themselves are satisfied with your product or service, a large percentage of people are happy to give you some referrals. The amazing thing to me is how many sales people never ask.
Many salespeople have the misconception that people don’t want to give referrals. My experience is the opposite; most people are happy to share contacts with you as long as you have built the appropriate level of trust with your clients or prospects.
Another way successful salespeople get referrals is by giving their own clients and prospects referrals for people who may have interest in their product or service. This shows your clients and prospects that you are also looking out for them and that it is not a one way street. Salespeople who use this technique are often strong networkers. They ask everyone they meet professionally what they do, what’s unique about your product or service and who their ideal or target customers are. Armed with this information, they are ready at any moment to pass along referral information. These sales people actually start to get prospects reaching out to them, because many people will want to return the favor.
If you are not currently asking for referrals, change that mindset today. You will see results and enjoy the fruits of developing a sales funnel that is filled with warm leads.
Please share your thoughts about this blog posts. I enjoy seeing how others handle referrals.
David Domos developed WhyBuyFromYou.com to provide content to help small businesses develop their branding, marketing and sales systems. In the past he held key leadership positions for a fortune 500 company. That company led the market in both sales and brand awareness and David was a significant contributor to its growth. David has been on the Amazon.com best seller list in their Direct Marketing, Communications and Entrepreneurship categories. He is a student of sales, marketing, branding & small business growth, continually focusing on the reasons people buy. Follow him on Twitter @WhyBuyFromYou or visit www.whybuyfromyou.com.