[E24] Referral Week: Asking For Referrals

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Authentic Persuasion Show
[E24] Referral Week: Asking For Referrals
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“You Miss 100% Of The Shots You Don’t Take!” – Wayne Gretzky

Referrals are the same.

If you do not ask for referrals, you won’t get them.

Well…you will still get some referrals (I talk about who will send them to you even without being asked), but not enough to sustain your sales career.

In this episode, I cover why asking is so important, as well as these three important asking parameters:

  • How to ask
  • Who to ask
  • When to ask

Episode 24 – Transcript

Welcome to episode 4 of Referrals week on The Sales Experience Podcast. My name is Jason Cutter and I am your host for this journey through the wilds of the sales process on our way to the sales experience castle to save our prospects from the evil dragon. The dragon is all the sales people who use manipulation in order to get people to buy from them. You and I are going to rescue the prospect and help them get what they need.

When you make earning referrals your main goal with the customers you are working with then you will shift the focus of your conversations and process to more of a long term effort. Last episode I talked about the fact that most sales people, and I think a lot of people in general, are just focused on the short term – the here and now. They are hunting for today instead of putting in the effort to plant seeds to provide for a reliable bounty of food later on. Then they have to get up tomorrow and grab all their gear and go hunting again, hoping they find something to close.

This process continues, every day. And as we all know, no matter how good you are, not every day will result in coming back with a feast. Some weeks might be very lean. The key is a balance of closing deals now so you aren’t stuck in survival mode, with planting seeds so you have some referrals filling in your deals down the road. The ultimate goal is to be a farmer, where the plants and animals you nurture and care for provide everything you need and you don’t have to go out into the wild to try and find something to eat. Your goal is to create a farm of referrals where you have everything you need.

I talked about the referral formula a few episodes, and I wanted to revisit the final step – asking for referrals. This is where a lot of reps fall short. Sometimes it is short sightedness, where, like I have been talking about, reps aren’t thinking out long term and do not see the value in putting in the time and effort to even ask for a referral. Like the famous quote from Wayne Gretzky, “You will miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

In this episode I want to talk about asking for referrals – how, who, and when.

Let’s start with how to ask. There are two ways to ask for referrals. The first is the hardcore way. It’s when the salesperson finishes their sales process and then tells the newly enrolled client “I do business by referral, what are the names and phone numbers of three people you know who I can contact.” Even thought it might sound high pressure and aggressive, this strategy can work well where the new customer is happy with you and what they just bought. The key with making this work effectively is if you give the prospect a heads up early on in the process. Somewhere in the beginning of your sales process with a new prospect you would want to tell them “I focus on working by referral. If I am able to help you, then at the end of our conversation I am going to ask you for the names and numbers of people you know who I could also help.” If you set it up that way, then the ask at the end won’t seem out of place or aggressive. It will be you fulfilling your promise to them that you would ask if you end up helping them.

The other way to ask for referrals is more of you telling them that you work by referral. It would sound more like an announcement. “Mr. New Customer, just so you know I help a lot of people by referral and if you come across anyone else who has ________, then please give them my name and number so I can help them as well.” That strategy puts it more in their hands. This wont necessarily yield you a steady supply of referrals, but this is a good way to plant the seed and then to nurture that seed you need to have a follow up process of phone calls, emails, or texts, in place.

Okay – that’s the how to ask. Now for who. My first suggestion is that you ask every single person for referrals. Mainly because you never know who will be the one who will send you lots of business.  You have might hold back from asking some of your new customers because it seems like they wouldn’t send you referrals. Maybe they didn’t really warm up to you during the conversation. That might just be their personality. And don’t forget that everyone is going through something, so you might not fully know what is going on in their life. Don’t ever prejudge your prospect or new customer. Don’t assume they didn’t enjoy working with you and wouldn’t send you referrals. Always assume that they will, so ask each one. That quiet customer who didn’t seem to care could become your biggest advocate!

Now there is one caveat for asking every single new customer for referrals. You have to do the first two parts of the referral formula. You have to be following the fundamental sales process and you and your company has to deliver on the expectation you just set for that new customer. If you get someone to buy from you but you know they aren’t happy about it already, then you don’t want to ask them for referrals. But again…if that is the case…then you want to examine why you sold them something they didn’t really want, or examine what you are selling in general to see if its actually a good thing.

Lastly, let’s talk about when to ask for referrals. The time to ask for referrals is when you have done what you promised that prospect turned new customer. If you just signed them up for a service that hasn’t begun yet, then it is way too early to ask for referrals. You haven’t even shown them that they will actually get and be happy with what you sold them. So why would they tell their friends and family? You and your company actually has to fulfill your promise to them. If they are not driving off the lot with what you just sold them, then you will want to plant seeds of referral with them. If they are paying for something they wont get for a while, or a service that will take a while – like credit repair, or debt relief, or a personal trainer workout package – then you should let the know you love referrals, and that if they are happy with what they bought you will be following up to get referrals from them.

Let me give you an analogy. Imagine you walk into a nice restaurant and are greeted at the host station. The host walks you to your table, you sit down, they hand you menus. And then they say “Thank you for coming in today. We hope you enjoy your meal. By the way, do you have anyone else you can think of that you could refer to us for dinner tonight?” That would be ridiculous because you don’t even know if the food or service is good enough to want to tell your friends. They would never do that. Now, what they could and should do, is to check in on you after you are done with your meal, to make sure you were happy with experience and meal, and to let you know to tell your friends and family. 

That’s it for this episode. I hope all of you are getting pumped up to become referral generating machines. Remember, referrals are a long game, so don’t give up just because you aren’t seeing fruit on the trees right away.

Until next time, always remember that everything in life is sales and people will remember the experience you gave them.

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