The Secrets of Referral-Based Selling
Do your salespeople ask for referrals as often as they should? Do they get quality referrals on a regular basis? In speaking with thousands of entrepreneurs and business owners over the past fifteen years I’m constantly amazed how often I’m told that their salespeople forget or just feel uncomfortable asking for a referral.
The purpose of this blog post is to answer the age-old question: When’s the best time to ask for a referral?
The absolute best time to ask is when your salesperson closes the initial sale. Our research shows that their prospect buys them (the salesperson) first, your company or brand second and the product or service third. Here’s some suggested verbiage:
Thank you for your business! I’m curious if there is anyone in your personal or professional network that you recommend I contact?
It doesn’t need to be any more complicated than the previous two sentences.
Sometimes salespeople feel they have to “earn the right” to ask for a referral. If that’s the case here are six tried and true steps to becoming referable:
1. Show Up On Time
2. Do What You Say You Would Do
3. Manage Expectations
4. Say Please and Thank You
5. Under-Promise and Over-Deliver
6. Build Rapport with Your Clients
When someone offers to make an introduction on your behalf make it easy for them. Help them figure out what to say. Give them some bullets (or scripting) about what it is you do, who you do it for and how your clients benefit as a result! Here’s an example of our elevator pitch; “The Boyens Group partners with our clients in the B2B space to help them increase the productivity of their sales force, improve the effectiveness of their management team and optimize their business strategy. As a result they’re able to sell bigger deals faster, improve the size and quality of their pipeline, shorten sales cycles and grow market share.”
The more precise and focused your elevator pitch, the easier it will be for your contacts to provide you with quality referrals.