Asking for referrals can be an uncomfortable step for many sales people, for non-sales people it can be about as uncomfortable as a root canal. It doesn’t have to be that way! Many times referrals are made difficult and uncomfortable because they are asked at the wrong time. It is important to remember that referrals should be ask at a time when the client is happiest, shortly after they’ve received the product or service. It is also important to remember that the sales person shouldn’t always be the person who has to ask for the referral, many times the sales person is not the individual that the client develops a relationship with, it is usually whomever is delivering the product or service. By developing a cross-functional team of sales, service, and product delivery people you can develop a referral process that is a win-win for all involved.
Here are a series of tips that you can share with your team to help get referrals and build your network.
Remind the Customer of Specific Benefits - Be aware of when clients tell you benefits so that you can bring them up during this process, it can happen during a phone call or during a general service call.
Describe Your Customer Profile – Describe some other solutions that you have provided for other companies or organizations. It will help them start to think of other people.
Identify a Benefit for Giving a Referral – Identify a value that it creates for the client to give you a referral.
Suggest they Already Know Someone – If you know of a specific person or client that you would like to be referred to provide your client the opportunity to mention them. Just remember you shouldn’t put the person on the spot, rather bring it up and let them think.
Ask for an Introduction – Asking for an introduction is a good way to break the ice with the client and has the added impact of having someone that has benefited from your product in the room or on a call.
The most important aspect is to remind ourselves of the benefits of asking for the referral and then just ask.