Written by Sean McPheat |
One area where many salespeople fall short is the gaining of referrals from their clients.
Many simply forget to ask; others think it’s an imposition that might put the client under too much pressure.
Whatever the reason, there’s no doubt that getting a referral from an existing client is the surest way of getting an introduction to a new potential prospect who may become a future customer.
But before you can get referrals, there is something you have to consider, and that is, how to become referable.
Yes, you can’t ask for referrals if you haven’t built up the relationship with the business you are asking referrals from.
The simple fact is that most companies don’t refer you to their partners, suppliers, colleagues, customers or anyone who could benefit from your services.
Because, bluntly put, they don’t care about you or your business!
Why should they?
They’re more interested in themselves and their future.
Your business needs come a distant tenth on their list of priorities.
It’s not in their self-interest to refer you.
So it’s important that you first of all become referable.
What do I mean by that?
I mean that you have to become the type of person and business that earns the right to be referred and to get referrals when you ask for them.
Here are four attributes you need to build in order to become referable:
You need to be trustworthy
No-one will refer you if you’re not trustworthy, as referrals are a transfer of trust.
This takes time and will only succeed if you have built up reasons to be trusted.
Have you kept your promises explicitly?
Have you gone the extra mile at every strategic point?
Would your client believe everything you have said about your product and services?
If so, you stand a good chance of being trusted.
You need to be different
If the only difference between you and your competitors is price, then stand by to be beaten.
There has to be solid differentiators between you and the competition.
When your client sees you, he or she has to see someone who stands out for a number of reasons from everyone else.
You need to be valuable to their business
The greatest value is built up by solving problems for them.
The bigger the problems you solve, the more value you build up in their eyes.
As soon as you stop being a supplier or vendor and become a partner, you start to build value.
And then, naturally, you become valuable to the referred prospects, as your value can be passed on to them as well.
You need to be liked
If they don’t like you, they’re not going to refer you.
Being liked is a pre-requisite in sales because likability then builds believability, which builds confidence in you, which then equates to trust.
Think about it; do you automatically trust someone you don’t like? It’s doubtful.
Essentially, these four components are all about you. If you can be trusted, are seen to be different, offer valuable and are likeable, it creates the foundation for an agreement to give referrals.
Of course, it doesn’t mean you’ll automatically get them from every client, but it sure builds up the chances of getting a positive response when you request a referral.
Originally published: 2 March, 2016