A telephone call to a happy customer is the ideal way to find referrals and new prospects. This call should be a natural part of the sales process but, sadly, not a lot of salespeople bother once they have made a sale.
So what stops you from asking for a referral?
Perhaps you feel embarrassed having to ask or perhaps you feel you might be putting your customer in a difficult spot, because he may not know anyone to recommend to you. Well, like there is a process in every step of the telesales call, there is also a process for asking for the referral. It is easy when you know how. Then you will have more confidence to do it.
The obvious people to give you referrals are your customers who have recently bought from you. When you call them one or two weeks after they have bought from you, to check they are happy with their purchase, they will not only be impressed that you bothered to call, but they will be only too pleased to assist you.
Mistakes people make
The average salesperson would ask, “Do you know anyone else who might want to buy what you have just bought?”
When someone is asked that direct question, their mind goes blank and they cannot think of a single person. You must aim to be more specific. Following are a few ideas.
The script for asking for referrals
You must establish that the customer is happy with his purchase or with your service and then ask one of the following:-
- Who else do you know that might want to save the same amount of money you have saved by buying this product? (use the benefit here of what your product does for the customer)
- If you were to substitute yourself as the purchaser of this product/service who would that person be?
- Mr ____ may I ask you a favor? Could you think of four or five people who sell to you that would be good prospects for my product/service?
- I am glad you are happy with the _____Mr _____by the way may I ask if you play any sports at all? If no, then ask, what other activities do you do outside of work? Can you think of one person in your (sports) team or in your (activity) group who might be interested in purchasing what you have just purchased?
- Who else could you help by telling them about our products or services?
As an incentive for the customer to give you referrals you could say the reason you want their contacts is so that you can send out an introductory package about your product or service with a voucher valued at $50 for their first purchase. You could offer to send this voucher with your customer’s compliments, e.g. Mr.____ was so happy with our services, he asked us to send you an introductory voucher with his compliments should you wish to avail yourself of the same product.
Next, you would ask them for their contacts’ phone numbers and ask them if they would like to ring those people to recommend your services or whether it would be okay for you to ring them and mention their name. Obviously, the first option would be the one to go for but you would have to assess how the conversation is going, to know whether you could push for that.
End by thanking them and assuring them you will let them know if any business arises from their referral.
Important to remember:
- Always get back to the customer who gave you a referral to let them know how you went with their contact. You can do this by phone or send them a note like this:Dear _____Thank you for suggesting to John Smith that he call me regarding his computer training needs (explain the status of referral).I met with John on Tuesday and we will start training next week.
John mentioned how enthusiastic you were about my training. I really appreciate your confidence in my abilities.
Thank you again for thinking of me.
- If you expect people to give you referrals, this will not happen unless you give referrals to your own customers – remember the law of reciprocity?
More Referral Tips
Try to give one referral a day to one of your customers.
Work with every buyer as though that person represents 1,000 referrals.
Jenny Cartwright – International Sales Trainer / Speaker / Coach
Author of “Don’t Get Hung up! – How to sell products and services by phone” and “Secrets of Top Sales Professionals.”
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