How To Ask Referrals From Existing Customers
If you are in direct sales looking for new people is critical for your success. Customer referrals are one of the most powerful selling and marketing tools available. In fact, the best source of new business is a referral from a satisfied customer. Before I jump in on how to ask for referrals from existing customers let me share with you the seven benefits of referrals for those of you that don’t know.
Seven Benefits of Referrals
- Referred prospects are easier to set appointments with – The referral came from a trusted third party who has experienced directly the benefits of doing business with you and has the best interests of the recipient at heart. And even if the person (the third party) hasn’t done business with you directly (perhaps this person is not in your target market or has no need for your product or service), at least this person can vouch for you as a person worthy of trust and respect.
- With referred prospects, price is less of an issue – It’s not that price doesn’t matter. It’s just that now the trust factor comes into play. Because of the “borrowed trust” that got you there in the first place and allowed you to set the appointment, there’s a carry-over throughout the presentation. When a prospect doesn’t like the price to be high, what they really trying to say is that the value he/she perceives in your product or service is not as valuable as the amount of money being asked to give up in exchange. This happens because of lack of trust. Trust typically develops over time. By going in on borrowed trust, you automatically accelerate that process, and price therefore becomes less of an issue.
- Referred prospects are easier to close – This is simply an extension of the previous point. It all comes down to trust, and going into the presentation with borrowed trust gives you a huge advantage.
- You are automatically positioned as a referral-based salesperson – In other words, referred prospects are already “trained”; they understand and are already of the mindset that that’s how you do business. That you are worthy of referrals. You work via referrals. After all, that’s how they met you! So giving you referrals at the end of your presentation seems only natural to them. There will be much less hesitation or reluctance on their part (or none) to refer you.
- Referrals give your prospect the advantage of indirect experience – Referrals provide a low-risk way for individuals or businesses to get indirect experience of the product or service.” What do I mean about “indirect experience”? Certainly not that the prospect has used it himself. But because someone he knows, likes, and trust has used it and can vouch for it, the prospect now has the benefit of that knowledge and experience.
- A referral builds the loyalty of the person who gave you the referral, and he will continue to do so – Now that seem a bit odd, doesn’t it? Why would providing you with a referral build a greater sense of loyalty in the person who made the referral? Let me explain… once we make a choice or take a stand, we will encounter personal and interpersonal pressures to behave consistently with that commitment. Those pressures will cause us to respond in ways that justify our earlier decision. We simply convince ourselves that we have made the right choice and, no doubt, feel better about our decision. It is, quite simply, our desire to be (and to appear) consistent with what we have already done.
- Referrals give you additional time with which to work – When your business depends on your constantly having to prospect for new business, you’re spending the majority of your time taking actions that do not directly result in making money. First you must determine where you can prospect. That takes time. Then you begin meeting people or getting on the phone and calling people. That takes time. You sort through those who are interested and those who are not. More time. You can make a living doing this, but you’re wasting a lot of time! A referral-based business constantly puts you in front of qualified prospects who have already passed over what I call the “Marketing Bridge.” They need your product or service, they want it, and they can afford it.
Now that I’ve given you the 7 benefits of why getting referrals is important, let’s jump into the nitty gritty on HOW to ask referrals from existing customers. Here are some tips that will help you ask for referrals in a confident and effective way
One of the most common reasons why most salespeople don’t get referrals is because they are afraid to ask for them. If you’ve built rapport with customers and they are happy with a product, there’s no reason they shouldn’t want to share it with their friends and family. So, just ask!
While it’s important to ask for referrals, if customers express any reluctance you should not push them for a referral. You best plan is to continue to give excellent customer service. At a future point, if customers starts to feel that it’s ok, then you can take the opportunity to ask again.
EXPLAIN HOW YOU WILL TREAT A REFERRAL
Let customers know how you will approach referrals and that you will treat them well. By explaining what you will say when you call and how you will work with them, existing customers will feel confident and assured that their friends will have a good experience.
ASK THE CUSTOMER TO CONTACT THE REFERRAL
Let customers know that you plan on calling the referral within a week, then ask customers to inform the referrals that you will be calling. The approach can be very helpful in establishing a connection with the referral. However, sometimes people forget, so don’t assume that the referral knows you will be calling. Be sure to ask if the customer contacted them and be prepared for either possibilities.
CONTACT THE REFERRAL PROMPTLY
When you ask for referrals you should tell the customers when you plan to contact the person they suggested. It’s likely the customer has told the referral to expect a call from you on that date, so it’s very important that you keep the commitment. If you don’t, you could damage your relationship, not only with the referral, but with the referring customer as well.
91% of customers say they would give referrals. only 11% of salespeople ask for referrals.