Why can’t you get more referrals?

Why can’t you get more referrals?

Written By Jeffrey Gitomer

KING OF SALES, The author of seventeen best-selling books including The Sales Bible, The Little Red Book of Selling, and The Little Gold Book of Yes! Attitude. His live coaching program, Sales Mastery, is available at gitomer.me.

Why can’t you get more referrals?

The definition of “referral” will surprise you, and at the same time make you understand why you don’t get as many as you expect or ask for.

The definition of “referral” is RISK.

Do you ask for referrals?

Do you get as many as you think you should?

Why do people hesitate when you ask?

Why do people not give them to you, or put you off?

Why do YOU hesitate to ask?

Do you really feel that you’ve earned the referral before you ask for it?

Here are a few questions to ponder if you didn’t get what you asked for:

Did they like you enough?

Did they trust you enough?

What did you do to deserve it?

What did you do that was memorable?

What did they risk by referring you?

Giving a referral is a risk. Is your customer (often improperly referred to as your client) willing to take a risk by referring you? Are they willing to risk a friendship or a relationship by referring someone to you?

Or more powerfully stated, WHEN are they willing to risk a friendship or relationship by referring someone to you?

Here are a few MORE questions to ponder if you didn’t get what you asked for:

What have you done to earn the trust of AND reduce the risk of your customer? If “not enough” is your answer – then it’s probably the amount of referrals you get.

You are NOT going to get great (real) referrals without a high level of comfort, a history of performance, and a deep level of trust.

Referrals have the highest percentage closing ratio of any type of sales call. Which would you rather have – 100 cold call leads or one referral? Just checking.

Referrals are not magic, but they sure make selling seem like it. You make more sales when you have more referrals.

Everyone wants referrals, BUT few are willing to do more than ask to get them, AND some salespeople don’t even do that. There’s a way to get more referrals than you thought possible, but there are some hitches – one of which is hard work on your part.

What’s the best way to get a referral? Don’t ask for them. Earn them!

Picture this: You walk into your best friend’s house and say, “Mary, could you do me a favor? I’m looking for some new friends, and I was wondering if you could refer me to some of yours. And oh, by the way, I’m going to be selling them something. And if you wouldn’t mind doing an introduction for me, I’d really be happy about that. And by the way, thanks.”

Doesn’t that sound ludicrous? Doesn’t it seem imposing? Doesn’t it border on rude? And although your friend may agree to do this for you, in the end, when it comes time to put up or shut up, the list will be very short. Maybe empty. Yeah, yeah that’s it. Empty.

What I have just described is what 99.9 percent of all salespeople do when they ask for a referral. And it is obvious from the above example that they are 100 percent wrong!

People who ask for referrals don’t get it. A referral isn’t something you ask for. A referral is something you earn. Oh sure, you can ask for them, but it makes everyone feel awkward and will often destroy a budding relationship.

Which brings me to my point. When is the best time to ASK for a referral? After the risk has been eliminated.

Sales managers tell salespeople to ask for referrals as soon as they make a sale. And sales managers are wrong. Dead wrong.

After the sale has been completed is the WORST time to get a referral. You haven’t delivered. There’s no relationship yet. There’s no proof of service yet. And trust is tentative.

Get your new customer thinking by asking, “Ms. Jones, if we deliver and exceed your expectations, who else would you insist get this?” Let Ms. Jones answer. Then ask, “If we are phenomenal, would you be willing to call a few associates and set up a three-person lunch?”

Now the referral outcome is in your court. All you have to do is perform the way you promised. All you have to do is deliver.

Asking for the referral too early is playing the “greed’ card.

Asking when you have eliminated risk and built trust is the “money” card.

My measure of success as a salesperson has always been by the number of unsolicited referrals I get. That’s the report card of selling – people referring you without your knowledge – people referring you without asking – people calling you and wanting to buy.

How many unsolicited referrals do you get?

Free GitBit: Want a method for exchanging referrals that actually works? It’s called a blueprint for referral alliances, and it’s yours by going to www.gitomer.com – register if you’re a first time user, and enter the word BLUEPRINT in the GitBit box.

Jeffrey Gitomer, author of The Sales Bible, is now offering licensed training programs to corporations, as well as distributorships to individuals, based on his best-selling books and the TrainOne online learning series. This process is starting with his newest book The Patterson Principles of Selling. Jeffrey can be reached by phone: 704/333-1112 or e-mail: salesman@gitomer.com

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