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Get More Referrals

by Michael Hellerman

Get More Referrals

There are two things that every sales person wants to do. The first is to get more sales – obviously. The second is to get those sales quicker so that there is more time to get back to the first thing. Referrals help with both of these objectives. You are more likely to close a sale from a referred customer, and it will probably take fewer steps than if you contact a potential client completely cold.


According to the research company Nielsen, 92 percent of people trust recommendations from people they know, more than they the trust any other form of marketing. What does that trust mean? For a start you are more likely to get speaking to the potential client on the phone. And they will have fewer confidence issues that you will have to overcome. You still have to close the sale, but you will have a head start.


So, how do you get more referrals?




The most common request by sales managers and business owners in regard to referrals is to get their team of salespeople to ask for them. The theory goes that if you do not ask, you do not get. To an extent that is true, but only to an extent.


You should ask for referrals but you should only do so when the time is right. Your objective is that your client gives a referral because they genuinely want to, and not because they feel pressured into doing so. For example, asking for a referral as soon as you close a sale – i.e. before you have had time to deliver your product or service – is rarely the right time to ask for a referral.


So you should ask for referrals, but only when it feels comfortable and appropriate. You will know your client and you will know when that time is.


And if you ask for a referral and you do not get one, leave it. Do not ask again as you risk damaging the relationship with your client.




A better way to get referrals is to earn them. Before elaborating on this it is important to point out that you need both a passive and an active approach to getting referrals. This means you cannot simply ignore the first method of asking for referrals just because you feel embarrassed.


It is also important to highlight that earning referrals is incredibly hard. You will not achieve it by simply do your job and delivering on your promises. Instead you will have to go well beyond the average. This means:


  • Being totally dependable
  • Delivering more than asked
  • Being known as an expert in your field and being someone your customer can rely on, including for things they do not pay you for
  • Delivering on time and always striving for a better quality of service




The final way to get referrals from your clients is to give referrals to them first. This is a great way of building trust and improving the relationship. It shows you are not a salesperson who is always on the take and looking for something that benefits you. Remember there is often little that your client gains from giving you a referral, even if you offer a small incentive. Showing that you are willing to go to the effort of generating a referral for your client will show your commitment to the business relationship.


Make sure your client knows the referral came from you personally, but do not keep score. Just because you give a referral does not mean that you are entitled to one in return. If you can get into this mindset you will present a much better persona to your client, which in turn will encourage more referrals your way.


If you follow these three strategies together – asking, earning and giving – you will find that you get more referrals. This means you’ll hit your revenue and profit targets quicker.

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