Ever wonder why people are in business and never ask for referrals with the anticipation that it will happen on its own? Never underestimate the power of a referral especially when it opens your business to potential new leads and new business. Winning new business from a referral builds a seller’s trustworthiness and credibility, which are two key points for any effective selling of effective selling.
While most sellers recognise the power of referrals, they don’t know how to tap into their networks to pro-actively generate sales referrals.
This happens for a number of reasons. Many sellers are uncomfortable asking for referrals. They either don’t want to appear “salesy” or desperate for the work. Or it might be insecurity — they’re not sure if they actually deliver value and benefit to their clients. What better way than to share some tactical tips for generating more referrals.
Referrals are among the top ways sellers get leads and new business, but many struggle with generating them consistently.
Be referable, that is to say to make referral marketing a proactive part of your lead generation activities, you need to actually be referable. Ensure that you deliver what you promise, when you promise. Your existing clients need to be able to speak to the value you provide.
Don’t rely on accidental referrals, while good — it’s important to get clear on who you want to attract as clients and how your network can help you get referrals to those clients.
Don’t wait on your sales pipeline to dry up. Put a sales referral process into place now to drive high quality referrals so that you are not left in a lockdown situation with no potential business.
The Winning Tips
1. Create a referral program with complementary providers to exchange referrals. Make it a must to only include providers in this network that you’d be comfortable recommending to your best client or best friend.
2. Recognise and thank your referral sources. This could be with a simple phone call, email, or even better, a handwritten card. The important thing is to express your appreciation. You’ll also encourage additional referrals this way.
3. If you have clients who don’t refer, create another way for them to recommend you (case study, testimonial).
I once worked for a large organization that prohibited written testimonials and discouraged referrals; however, I was able to provide recommendations by phone for vendors with which I worked. Two vendors I worked with took advantage of this opportunity and closed several deals by having select high-value prospects speak with me.
4. Make sure your current clients know about all the products and services you offer and how you help. This way, they can either refer within their company or to others they know. Too often sellers assume their clients know more about them than they do. If you’re a market research firm and a client uses only your online survey research services, for example, make sure they know about your intercept interview service or focus group capabilities.
5. Add a link to a form on your website for referral submissions
This will also share valuable feedback on the business activity as it’s usually almost real-time.
6. Be remarkable; remind clients why your company is special. Give them something (good) to talk about.
7. Inspire confidence.
It’s risky referring someone — what if it’s not successful? You can inspire confidence in your referral sources by letting them know that 80 percent (or whatever) of your business comes from repeat customers.
8. Provide valuable content your referral sources can share with their network.
An invitation to a breakfast or lunch seminar or webinar on an industry topic, research briefs, an article about a regulatory change or industry trend, to mention a few. Make it something special for them to share.
9. Treat the vendors and suppliers with which you do business as partners.
Make sure they’re aware of who and how you help.
10. Ask for referrals.
You’ll get a lot more referrals if you ask for them. This is just a start. Create a sales referral process that works for your ideal clients and your business network and as a reminder, be referable. Focus on your ideal clients always.
Robert Gonye is a Business Growth Expert and Influencer. He writes in his personal capacity. Comments and views: [email protected]
The views given herein are solely for information purposes; they are guidelines and suggestions ONLY.