When it comes to referrals, unlike other areas of sales marketing where prospects can be encouraged, persuaded and enticed to contact prospects, your referrals aren’t likely to be seeking you out daily to give you their names and phone numbers as qualified prospects. |
So how do you get those referral? By simply asking others to give them to you; by earning the right (as I’ve exampled at the end of this article); or to exchange leads with another salesperson, then once you contact their leads and suggest you will be contacting them, they become a referral as well.
ARE YOU HAPPY WITH A 50/50 CHANCE? I’M NOT
Whenever we openly ask for referrals, like this tried and tested way, "Who else do you know anyone who can benefit from our services?" we give the referrer source a choice between a “Yes” and a “No.” That’s a 50/50 chance of a “Yes.”
I’m not happy with a 50% chance of a “Yes,” and I want better odds, so I’ll ask either of these two questions, "Which businesses in this factory complex could benefit from our services the way you will?" This can work just as well with offices, commercial complexes or even in this neighbourhood or adjacent suburbs. On a domestic or direct sales call, you could try, "Who would you say among your neighbours would benefit from the package you’ve chosen?" By being more specific, we’ve helped the referrer focus closer to “home” allowing us to go further afield for more if needed.
If you’re working in a limited industry source, you could try something like this, "May I ask you for a favour? I need your help, as you know, most of our new business comes from people already doing business with us. Who among your friends elsewhere in the industry could benefit the way you do with the products or services we provide?"
To show our appreciation and to keep your referral pipeline effective and profitable, always follow up those who refer business to you. Outside of compensating them some way, surprise them with a them with a hand written thank you note, and keep them in the loop about those they referred to you.
THIS IS ALSO CRITICAL AND FOR YOUR IMMEDIATE CONSIDERATION
There are two things you should be aware of when gathering referrals. They are worth their weight in gold and they tend to cool off very quickly.
Expect no more than 48 to 72 hours of high level receptiveness, that is providing your referrer did the right thing and called them first. If you want a referral to last longer, obtain a written testimonial. That could last indefinitely with regular updates.
Here are some of your challenges with referrals. Salespeople encourage they referrer’s to contact those being referred. Around 50% will. Once they do, they will tell the referral that their name has been passed onto to us.
The more time that elapses between that conversation and salespersons follow up, the colder the lead gets, simply because a long time between the two communications may be interpreted as the salesperson not caring much about this new business opportunity.
Similarly it can be interpreted as a lack of organizational skills. Delaying either diminishes your chances of getting through the door.
LAGING RESPONSE TO A REFERRAL GIVEN MAY ALSO AFFECT AN EXISTING RELATIONSHIP
Realise that first impressions are a lasting legacy that both the referrer as well as the referral will discuss at some point in time.
If the salesperson had not followed up quickly and professionally, the one that referred you in the first place may also have second thoughts of doing business with you. Especially if you had displayed a similar lack of action on any point in the past.
WORKING AND GENERATING REFERRALS
Try this suggested process to generate referrals:
"I (We) appreciate your order today and trust, that I have conducted myself in a very professional manner? Have I been professional?"
“Could you then help me? Thank you. Perhaps you could recommend me and my product to some of your associates, friends or even my competitors, in fact, anyone who could have use for the product - who would they be?"
Some of the best places would be their phone index, Christmas card list etc. But in today’s portable age, I just asked them to pull out their mobile phone and have a look through their “call list.”
Help them, keep asking for more until you feel it may be getting too much, then simply add . . .
“I want you to help me now. If you were me, and you were running your own business, which of these would you call first?”
Give them time to mark the first, ask who would be second, third and so on, and do this for around a quarter of the referral names they have passed on. Now simply ask them why. They will pass on all manner of information, personal stuff, the referred person’s business needs, names of children or other family members that could benefit and so on. Once complete, that revised list then becomes your new priority order call list.
At that point if you feel you have not outdone your welcome, get them to call the referrals for your from the new list in the priority they gave them to you and as they help you make appointment with them on the spot, give them some initial prompters and advice what to say before they pass the phone over to you. You then simply make the appointment on the spot.
I once sold 39 referrals in a row without making one appointment away from my “just sold” customers. Most times, not one referral changed their mind, went cold on me or cancelled an appointment. In fact, just about all of them were keen to see me and know more when I got to meet them.
This Article is by Peter Collins - In a sales career spanning more than 50 years, Peter Collins has focused on helping and bringing out the best in others - whether it involves training or mentoring salespeople, managers, business consulting to SME’s. Since the 1970’s Peter has built a reputation as a Nationally and Internationally Published author, and has 65 books to his credit, but he is mainly known for one book based on the Audio Tape series of the same name, Over 50 Ways of Closing the Sale. In his personal life, Peter has been sought after as an encourager and motivator that has given of his time and talents freely despite his busy schedule. Subsequently, he has assisted churches, pastors, community and charity groups, as well as individuals through his teaching, training, development and on-going mentoring. © Copyright Peter Collins, Profit Maker Sales, Sydney, Australia, 2015, all rights reserved. Peter can be contacted through his website – profitmakersales.com - Submit your articles to AMAZINES.COM
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