Referrals - 5 Steps on How to Turn Your Customers Into a Powerful Sales Team

Having a system to get referrals from our customers is one of the most powerful marketing strategies any business can ever employ.

Yet generating referral in this one is also one of the least used strategies.

At one stage over a 2 year period, I generated over 60% of my new business through referrals from customers. In terms of effectiveness, cost (zero), and the small time input, it's easily the most successful marketing strategy that I have ever used.

So here's the system that I use.

1. Drop hints with clients in advance that you will be asking them for referrals. I often say something like 'many of my new clients come through referrals from existing customers so, as we go along, I will be asking you if you know anybody who might be interested in using my services'.

By doing this I'm planting a seed in their head and they make a mental note if they think of somebody suitable.
Also when I ask them at a later stage for referrals they will be expecting the question.

2. When I have a win with a client and I know they are happy with my service, I often ask them for a referral as they are on a high. I can ask them when we finish the job or contract but I find the 'win' stage is best. Some people will take prompting to think of names so my job is to help them. I make suggestions like customers, suppliers, business neighbours, friends, clubs they may be joined. Mobile phones are also a good source of names.

3. I take down the details of 5 people and then I say to my client 'if I phone these people they won't know who I am so would you mind phoning them, say who I am, describe briefly what I have done for you and ask them if it's alright if I call them'. If my client phones these people, they will be warming them up and the person will be expecting my call. Sometimes my client may not be comfortable doing this and in that case I phone the people direct myself.

4. If my client is happy to phone the 5 people, I arrange to check back with them if a few days. Normally he/she will have reached these people and in most cases they are happy to accept my call.

5. As soon as I finish talking to my client, I'm straight on the phone calling these 5 people. From my experience I always get through or they return my call, I more often tan not, get a face to face meeting and my conversion rate is very high. At one stage my conversion rate from this approach was 80% in a sector where the norm can be just 20%.

Article Source: Neil M O'Brien

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