Let’s talk about how to ask for referrals in sales.
The idea of sales referrals has been around forever.
What I find though, is that a lot of business owners and entrepreneurs don’t have a good system or process for consistently getting referrals.
Worse off, the referrals they get often times aren’t high-quality customers.
So here’s a quick system that you can use in your business that will help to consistently create high-quality referrals.
Engage More of Your Organization in Generating High-Quality Sales Referrals
Identify Your Ideal Customers
Step one, you have to know who your ideal customers are.
Whether you’re seeking leads in B2B sales or in B2C, take a look at your customer base and identify those customers you enjoy working with.
Maybe the type of work you do for them is work that you’re good at or that you enjoy doing. Maybe it’s work that’s very profitable for you.
Select the customers that pay their bills on time. The customers that don’t hound you and identify anything about those customers you can. Also identify:
- What sector are they in?
- How big are they?
- Where are they located?
Train Your Staff on How to Ask for Referrals
Once you get this information in hand, have a conversation with every employee who interacts with your customers directly or indirectly.
Obviously gather your sales and marketing staff, but also customer service, right? (If you have reception or somebody in a service counter that interacts with customers, or somebody who answers the phones on a regular basis.)
Meet with all of these people in your organization and help them understand
- who your ideal customers are. Then,
- give them guidance on how to ask a client for a referral based on scenarios that occur in their role.
Based on the individual’s type of interaction with your ideal customer, the following script should be catered to their role and when to use it. So you’ll have to define that depending on the role of the person you’re dealing with.
For example, if you’re working with the staff at the service counter, your instruction can go something like this:
On the service counter, when you’ve completed an order or you’ve helped somebody, here’s what I want you to say to them:
Here’s Your Asking for Referrals Script:
“You know, Mr. or Mrs. H or X, (Insert their name here)… We really enjoy working with companies just like yours, and I’m wondering, is there anybody you would suggest we reach out to or connect with that we might be able to help?”
And then the most important piece: Wait… wait in the silence.
Don’t let the silence take over!
A lot of people get nervous here and just wait.
Tell your staff to “count to 10” very slowly and invariably that customer is probably going come back with either:
- A: “I do know somebody, let me introduce you.”
- B: “Let me think about it.” (In which case, your, your employee’s gonna follow up with them), or
- C: “I’m not really sure right now.”
In the case where the customer’s response is:
- A: Great! Take down the information. You’ve got the referral. Way to go with it!
- If it’s B: Their response is “Great, I understand. I just kind of threw this at you right now. Would there be a good time I can follow up with you? How about this this riday or early next week?”
- If it’s C: They should say, “No problem. Can I give you a call or email you for your referral later next week? Or would you like to get back to me when it’s convenient?”
We’re not trying to trap every customer into giving us a referral.
When you identify the individuals who are interacting with the customer and give them a script to use and help them understand who you’re looking for, you give them a very easy way to request referrals.
A lot of times we don’t give our employees enough information to even ask for a referral. We solely rely on our sales people for this task, which limits the possibility of referrals.
Equip your entire customer-facing team with a script for referral requests and you’ll quickly be able to connect with more high-quality customers for your business.
If you have any questions, feel free to comment below.
© Shawn Casemore 2022. All Rights Reserved.