Getting referral business is a wonderful way to sell. It’s always great when customers refer business to you. The referrals you get often aren’t enough to be your sole source of business. You should expect to ask for referrals to add to your sales. You may wonder how to ask for referrals and actually get the information you need to sell. Here’s how you can ask and who to ask to get referrals for your sales.
Set realistic expectations to get referrals.
There are a few unrealistic expectations about how the referral process works. How many times has someone called you to tell you that there is a customer right now looking to buy what you have to sell? Not many times if ever, right? That’s because it’s unrealistic to expect your referral will come from someone needing your product right now.
Some salespeople think that by asking for a referral they can expect the person who gives a referral to sell for them as well. That’s unrealistic. It’s also unwise. You do not want someone else doing your selling for you. The likelihood exists, when someone else is talking about your products or services, for them to have incomplete or incorrect information. That slows the buying process down or even stops it.
Instead, expect that you will have to ask for the referrals you get. You can ask for someone to make a phone call for you or write an email to introduce you. Be clear about what you’re asking. Sometimes you will ask your contact to identify the person at his company who buys or uses the products you sell. Other times you might ask for information about the buying process and how to be considered. You must be clear about what you’re asking for or asking a person to do before you can expect results.
How to ask for a referral.
Let’s say you want to schedule a meeting with a key person at a company and you have not met the person. You have a friend at the company who you can ask for the referral. What are you asking for? You’re asking for your friend’s assistance to make contact with the key person.
Offer to write the introductory email for your friend to send to the key contact. When you write the email you are making it easy for your friend. All he has to do is cut and paste your email and send it. You should include the reason why the key person should want to speak with you. Briefly indicate your credentials.
Your friend would forward this information to the key contact: I thought you should know about a successful consultant who specializes in transforming marketing from a cost function to a revenue generating function. The reader is more likely to want to meet with you when the reader sees something that’s in it for him. A “successful consultant” indicates your credentials. Be sure your email includes the recommendation to meet with you. Include, “I’m sure meeting with him is good use of your time.”
Who can you ask for a referral?
You probably know more people than you think to ask for referrals. You’ve worked with people in the past who know you and would recommend you if you asked. You have friends who could help you with referrals. You have current customers and suppliers who know you. Just be sure what you’re asking for them to do is something that is simple for them to do. You are not asking for the person to sell for you. Simply ask them to connect you to the person you need to and you write the effective email introduction for them!
Referrals are key component of selling. Getting referrals helps make selling easier. And who doesn’t want to make their selling easier?