Before we jump into how to get sales from referrals lets answer the why — why is referral selling so important? The short answer is because you are pre-sold and that almost always ensures a shorter sales cycle. Being pre-sold gets you get access to decision makers faster and increases you chances of closing a sale. Your chances of closing a deal increases because people don’t make buying decisions without some research and outside opinion, that opinion comes from colleagues, friends and family so impress them (your current clients) and the network of referrals will undoubtedly follow.
So we now know why referral selling is so important, lets shift the focus to see how to get sales from referrals.
Tactic #1 – Ask.
This sounds obvious but you wouldn’t believe how many people just close deals and assume that if people like their product they will recommend it. That is simply not the case, ask and always follow up.
Tactic #2 – Pick your spot.
The timing of when you ask is crucial. Don’t ask too early and don’t ask before the ink is dry on the contract. Some suggest laying the ground work early saying “if things go well could I get a referral”. Personally I prefer just to wait until after I’ve delivered and the rollout is complete. Once you’re sure they’re satisfied say “since this has been so successful do you think you might know someone else that this could benefit” if they say yes ask for the referral.
Tactic #3 – Help them work their way up to it.
If your unsure about a client’s willingness to give you a referral ask them to commit to something where their personal reputation isn’t on the line. My two favourites are to participate in a case study or to give an anonymous comment about the product. Chance are if they agree to one of those two you should be able to ask for and get a referral.
Tactic #4 – Help them be successful.
Introduce them to people you know, bring them opportunities and try to provide them with industry insight into competitors or trends that they can benefit from. The more successful you make them the happier they will be and the more likely they will be to refer you, it’s all reciprocal.
Tactic #5 – Last but certainly not least – do a good job.
All of tactics above are meaningless if you are bad sales person. I have said it time and time again focus on the customer, do what’s in their best interest and they will be happy, you will be successful and they will refer you.
So you used one or all of the tactics above and were successful in getting a referral. The last key piece of advice is to make sure they place the call or send the email. Don’t go around town saying Joe said I should talk to you that will have no impact at all. If they really stand behind you and your product they will have no problem taking a few minutes out of their day to help you.
I hope this has helped you understand why referrals are so important and how to get sales from referrals. If you have any other tactics that have been successful please share.