What All Sales People Must Do Before Asking For Referrals

Written by Sean McPheat | Linkedin thumb

11 March, 2016

Referrals red wordReferrals have often been called the solid gold introductions for future sales, because they offer something of much greater value than cold calls or informal introductions.

Referrals are like gold as the results of good referrals are easy to measure and quantify.

The clients you are working with are to be mined for introductions and recommendations, so the old sales managers will tell you.

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But what is it that makes clients and customers want to praise you and recognise how beneficial you would be to others?

Simply put, it’s the value you build up for their businesses and the belief that you would be able to offer that value to others as well. 

If they don’t have total belief that the value you offer would be of major benefit to the referred business, then you won’t have much chance of being referred. 

This is the important point: It’s not the value you offer, but the perceived belief of the value you offer that is most important to the client you are working with.

Remember, by referring you, they are placing their reputation on the line.

Let’s assume that the value is perceived as being at a high level.

You still have some questions that need to be answered before you can contemplate contacting the referred person or business.

Here are some questions you need answering:

  • How do you know this person?
  • What mutual contacts do I share with the connected person?
  • How can I find out more information about them? (LinkedIn profiles? Twitter? You-Tube?)
  • How much experience has this connected person got in the industry?
  • How much potential does this connected person have?
  • What would be the best communication medium to use to get in touch with this new prospect?
  • How well does this client know this person they are referring me to?

The answers to these questions will help you to decide how to build value in the connection you are seeking with the new prospect.

You may feel that the value you have offered to your current client is good enough to get you an approved introduction.

But you also have to verify that the perceived value to your client has been good enough to prove worthy of getting this introduction too.

How do you know the value has been seen as high enough to get referrals before asking for them?

You could simply ask if the promises you made to your client before you started working with them have been met and exceeded.

If so, then you may have earned the right to request an introduction to a new prospect.

If not, then asking for a referral may be met by an excuse not to or a blank stare, as they don’t want to introduce you to someone who hasn’t yet proved their worth to you and your business.

So, be mindful that the only way you will get quality referrals from your current clients is if they see there is really good value from your products and services and , most importantly, that the value they perceive they get from you is greater than what they envisaged before they started working with you.

Happy Selling!

Sean McPheat

Managing Director

MTD Sales Training | Sales Blog | Image courtesy of Dollarphotoclub

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