Referrals make exceptional sales leads. They are warm and are often easier to close especially when the referral source is trusted by the prospect.
Because they are not comfortable asking for them, too many sales people do not take full advantage of referrals. In addition, many sales people do not know how to set up a referral network or even have a broad enough network to generate a constant flow of referrals. Here are a few tips to help you generate referrals that will lead to quality sales.
Give a referral.
It’s part of human nature to return a favor. If you refer your clients to companies with which you do business, they’re more likely to refer their customers to you.
Create a referral exchange program.
Create a network of companies that refer to one another. Be sure you only include businesses that you would recommend to your best customers.
Thank your referral sources.
Express your appreciation for referrals by calling, emailing or writing the referrer to say thank you. Taking a little time to show your appreciation encourages additional referrals.
Offer a referral commission.
Offer to pay others a stipend for providing you with referrals. There is no set standard for how much to offer. Be generous in order to adequately express your appreciation
Provide content to your referral sources.
Provide your referral sources with content that they can share within their network. Additionally, have your referral network distribute invitations to your upcoming sales events and seminars or webinars. You can even share general information about your company or industry, such as articles about business trends and changes.
Treat your vendors and suppliers as partners.
Let your vendors and suppliers know that you consider them your partners and hope they view you the same way. Recommend sharing referrals.
Treat your clients as partners too.
Don’t forget about your clients. Let them know you consider them to be your partners as well. Again you can recommend sharing referrals if you have a strong relationship with them.
Join LinkedIn and create and regularly update your LinkedIn profile. Stay in touch with your contacts. Create a list of potential buyers and check out their profiles. You may find you have a connection that allows you to reach out to them through your network.
Educate clients about all the products and services you offer.
Make sure your client’s representative is aware of all the products and services you offer. This is especially important if your client is a large organization with multiple divisions. The representative with whom you’re working might only be interested in a specific product or service, but they can refer you to parts of their organization that need the other products and services you offer.
Ask for referrals.
After completing a sale or successful project with a client, just ask if they know of others that would benefit from your products and services. Asking is the simplest way to get more referrals.
One size does not fit all when it comes to referral networks. Think about your clients, vendors, and suppliers and create a network that best meets their needs and yours. Finally, remember to express your appreciation with hand-written thank you notes and even a small gift in order to express your gratitude.
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Founder of RedRock Leadership