Referrals: “If I think of anyone, I’ll let you know…”

by on August 1, 2012 · 2 Comments POSTED IN: Top Sales Dog
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You recently made a big sale to your buyer. The buyer couldn’t be happier. It’s the perfect time to ask for a referral.

“Ms. Buyer,” you say, “would you be comfortable recommending our firm to others?”

“Oh, absolutely,” Ms. Happy Buyer says. “You guys are the best!”

Well, that’s encouraging, isn’t it? Should be smooth sailing from here on in…

“Thanks for the vote of confidence,” you say. “So whom would you suggest we call?”

Ms. Happy Buyer thinks and thinks. “Hmmm. Well, there’s Alan … no, wait, I think he took a new job. Um, let’s see, maybe Robin – no, her company’s too small. Let’s see, who else?”

Ms. Buyer is really trying to help you out. But she’s not having much luck. She has to mentally sift through everyone she knows – or at least the people she can remember off the top of her head — and quickly assess whether they’d be a good prospect for you.

“I can’t come up with anyone right now,” she says apologetically. Then she brightens up. “But if I think of someone, I’ll be sure to let you know.”

“If I think of someone, I’ll be sure to let you know.”

That’s the kiss of death for your referral strategy. Ms. Buyer isn’t likely to think of anyone later. Soon she’ll be caught up in the demands of her day-to-day work — and your need for a referral won’t be high on her to-do list.

There’s a better way to get a referral.

If you and your buyer have LinkedIn accounts, this conversation isn’t the end of your referral effort. It’s just the first step. In just a few minutes, you can do the work involved in finding a referral, so Ms. Happy Buyer doesn’t have to. Simply search her list connections for potential leads, and ask Ms. Buyer to introduce you two through LinkedIn.

The best part is, it’s not even that much work! You can invest less than an hour and stand a good chance of walking away with three, four or five solid new-business leads.

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2 Comments on This Post

  1. August 3, 2012 - 7:29 am

    Truth is that I never ask for referrals any more, but most of my business comes from referrals.

    If you call your client a few days after delivery, you can ask, “So, have you told anyone about this yet?” They tell you who. You ask, “Why them?” Then if appropriate, you can ask, “Do you think that they and I should get together?”

    I advised a kitchen remodeler to call at a week, a month and six months after completion and ask questions like:

    “So, has anybody seen your new kitchen? Did they like it? Should I call them?

    “Have you had anyone over for dinner? Did they like your kitchen? Are they local?”

    Sometimes we’re so busy trying to sell that we forget how to have a conversation.

  2. August 3, 2012 - 7:29 am

    Truth is that I never ask for referrals any more, but most of my business comes from referrals.

    If you call your client a few days after delivery, you can ask, “So, have you told anyone about this yet?” They tell you who. You ask, “Why them?” Then if appropriate, you can ask, “Do you think that they and I should get together?”

    I advised a kitchen remodeler to call at a week, a month and six months after completion and ask questions like:

    “So, has anybody seen your new kitchen? Did they like it? Should I call them?

    “Have you had anyone over for dinner? Did they like your kitchen? Are they local?”

    Sometimes we’re so busy trying to sell that we forget how to have a conversation.

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