Original article from ProfitGuide.com
Few sales leads are more powerful than customer referrals. And what could be better than a satisfied client raving about your products and services to a prospect to whom you’d never otherwise have access?
Yet there aren’t many companies that run 100% referral-driven businesses. This is baffling to Joanne S. Black, a U.S. based sales expert who specializes in referral selling. In her recent book Pick Up the Damn Phone! How People, Not Technology, Seal the Deal, Black explains why people fear the referral request—and what to do to get over it.
1. Get comfortable with the idea
There are many reasons salespeople don’t ask for referrals from customers as often as they might—they may have other things on their plate, they may not know how to do it effectively and, crucially, they may note feel comfortable. It’s the latter that presents the biggest hurdle, Black says. “Asking for referral introductions feels uncomfortable for most people,” she writes. “We worry that doing so could imply our businesses are struggling, and that asking already-busy people to help us might mean risking those relationships. Worst of all, they might say no.” These are valid fears, she acknowledges—but you need to get over the idea that soliciting referrals is an act of desperation. “When your referral sources introduce you to new prospects, they’re not just helping you; they’re helping the people to whom they refer you as well,” she says. “Referrals are built on truth and integrity. Think of all the referrals you easily and willingly provide: You tell people about a great restaurant, a terrific movie, a top mechanic or the latest iPad app you bought. And you don’t consider it an imposition or favour to do so.”