Sell More With The Best Salespeople: Your
What if you could increase your sales and profits without increasing
your costs to get them? Imagine reducing, or even eliminating, the pain
and frustration you've experienced when buying marketing or advertising
because you were concerned about its effectiveness.
There is a way to do this with little or no cost attached. Take
advantage of an under-utilized sales and marketing tactic by implementing
a formalized referral process. Certainly not earth-shattering news or the
latest marketing innovation, but so few companies actually do it. This is
certainly common sense revisited, but ask yourself, "Am I proactively
building my referral system?"
What Is A Referral?
A referral is a strong recommendation to a friend or colleague to buy from
a business with which you've already done business or have a very close
relationship. The most important characteristic is that your client is
actually selling on your behalf. They may even be handling minor
objections around pricing or certain perceptions of fear or the process
involved. Using a formalized referral system, you can turn your customers
into another channel for distributing marketing material or
What A Referral Is Not
A referral is not the same as a testimonial. It is so much more. A
testimonial is a positive comment about your product or service that you,
the vendor, collect and use for your own purpose. The most common types of
testimonials are quotes, in print or audio, and thank you letters. These
are passive marketing communications that are very important and should be
collected. They must be used in your sales process to instill confidence
in your prospects. However, they only become known to prospects when you
Referrals, on the other hand, are more related to an alternative sales
process and cycle. I propose that it involves more of a sense of intensity
-- more of a pitch than a positive commentary relayed via your customer
base. It is quite a unique competitive advantage to have your clients
become your sales personnel. Your faithful clients connect with their
network and use their personal relationships to your benefit. If you are
going all out for your existing clients, then it tends to happen anyway --
but why not "pump it up" and experience the exponential results?
Advantages Of Referrals
There really is little or no additional cost involved in building your
referral business. Mainly because you're regularly dealing with your
existing clients or network already. While selling, servicing or
communicating with them, you merely add one more item to the agenda.
Prospects that come from referrals are shown to buy more easily and
quickly with fewer objections. They have been given an introduction,
presumably from a trusted source, they have already heard a testimonial
and a description of the positive results, and their initial objections
may have already been addressed. This means when you answer the phone they
are asking you about details and are halfway to a purchase order.
A key positive consequence of a formalized referral system is that it
reinforces your clients' awareness of the benefits and value of your
service. A strong referral network help to builds your customers' loyalty.
Each time that they refer you, they must analyze and then re-present the
benefits, financial or otherwise, that they get from the relationship with
your company. It actually reminds them why they picked you and dealt with
you in the first place -- thereby reselling themselves.
Finally, there is a very useful reason for implementing a formalized
referral system. It keeps you and your employees on your toes -- by
constantly holding yourself to a higher standard. If you don't deliver the
best in customer service and product quality in innovation and continually
remind your clients about it, then your referral system will not work to
its maximum potential.
Where To Get Referrals
The obvious and most frequently used source is your existing clients
or customers. You ask and encourage those that you deal with regularly to
recommend you to their associates. Sometimes you enroll your friends and
family, directly or indirectly to promote your company. Generally, this is
done only verbally, but other means should be used as well.
Prospects who do not purchase are useful sources for referrals but are
usually not pursued aggressively enough. Ask them to refer you, especially
when you know they are people who didn't buy but did recognized the value
of your service -- it was just that "something" did not fit.
Perhaps they just weren't in your target market and were too big or too
small. This doesn't mean they would not willingly introduce you to those
who are your target, as long as they are confident about the claims you've
made to them.
Finally, referrals can be gathered through alliances and co-marketing
with others. Work with those who complement your service or who go after
the same types of customers. The most unrecognized immediate source of
referrals available through these types of relationships are your
suppliers. Many of your suppliers may serve hundreds or thousands of other
companies that might benefit from your products or services. A smart
supplier can be quite cooperative when they see the value of helping you
grow: It can lead to additional orders for them if you grow, and at a
minimum it helps ensure that you can continue to pay their invoices.
Hire Your Customers Today
Based on the benefits of referrals and the minimal investment
required, how are you going to "hire" the best salespeople in
the world to sell your products or services today? Reward your clients in
some way for doing so and treat their referred colleagues like gold --
because they are. The minimal cost of customer acquisition via referrals
means they are high margin clients for your bottom line.
Start right now by asking for referrals and telling your customers that
you welcome new business. You'll be surprised how many of your customers
would be happy to help you, if you just ask!
Martin Wales, The Customer Catcher™, "helps you get customers
'til you beg him to stop." Using your company's existing resources,
he creates maximum results with minimum risk. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
with "Referrals" in the subject line for info on the latest
audio program, "How to Grow Your Business Profits by Increasing
Client Referrals." Your questions and comments are always welcome