Written by Sean McPheat |
How confident do you feel in asking for referrals?
If you’re like most salespeople we meet on our programmes, the answer will range from ‘not very’ to ‘about as confident as a snowman in summer’.
How, then, do you build that confidence so it becomes a natural way to gain more business from your current clients’ database?
Well, firstly you need to set yourself up right in order to be referred.
Here are some ideas:
Make Sure Your Current Clients Know About All The Products And Services You Offer And How You Help so they can either refer within their company or to others they know.
Too often sellers assume their clients know more about them than they do.
Add A Link To A Form On Your Website For Referral Submissions.
It’s risky referring someone—what if it’s not successful?
You can inspire confidence in your referral sources by letting them know that 80% (or whatever) of your business comes from repeat customers.
Offer A Referral Commission.
Make sure your clients know this exists
Provide Valuable Content Your Referral Sources Can Share With Their Network
An invitation to a breakfast or lunch seminar or webinar on an industry topic, research briefs, an article about a regulatory change or industry trend, etc. will make it something special for them to share with others
Treat The Vendors And Suppliers With Which You Do Business As Partners.
Make sure they’re aware of who and how you help.
Update Your LinkedIn Profile And Stay Engaged With Your Contacts Regularly
Create A List Of Buyers You Want To Work With.
Check out their LinkedIn profiles to see whether you’re connected in any way.
If so, reach out to them via your network—whether it’s an individual, a company, or a group.
Treat Your Clients As Partners, Too.
Let them know you view them as a strategic partner, and tell them you hope they’ll do the same with you.
What would be the results if you were to do some, most or all of the above?
It may bring you the chance of referrals from your existing clients.
But you still need to ask, and that’s where it can become a little tricky.
Here’s what NOT to say:
Don’t say “Do you know anybody else who might be interested in this?”
Because your clients won’t know ‘anybody’.
It’s Too Vague And Generic.
Asking ‘do you know anybody who’ is asking them to think of everyone they know and then doing the hard work of narrowing those hundreds of people down to a select few who would be up for being sold to!
In other words, you’re asking the client to do the work of marketing your products for you!
Instead, you need to get your current clients to endorse you and promote you.
How? Try something like this:
“Thanks for your time today, John. I recently wrote this guide on 7 ways to improve Health and Safety for small businesses. It’s a collection of the most common mistakes companies make when dealing with health and safety. I know you have a number of small businesses that you deal with. Do you think they would benefit from reading it?”
You’d probably get a ‘yes’ at this point.
“Good! Here’s what we can do…I think we could send them a letter or email offering the guide. It should probably come from you, but I’d be happy to write a draft for you to edit if that’s easier. In the letter, we can ask them to call my office to request a copy, so we’re not sending it to people who don’t want it. How does that sound?”
Do you see what this has done?
It’s made your happy client a marketing genius for you and your company.
But you have to do the hard work that makes asking for referrals easy.
By providing value for your current client, you’ll find it easier for them to think of colleagues, suppliers, customers and prospects that would find your information useful and valuable.
Try this format when next asking for referrals.
You’ll find it easier to get names than by simply asking if there’s anyone in their little black book to whom you can sell!
Originally published: 24 August, 2017