Sales professionals work too hard. Stop selling!
Let your customers sell for you through sales referrals. But first you need to learn how and when to ask.With a referral, there is instant trust and your selling cycle time is reduced. The time it takes the referral to buy is usually much less than any other lead source. What this really means is less hassle and more sales.
You can ask anyone for a sales referral. In the Business to Business world, that usually means clients and prospects. Clients are the best referral source because they know you and they know your products or services. Never miss a chance to ask a happy client for a referral, and a testimonial letter while you are at it.
You can also ask prospects. Suppose you call a prospect only to discover that your product or service doesn't match a need.
You can still ask for a sales referral at the end of your call. What's the worst that can happen? They say "no." No big deal. Move on. But sometimes, just sometimes, they provide you with a name. And that's a great start.Ask for sales referrals at the end of your visit or contact. AFTER you have completed your primary objective. Sales referrals seem easy enough but there is a bit finesse required.
Here's how NOT to ask for a referral:"Jim, do you know of anyone who might be interested in my services?"
This is NOT the recommended method because it is far too easy for your customer or prospect to say, "Ahh...no."
The 'no' that they give you is often reflexive in nature; an automatic response to a closed ended question. In other words, they respond negatively out of habit. You could be missing tons of opportunities.
The BETTER way to ask for the sales referral is this:"Sandy, can you give me a name or two of someone you know who might be interested in these types of products?"The difference is subtle but significant. By asking for a "name", your client has to THINK about names. It is not quite as easy to give you a dismissive "no." Usually, they tend to do a mental scan of friends and associates. This scanning pause helps reduce the automatic, reflexive 'no' response.
Of course, they can and sometimes will, say "no." But by asking for a name you increase your odds and improve the chance for success. It is as simple as the ABC, 123 Sales Results System found in the book Up Your Bottom Line.
Oh, one other point - sales referrals demonstrate good behavior. Make sure that those giving you referrals also get rewarded. Remember, any behavior that gets recognized or rewarded gets repeated. Ask about our referral reward program, and let me know what yours is so that I too can help you get more business.