When was the last time you asked a client for a referral? Over 80% of all sales people don't. What is preventing you from asking for a referral when one of your best sources of new prospects is an existing satisfied customer? Maybe you’re afraid to ask, or you’ve had a bad experience in the past, or maybe you’ve never been taught simple and effective ways to ask for a referral.
It's easy to ask for a referral. My sales mentor, Tom Vanyo, taught me a simple approach:
Step 1: Somewhere in a conversation I ask, “Can you do me a favor?” A majority of the time, the person will respond with something like “Well, that depends what do you need?”
Step 2: I simply ask, “Who do you know that I should be talking with about the type of work I do?” Expect the response, “I can't think of anyone.”
Step 3: Identify the type of person you are looking for. “I am looking for someone very similar to you.” Repeat back to your prospect who they are and the type of person they are.
Step 4: “If we were at a social gathering, having a conversation like we are now, and a friend of yours walked up, would you introduce us?” Expect this response, “Well, of course I would.”
Step 5: “That's all I am asking for today, an introduction to someone you know, a nice person who may be in a similar situation. You can be confident that I will treat them with the same respect that I have always treated you. Is that fair enough?”
If they still don't want to refer you to anyone, let it go. You want to always leave the person you are talking to better than you found them.
The questions we all need to ask ourselves are: “Am I referable?” “Do I show up on time?” “Do I follow-up on the things I say I’m going to follow-up on?” “Am I prepared for each call?” “Am I confident and are my prospects and clients confident in me?”
I haven't made a cold call in over 10 years. Over that period of time, my business has grown and prospered on a steady stream of referrals. If you’ve done the work of effective relationship building, gaining referrals is simple.