Most salespeople know that referrals are among the highest-value leads they’ll ever find – and yet they still won’t ask for them.

Why?

A misplaced sense of what’s legitimate.

Many salespeople say, “My customer has just given me business and now I’m asking him for more business from somebody else? I can’t do it.”

Really, it’s okay
Don’t let such ideas stop you. If you believe in the value of your product or service, and that you earned the sale, then you have also earned the right to ask for referrals. Remember, you are asking for the opportunity to help solve someone else’s problems – not simply for more business. If you’ve helped your customer in some way, why wouldn’t they want you to help others?

Here’s a set of techniques that are unlikely to create pushback:

  1. Start by getting feedback from customers. Make sure they are entirely happy with your service.
  2. Ask for a testimonial. But insist that you don’t want a vague, generic endorsement. Instead, interview them in as much depth as time allows, and write up a testimonial for their approval.
  3. Ask after a success. That’s when your relationship is strongest, and most people are willing to recommend you.
  4. Learn about the company they refer you to. Don’t depend on your customer to do all the work.
  5. Always thank your customers for their referrals – even if they don’t work out. That allows you to ask for another later.

Adapted from Barry Farber’s book, “The 12 Clichés of Selling [and why they work].” His web page is www.barryfarber.com

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