3 Tips On Getting Referrals From Prospects That Do Not Buy

Written by Sean McPheat | Linkedin thumb

Sales Man with coupleSome sales people have trouble asking for and getting referrals from prospects that buy, and even from long term clients. However, the majority of sales people have a serious problem when it comes to obtaining referrals from those prospects that do not buy.  Here are a couple of tips to help you get more referrals from those, “No-Sales.”

#1.  Ask for referrals before the close
Where does it say that you can only ask for referrals at the end of the sales interaction?  Ask for referrals early in the sales process and before you ask for the order.  After you ask for the order, a certain amount of tension ensues. If the closing goes badly, you are now losing the opportunity to get referrals while the prospect still has a good feeling about you.  Ask for referrals early.

#2.  Do not look for lay-down sales
The main problem sales people have in asking for referrals from the no-sale prospect, is that they are looking for referrals to potential sales; people who will buy, or who are guaranteed to be interested in the product or service.   This is a mistake.  For a referral,  all you should be looking for is a qualified lead; not a lay down sale.  Remember, and help the prospect to understand that all you are looking for is an introduction…that’s all.  Neither the prospect, nor you should be thinking about anybody buying anything at this point.  Do not try to skip steps in the sales process.  Ask for an introduction to those who are qualified to do business with you, and then do your job.

Sales Person: “Ms Prospect, if one of your business associates walked in the door right now, would you introduce me to him or her and tell them what I do?”

Prospect:         “Of course.”

Sales Person: “Well, since they may not walk in the door while I am here, can you jot down the names of a few of those people you would introduce me to if they did come by?  Please, don’t worry about if they would be interested in buying.  I make my living from meeting people and explaining what I do, just as I am doing here with you…”

#3.  Use the fact that the prospect did not buy, along with the value of the meeting
Riding on the heels of Tip #2, remind the prospect that he or she should not be thinking about referring only people they believe will have an interest or will buy.  Use the fact that the prospect also did not buy, as proof.   Also, build and use the value of the meeting on its own merits.

Sales Person: “Mr Prospect, again I really appreciate your time here today.  And even though you decided to hold off on the purhcase, did you find the information I give you to be beneficial to you?  I mean did you gain some valuable insight from our meeting?”

Prospect:         “Oh yes.   You gave me a lot to think about and showed me a few things I never knew before…”

Sales Person: “Well, that is really the essence of my job, Mr Prospect; to give people valuable information that will help them.  From that information, some people move ahead and hire my services, while some people, even like youself, may not.  But everyone benefits from a meeting with me, as you can see.  With that thought in mind…”

You get the idea.

Ask for referrals before the close.
Don’t look for referrals that are lay-downs, and promote the value of the meeting itself.

Finanlly, and this is the hard part:  When you get those referrals from the no-sale interactions…CALL THEM!

Happy Selling


Sean McPheat

Sean McPheat
Managing Director

MTD Sales Training | Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

450 sales questions free report

Originally published: 28 October, 2011

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