Existing customers are spending less. Leads are coming in slower. It takes a much longer sales cycle to close a deal… Now is the time when referrals can truly help! How do you ask without feeling or sounding pushy or aggressive? You want to maintain a good relationship, and you want to create win-win-win scenarios. Having a simple, conversational process helps know what to say and how to say it. The most important aspect is to remind yourself of the benefits of asking, then just ask.
Here is a five step process you can follow:
Step One: Remind the customer of the specific benefits you have provided to them.
If you know how your organization has helped the customer in the past, this becomes very easy. Paraphrase some results they told you or talk about the business benefits your organization has brought to the customer based on your own knowledge or experience. Ask for their agreement, in a conversational way.
Step Two: Describe your customer profile.
Briefly describe the range of challenges faced and benefits received by your customers. This may remind your existing customer of opportunities they are missing. It will also help them start to think of other people.
Step Three: Identify a benefit for giving a referral.
How could your current customer (or anyone) benefit from referring this person to you? Identify the value it creates for this person, not their company, the prospect, or you. Try honestly to see things from their point of view.
Step Four: Suggest they already know someone.
Provide examples of people or job positions that could benefit from your offerings. Make it easy for them. If you have a specific person or people in mind, mention them by name. Give a variety of names and positions, and talk slowly so the person has a chance to think. Listen.
Step Five: Ask for an introduction.
Ask your contact if he or she is willing to give you an introduction before you contact the new person. This will help make the process even friendly and open the door wider. Consider asking them to send an email, make a phone call, or introduce you personally at a networking event. You could even suggest a conference call.
Before you contact this new opportunity, you might want to conduct some additional research to make certain you have value to offer. This allows you to put your best foot forward with this contact. Research on the person, the organization, and the industry can save valuable time for everyone.