Referrals should be on your agenda

referralsWe hear people talking all the time about working to get referrals from clients. It’s one of the easiest ways to build your business, and all you have to do is ask! Most people will give you a list of people that might be interested in what you have to offer.

The key is YOU MUST be bold enough to ASK for what you want!

Why is it so hard for people to ask for referrals?

We’ve heard every excuse in the world. “But it feels awkward, and then my clients feel awkward and I get put off,” people say.

First, tell them so stop “But-ing” YOU! They are not a billy goat and neither are you.

Next, you want to know who made it awkward first? If YOU think it is awkward then YOU probably felt that way first and YOU made the client uncomfortable. You triggered them to feel that way.

Here are three easy steps to help you diffuse – or eliminate – your hesitance to ask for referrals:

Start your meetings by giving clients (verbally or in writing) a schedule or agenda for the meeting. At the end of that agenda, have a time for discussion about friends, associates and family members you might be able to help.

Don’t spring it on them without notice. Let them know in advance, and they will probably already have a list of names for your meeting. If the client is uncomfortable with this, give him/her a chance to tell you why before you discuss it.

For example: The last thing we’d like to cover with you is helping some people in your life that you care about. We’d much rather be working with someone you want me to talk to than with people whose name came off a list from somewhere. We can talk about some of the people you know, and if we decide it makes sense, we can figure out the best way to get in touch with them.

You want to always make the client feel like you added value to them. This can be during the appointment or it can be over time. Ask your client what he/she got out of the meeting, what they learned or what they have gotten out of the relationship they have with you. Be specific. Find out exactly what they found to be helpful.

Once they do that, ask them this: “What else?” Keep pushing until they run out of value items. Next, direct him/her to the ideas you hoped they would find helpful and ask if he/she: found your discussion helpful? Was there one specific idea you found particularly useful? What else? What else? Anything else? How about when I explained ….”

Doing this proves that you added value and knowledge. A client is going to have a hard time not helping you because look at what you’ve added to the relationship.

Now, you can ask your client about the people he/she knows. Your deal is to help people. You are giving your client the chance to help you reach more people. At this point, you remind your client that this was one of your scheduled agenda items. Ask he/she if anybody comes to mind:

You might say, “John, I’m glad you found the work we did here today so helpful. The last thing I promised you we would cover is helping some people you care about with the same help I’ve given you. Would it make sense for you to arrange an introduction for me, and how do we go about that? Who is the first person who came to mind?”

Now, once you get that first name … don’t stop! Keep going. If they run out of people, ask again. Are you sure there’s not one more person who might could benefit from what I’m doing?

Do it with confidence. Even if you are not confident, act confident.

Part of people struggling with this is they have the wrong attitude going in to the meeting. Practice doing this on people. Be firm, clear and self-assured when bringing up referrals. With practice the confidence will come and you will start nailing referrals on a regular basis.

5 more referral destroyers

referrals2If you’ve been in any type of sales job then you have heard that referrals are like golden tickets to help boost your business. Referrals can be the difference in being one of the top producers with The Alliance or just being average in the field.

Yet, few salespeople generate high-quality referrals.

Sure, anybody can get a few names and numbers here and there. Those “referrals” don’t always equal sales. Agents will often get to the point where they don’t even seek out referrals because they don’t yield sales early on. This is a huge mistake. The reality is that asking for referrals in the correct manner can make all the difference in the world.

Here are five mistakes people make when asking for referrals:

Not knowing what a good referral is. Few salespeople let clients know what a good referral is and think they already know. Mistake. Your clients need to know what you are looking for in a referral. If you don’t tell them, why would they know? Don’t say I’m looking for somebody like you. Questions like that just confuse your client and make them want to get rid of you … fast! Tell them exactly what you are looking for so they are clear.

Not understanding the psychology of a referral. Getting a big number of high-quality referrals from clients and prospects is not easy. We’ve read statistics that found less than 15 percent of all salespeople generate enough quality referrals to significantly increase their sales. To be successful at getting referrals, you must understand the psychology involved. Clients assume that anyone they refer you to will be more demanding and more critical than they have been. Clients will refer you to people with whom they have various types of relationships with. Some people will trust and respect your client, some will not. To make matters even more complicated, you have to understand your psychology of referral selling. What goes on in your head is just as important as what goes on in your client’s brain.

Calling the referred prospect. It’s natural to pick up the phone when you get a referral’s information. If you are going to call, make sure you are ready to talk to the person about what you are doing. If you can meet with the person in the next 24 hours, that’s even better. Ideally, you want to get a personal introduction from your existing client – not just a name and number.

Not helping the client give referrals. Even big producers who make huge incomes from referrals have clients who claim not to know anyone to refer. This is not possible! Don’t walk away from a client without getting a list of referrals. The true “closers” don’t walk away without a big list of contacts. How do they do this? Instead of being passive, they take the time to be persistent with clients and get high-quality referrals before leaving the client. They are not bashful and want as many specifics as possible about the referrals.

Not earning referrals. If you want a large number of referrals, you can’t just ask for them. You have to earn the right to get them by helping add value to your client first. The best salespeople understand this logic. The more value they bring to a client, the bigger and better the list of referrals they get in return. If the client believes you have earned referrals, they will gladly give them to you. This is true no matter what business you are in. If you’ve added value then you will be rewarded.


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