Referrals: The Sales Lifeline


Consider this situation: A crazy windstorm hits your town and brings gusts of up to 45 miles an hour through your neighborhood. It doesn’t last long, but it doesn’t have to – the damage is done. Your fence is a mess and your homeowners’ association will be sending you a love letter any day now. You need to find a reputable fencing repair company quickly.

So where do you turn?

Likely, you ask your friends and neighbors who they have used, who they would recommend (or, equally as important, who they would not recommend).

Congratulations, you’ve just successfully learned the importance of referrals. Now you just have to apply it to your business. If we can do it so easily in our personal lives, shouldn’t it be just as easy to do it professionally?

Timing is Everything
You can’t just walk into a new prospect’s office and say, “Hey! Do you have anyone else who may be able to use my product?” You’ll be setting yourself up for failure both in getting the referral and in making a sale.

Obviously, the client needs to be happy with the results of your product and rapport needs to be established. Wait until you’re in a more casual stage of conversation and be on the lookout for times when the client is singing the praises of either you, your product or your company. Don’t let the moment pass!

Explain Yourself
Be sure to tell your client why you are asking for a recommendation. While it may be clear to you, it may not have crossed his mind yet. Point out a particular case that worked out well or mention some stats that have done well for both of you. Let him know that you enjoy working with him and that you’d like to see if you can have similar results with his colleagues.

Just Ask
It’s so simple, but it’s a technique that is always easily overlooked in sales. The timing is right, you’ve made your case…now you just need to ask. “This has been such a successful partnership. Do you know of anyone else who might benefit from a similar partnership with me and my company?” Don’t overthink it…just ask.

If asking for referrals is not something you do regularly, set a goal to work toward. Whether it’s asking for one a week or one a month, know your clients and who might be ready to share their contacts with you and create a timeline for building the relationship to that point.

What is the best referral you’ve ever gotten? Tell us in the comments below.

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