Written by Sean McPheat |
I have seen and heard tons of techniques and tricks on how to ask for referrals from your customers.
But I have to tell you that most of those so-called golden nuggets are actually outdated, old-school pitch-mentality approaches to working with updated, modern and sophisticated consumers.
I am going to make this short and sweet, because asking for referrals from your clients should be a natural and comfortable act and not some slick technique.
The whole problem is in the way you THINK about asking for referrals.
Most sales people still have a wrong way of thinking about this and it is the same misunderstanding about the thinking about setting appointments.
The average sales person, when thinking about asking for referrals is thinking about asking for potential customers.
They are thinking about who can the customer refer to them who may possibly buy the product or service, and this is a mistake.
This thinking is skipping the steps in the sales process.
When setting appointments, many sales people have this same problem in that they are looking for people who are “ready to buy” instead of setting appointments with those who are simply “qualified to buy.”
They are selling the product or service over telephone instead of selling the appointment.
Likewise, when thinking about referrals, sales people are looking for a “ready made customer” instead of a possibly qualified prospect.
This thinking makes the whole thing uncomfortable and unnatural: you are asking the customer to give you the name and number of someone whom you are going to go and ask for money and you are going to use their name to do it!
The customer is not comfortable doing that and you are not comfortable asking them.
Change your thinking about asking for referrals.
Look at it this way:
If you where sitting in your client’s office and one of their business associates walk in the door; would that client introduce you to that associate?
Would they also tell them what you do, what company you work for?
Of course they would. It is natural and comfortable.
You are not asking for any money—it is an introduction—that’s all!
And that is all you are asking for: an introduction.
Also, if you are indeed a professional; an expert in your industry, then let’s not forget that when you meet with a prospective customer and do a sales presentation or consultation, you impart an enormous amount of beneficial industry information to that prospect.
You provide a useful and profitable education for the prospect which will help them regardless of if they buy or not.
And you do it for FREE!
“Mr. Client, you remember when we first met and I presented all of that information? I helped you see exactly how your older electrical system was costing you a ton of money. Well, that is my job; to help business owners see what is hurting their bottom line. I would like to meet some of your associates so that I can share the same money saving information with them…”
Do not skip steps in the sales process.
Do not sell the product or service.
Do not look for “lay-down-sales.”
Look for introductions.
Change YOUR thinking on asking for referrals and it will change your client’s thinking on giving them to you!
Originally published: 23 October, 2017