Written by Sean McPheat |
24 May, 2016
Referrals are probably the easiest type of business to get because they are opportunities that are given to you by buyers or decision-makers who know you and trust you enough to put their reputation on the line.
But what is a good definition of a referral?
One word that comes to mind is ‘risk’.
It’s risky for a company to give you a referral because of the risks involved in giving them.
Here are a few questions to think about if the customer doesn’t give you a referral when you ask for it:
Did they like your product or service enough to warrant referring you onto someone else?
Have you built up enough trust with them for them to say they have the courage to give you the details of someone else?
Did you deliver more than you promised, so you earned the referral?
What memorable memories did you leave them with so they think, ‘This is something I want to pass onto someone else’?
How did you minimise the risks involved in them giving you a referral?
At what point in their relationship with you would they be willing to give you a referral and minimise the risk?
What have you done to earn the trust and reduce that risk to the customer?
How have you built a high level of comfort, a great history of performance and a deep level of trust with the customer before even thinking about asking for a referral?
Remember, they are risking a business or personal relationship with someone else by referring that someone to you.
So, when is the best time to ask for a referral?
The best time is after the risk has been eliminated!
If you ask for a referral as soon as the sale is made, you can forget it. You haven’t proved anything to your new customer, and the risk is still high in their mind.
At best, the chances are weak that they will know someone else who wants your product because, at that point in time, they aren’t thinking about anyone else; they are thinking about the relief of having made a decision to go with you.
They are not in the right frame of mind to now start thinking about who else might benefit from your products or services, so now is not the right time to ask.
When you perform higher that they thought possible, when you deliver beyond their expectation, then you have earned the right to get referrals.
The best salespeople aim for unsolicited referrals, as that means your customer loves you, and haven’t been forced to think of someone on-the-spot.
So, don’t ask your customers to do your selling for you.
Build the relationship, deliver more that you said you would and create reasons why they should recommend you to others.
Then you’ve really earned the right to be referred.