Referrals are the best.
They’re the best way to meet new people.
Look at this list and decide if you’d rather be introduced to the person through someone you like and trust, or to pull them out of the yellow pages or Google search:
- Pediatrician for your kids
- New employee
- Financial advisor
What about these?
- New customer for your business
- Romantic partner for yourself
- Romantic partner for your sibling
- New employee for your company
Of course you’d rather be introduced to them. You’d rather be referred to them.
What’s so powerful about referrals?
A referral accelerates trust.
You benefit from the existing relationship between the person you’re being referred to and the person who’s making the referral.
We all have personal experience with this.
Referrals benefit everyone involved.
This post is designed to help folks working in sales, or building a business or clientele, get (more) referrals, but most anyone can benefit from reading it.
Now I have a question for you; are you referrable?
Your persuasion skills are great and you’ve done an effective job working with your prospect and they’ve become your client or customer.
Should you ask for referrals? I think the answer is 1000% yes.
Do you ask for referrals? Most people don’t.
Why don’t they? For a lot of reasons, one of them being they don’t feel like they’re referrable.
This is a shame, because it’s really hard to build a business or clientele without getting referrals. I’ve learned the value of referrals over my 20 + years in financial services.
Here’s what I’ve learned that can help you become more referable.
To be referable, you need to demonstrate these things;
- Show up on time
- Follow up in a timely manner
- Have an organized sales process
- Ask good questions and listen
- Never judge an answer
Let’s get started.
Show up on time
This is an easy one. Or is it?
Are you on time? Are you on time all the time?
Are most people on time?
There are fewer things I hate more than having my time wasted. This is true because I understand the value of my time and I try to maximize it.
If you’re calling on a busy professional or business owner, they probably feel like I do. Therefore, if you’re not on time, they will not feel comfortable referring you to others.
And why would they? The people they’d introduce you to also don’t want to have their time wasted.
To take this one step further, when you’re late, you’re breaking an agreement.
You and the person you’re meeting with agreed to meet at a certain time. When you’re late, you’re not holding up your end of the bargain.
To be referable, you’ve gotta be on time.
Follow up in a timely manner
If you’re doing a good job through your sales process, you’re also making an agreement on when you’ll be following up with them.
For example, when you’re wrapping up a meeting and you say, “I’ll have the answers to your questions by tomorrow afternoon,” you better have the answers to them by tomorrow afternoon.
If something comes up, or the info you promised won’t be ready in time, simply let them know. People understand things sometimes take longer than expected, but you need to keep people in the loop.
Follow up should be an opportunity to under-promise and over-deliver, not the opposite.
When you tell someone you’re going to do something within a certain time frame, you need to do it to be referable.
Have an organized sales process
Having an organized sales process is fundamental to success in sales. It’s also fundamental with whether or not you’re referable.
Following a process shows your customer what the people they may refer to you will also experience. It demonstrates your professionalism and gives evidence to the fact you’ve done this before.
Successful people appreciate systems and processes.
It goes without saying, but how and when you ask for referrals should be a part of your sales process.
Having an organized sales process demonstrates your professionalism, inspires confidence, and makes you referable.
Ask good questions and listen
Never doubt the power of a good question.
It allows you to control the direction of the sales interview, and gives your prospect or customer the opportunity to express themselves and what’s of greatest importance to them.
Obviously, your customer needs to be doing most of the talking during a sales interview. And you need to make sure you’re actually listening and paying attention to what they’re saying; not just waiting for your opportunity to talk.
If your customer doesn’t feel like you’re listening or paying attention to them, why would they ever introduce you to anyone else?
To be referable, you’ve got to ask good questions and listen.
Never judge an answer
While you may think you know what your prospect is going to say, you don’t.
And just because you think something is correct, doesn’t mean they do.
You’re also bringing all of your experience, biases, and preconceived notions into the meeting. It’s entirely possible your prospects’ perspective and values will be different than yours. Not better or worse, just different.
To be referable, keep your judgment to yourself.
Referrals bring value to all parties involved.
You bring value through education and problem solving. You have earned and should expect referrals.
Making sure you’re doing the five things I mentioned will position you for success. Just don’t forget to ask!
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