Sales Training: Generate High Quality Referrals
Published: Friday, December 2, 2011
Sales Training Article: Five Keys to Generating High Quality Referrals
by Paul McCord, www.salesdog.com
We all know the importance of referrals for building business, but what's really important is that those referrals are high-quality referrals. Here are the secrets to generating high-quality referrals that get results.
From the time we enter the sales industry we've heard that referrals are by far the best prospecting and marketing method in existence. Yet, very few of us actually get very many high quality referrals.
Certainly some of us manage to get a name and phone number here and another there. A few of us will manage to get several. However, most of these "referrals" are worthless--just names and phone numbers of people or businesses that have no interest in or need for or can't afford our product or service.
Nevertheless, there are a few salespeople and business owners who have found a way to not only generate more than just a few referrals, but somehow they manage to generate enough high quality referrals to run very successful sales practices almost exclusively from the referrals they receive from their clients.
Do they have some great secret the rest of us don't know?
In a sense, they do know something most of us don't. They've learned that what most of us are doing to get referrals--just asking a question such as, "Ms. Client, do you know of anyone else that I might help"--doesn't work.
Moreover, they have learned ways that do work.
Let's look at five (5) of the most basic things these mega-referral producers have learned:
Ask for referrals: Sounds stupid right? If you don't ask, how do you expect to get them? Unfortunately, over 50% of salespeople simply never ask--and the majorities who do 'ask,' really don't ask for referrals.
Really Ask: Asking means a direct request for referrals. Studies have also shown that the majority of salespeople and business owners who ask for referrals don't really ask--they suggest. They'll say something like "Don, if you happen to run across someone who could use my service, would you give them one of my cards?" and then they hand the client a bunch of cards--that usually go straight into the trash.
Let the client know who's a good referral: Very few salespeople ever define for the client exactly who a good referral is. They assume the client knows. Bad assumption. Clients aren't in your business. Why should they know? You have to let them know exactly who you're looking for.
Make the referral easy for them: Instead of making your client come up with the referral, do the work for them. During the course of the sale do some detective work and figure out who your client knows that you know you want to be referred to. Then, when it comes time to ask for referrals, make it easy for them. Say something such as, "Ms. Client, I've been trying to connect with Joe Blow at XYZ Company for quite some time and just haven't been able to make the connection. It dawned on me that you might know Joe. Do you know him?"
If I've done my homework well, I know--or at least have good reason to believe--the answer will be yes.
If I know my client trusts me and that I've done a good job for her, I then suggest the referral: "Great. Would you be comfortable introducing me to him?"
My client doesn't have to wonder who might make a good referral for me. She doesn't have to think. She doesn't have to do anything other than to utter one simple word, "yes." It's a lot easier for a client to say "yes" than it is to figure out who would be a good referral. It takes no time. It takes no effort. It's easy. I get a referral to someone that I know I want to be referred to.
Don't get names and phone numbers, get introduced. A name and phone number is just a name and phone number, not a referral. Get introduced to the prospect through an introduction letter, phone call, or lunch meeting.
Mega-referral producers have a detailed process they use to generate a large number of high quality referrals from every one of their clients--and even prospects. They have developed a disciplined and effective procedure they use with each client that leads to a predictable end--receiving a large number of high quality referrals.
But even without learning the process they use, if you simply implement these 5 simple tips, you'll increase both the number and quality of the referrals you receive from your clients immediately.Read our sales training articles.