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Leveraging the Power of Referrals

Sales Tips: Ask for Referrals

By Gary Walker, EVP of Channel Sales & Operations, CustomerCentric Selling®

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Consider this. Individuals who have made buying decisions have a natural tendency to conclude that they’ve made a wise choice.

Existing, satisfied customers potentially represent a huge untapped asset for salespeople. Think about it. It is rare to get a negative response when you ask people how they like their expensive new car, even if they are less than thrilled with it.The point being, even unhappy customers want to validate their choices. This can be further validated if others make the same buying decision. Happy, satisfied customers will often boast about their selection and, as a result, are more than willing to help a sales person succeed by finding new accounts. Unfortunately, most salespeople fail to reap the benefits of referrals from their clients.

There are four (4) common reasons why:

Salespeople fail to ask for referrals.
When they do obtain a referral, salespeople fail to ask for a warm referral, meaning they don’t ask their customer to make a telephone call or send an introductory email.
They don’t attempt to discover from their customer what specific business goal or problem the referral may be facing.
When calling prospects they have been referred to, salespeople fail to go much beyond saying: “Joe Smith suggested I contact you.”
So here are the selling tips:

ASK for referrals!

ASK your customer to make a telephone call or send an introductory email to the referral on your behalf.

ASK your customer if they are aware of any potential goals, problems or needs the prospect may have. This will allow you to prepare for the call.

And finally, with a referral, as with all prospects, your objective is to have the prospect share a goal, problem or issue so that you can begin selling. One of the best ways to do this is to share the success story of the customer that referred you.One of the easiest circumstances in which to make the connection is when the titles of both your customer and the referral are the same. When they are not, be sure you are attempting to relate business issues that the prospect is facing so there is alignment. Go into your call with a plan, including a menu of potential goals for the person you are calling on.

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