Referrals are one of the most overlooked ways to make sales. In fact, only 17% of sales professionals ask for referrals. The ironic part is most satisfied customers state they would be happy to refer the salesperson when they have a "positive sales experience." This low-hanging fruit could increase your sales by 10-12% on average. "Who doesn't want a 10-12% increase in sales?
When To Ask
Often in sales conversations, salespeople say they want to ask, but don't feel comfortable when closing the sale. Asking for a referral feels like they are asking too much. The best time to ask is directly after the close. Why? This is the time when it is fresh in the customers mind the decision not only to buy your offering but to go with you as well. Great experiences are like great movies; they are never as powerful as they are at the moment. Ask your client while they are feeling the essence of the positive sales experience that is you.
When Not to Ask
You don't want to ask for a referral at the same time you are asking for payment, or delivering an invoice. Sometimes you have to ask the customer to go the extra mile to help close the sale whether it's additional signatures, clearances, delivery changes or other things your company requires. This is not the time to ask for more from them.
If the customer has chosen you it is the beginning of a relationship. Deliver on your promises, stay consistent and create a sales experience that will continue to reinforce why they chose you. If you follow these steps, the time will come when you can ask.
You got the referral based on trust; you got the sale based on trust if you want to continue to build a network of referrals you have to continue the process of creating relationships and growing those existing relationships through trust. Both personal and professional trust by being the kind of person you would refer to a friend or colleague. Deliver consistency by doing what you say, when you say you will, and provide value that exceeds price.
After the Sale
After the sale continue to offer critical insights, product knowledge, thank you notes, and ways to make their lives easier. Check in with your customers to make sure the transition is going smoothly and ask if there is anything you can do to help. Stay invested in them, and they will invest in you as well. This should be in your sales playbook.
What is your process for receiving a referral?
If you are in an industry where you sell directly to consumers, you probably need as many referrals as possible to grow your business. When you ask for a referral, you should follow up within 24-48 hours.
If you do not connect at first keep trying. When you reach them, you should notify the referral source that you have connected and thank them for this referral. Get contact information at the time you receive the referral and ask permission to reach out. Never leave it up to the referral to get in touch with you, or the person who referred you to follow up.
Only when you have tried three to five times to reach them over two to three weeks should you ask the source to help you with a gentle nudge for your future customer.
People are busy; the person who referred you as well as the referral source. Just because they have not returned your call does not necessarily mean they are not interested.
Referrals are gifts people give who placed their trust in you-Treat them accordingly.
If you create an exceptional customer experience, deliver recognized value, stay consistent, and have an attitude of gratitude you can increase your sales 10-12% by asking for referrals.