Are you any good?
As a selling professional, do you have satisfied customers? Have you helped your buyers to reach their goals? Have you saved anyone time and money? Do you deliver on time every time? Do your customers appreciate what you do for them? Do you have customers who come back over and over again to buy from you?
If you answered “yes” to any one of those questions, be sure it’s not a secret. As a seller, you need to get the word out that you are worth talking to and potentially doing business with, too. The best way to get that word out there is by getting some referrals from your satisfied customers.
Buyer referrals are potent. Contrast the good word of a satisfied buyer to a completely cold call – which introduction would you rather have to a new prospect? What’s more, referrals cost less in terms of time and energy spent. Even better, the referring buyer is also re-committing to you every time they make a referral on your behalf. That means that referrals have a multiplier effect, too!
There are only three reasons buyers don’t make referrals for their sellers. Two of these, the ones that account for the majority of missed opportunities, are completely within your control.
The first reason buyers don’t make referrals for their sellers is that they are dissatisfied with the seller. But you don’t have to worry about that – the mini self-assessment above established that you are, indeed, worthy of referrals. So you can’t use this as an excuse for not getting referrals.
The second reason buyers don’t make referrals is that they don’t want to share a good thing. Maybe you work in a narrow vertical and your buyers don’t want you talking to their competition. Or maybe your buyer believes that you’re as busy as you need to be, so they don’t want to share any more of your valuable time with others. These might be valid reasons why buyers don’t give you referrals… But I think these are isolated cases, so do a reality check before you give yourself a free pass on this one.
The only other reason buyers don’t make referrals for their sellers is that they just don’t think to do that. Why would they? That’s why it’s up to sellers to ASK for referrals instead of sitting back and hoping for them. Asking isn’t all that difficult to do. Use these guidelines and start asking for referrals today.
- Everyone knows that you’re in sales. So don’t worry about seeming “too sales-y.” It’s expected and accepted for sales professionals to sell.
- Ask for a referral the same way you’d ask for any other favor. You are appreciative of any help the buyer can offer. It’s a simple and direct request that might sound something like this: “I’m currently working to expand my customer base. I’d appreciate it if you’d give my name and number to anyone you know who I might be able to help with ______.”
- If you work with buyers who sell to the general public or in an industry where you are well-connected, be sure you’re making referrals for them, too.
- Be clear about who you would like to have referred to you. You can be very specific if there is a particular prospect you’d like an introduction to. It would sound like this: “I am trying to get in touch with Bob Jones at Acme, and I see that you are in Rotary Club with him. I’d really appreciate it if you could help me out by putting in a good word for me.” Or if you have parameters about the types of accounts you can work with, communicate that up front by saying something like: “My ideal account is like you, operating in the state of New York and reporting annual revenues between $10 million and $50 million. If you know of any peers who fit this profile, I’d like to ask that you give them my name.”
- Consider getting a written testimonial that you can share as a referral even with people that your buyer doesn’t know. This could be on a social media site like LinkedIn or in the form of a letter written to you. Tell your buyer how you will use this and how it will help you. Chances are that they’ll be honored that you’ve asked.
Every time you get a referral, be sure to thank the buyer who helped you make the connection. Your sincere gratitude, coupled with the appreciation of your new customer, will lead to more referrals. To get started, all you have to do is ask!
When you’re ready to tackle your toughest selling challenges, tune in to CONNECT! Online Radio for Selling Professionalsor consider our CONNECT2Sell Training programs. Be sure to subscribe to the CONNECT2Sell Blog for weekly tips and techniques on increasing your sales by connecting with your buyers.