In today's business world, getting new customers and clients is on everyone's mind. Talk to the average small business person, for example, and prospecting for new customers is probably their top concern. There are a lot of ways to create new business, and one of the most effective remains receiving referrals from your existing client base.
Customer referrals are so powerful because trust is one of the most important aspects of deciding who to do business with. When a potential client is referred to you by a friend or colleague, that trust is already there. Here are 4 quick tips to improve the number of referrals that you receive:
Preface that you will ask for referrals
It's helpful to let clients know that you are going to ask for referrals before you actually do so. It can be direct: "Later I'll ask you if you know of anyone else who I can help out"; or it can be indirect: "One of the most powerful ways we've built our business is through referrals from happy customers". It works best to put these statements at the beginning of your sales presentation.
Most sales representatives lose out on potential referral business simply because they don't ask. They get caught in the mental trap - they think that their customers will overwhelmingly happy and volunteer referrals on their own. You'll always receive more referrals when you ask for them. You'll often hear from your customers, "Now that you mention it, I do know someone...". Don't lose that business just because you were reticent to ask.
Don't ask for referrals once, ask over and over. You don't want to become an obnoxious bore by asking the same question over and over, but you can vary your approach and get a great response. For example, ask when you first close the sale, and then ask again when they take delivery of the product or service. Then ask again in a month when you make a follow-up call to make sure they are still happy.
Ask Who, instead of Do
Instead of asking "Do you know anyone who...?" ask "Who do you know who...?". By asking an open ended question, you are much more likely to get a positive response because you are encouraging the customer's brain to find an answer to the question.