Referrals – Your Clients Make the Appointments for you
One of the most overlooked areas by the average seller, but a favourite of the sales professional is the referral. Referrals are one of the most powerful selling tools around today, they have been one of the best forms of on-going sales in the past and will definitely be of immense value to the professional that understand how to use them effectively for decades to come in the future.
Professionals even welcome referrals from those that didn’t buy from them.
I personally remember at one time, when I was selling against other members of my sales-force while I was employed as a National Sales Manager, I closed 39 sales in a row on the first call without making an appointment. Unfortunately I missed getting 40 in a row, but sold 17 straight after that. Had I not faulted, I may have achieved 57 sales in a row.
My clients made every appointment for me in the 56 sales made by me, naturally while being instructed by me how to do so and I just went off and sold. That result of 39 straight sales in a row became a World Record in an international company that has yet to be broken, even though I set it in 1988. I was later told, that the 17 sales in a row achieved after that would have been good enough to have become a World Record on its own. Both do however, example the power of referrals, when worked effectively.
Often I have been asked which is the best way in which one can build a good customer base. The answer I give is, the best business I know is one built in the main on recommendation. In other words – on word of mouth.
However, this one fact alone seems to be the aim of every salesperson I’ve ever met. Their belief is that once word of mouth begins to grow, so will the customer base. Unfortunately, this is as far from the truth as one can get.
So lets stop dealing in opinions for a minute and quote fact.
Not following referrals up immediately
Your referrals as wonderful and as powerful as they can be are only as hot as the mind of the person gave them to you. In most cases they become less effective if left for as little as 72 to 96 hours. That’s as little as 3 to 4 days. Every day after that, they lose their effect, yet I still speak to seasoned sales professional that can take weeks to action their referrals.
Then when asked why they don’t ask for more referrals, they will tell you that they feel they don’t do as well as they would like to with the referrals they get so it’s not a propriety to them. They’ll even go on to tell me that they understand that other salespeople do really well out of referrals, but they have not been able to even get results similar to them.
It seems everyone has got the message, but they have not. Referrals are only as hot as the client that gave them to you. As the client cools, so does your power of referrals.
But just don’t take my word for it
Gulliver Giles, heads up the sales team for the Jay Abraham’s Asia Pacific office, one of Australia’s best known and Internationally acclaimed analytical marketers, says he can tell you first hand how quickly referrals can go cold. Most times, in his experience, they go cold faster than 72 hours, at times, even 48 hours can be too generous.
In our conversation on the subject, Gulliver passionately stated, “It’s hard to think that a referral can become so hard to work just a few days after you receive it, but if you delay making contact the referred person forgets what the referrer told them, misunderstood it or tried to analyse things without having all the facts, and the contact is no longer a workable lead. I know I have to get to those referrals as a priority, even delaying contact with other urgent matters, if I’m to be successful.”
Now that advice comes from a man that spends his day selling successful outcomes, then working hard on his clients to ensure their success as well. How do I know that. I’m one of his clients, and at every instance possible, Gulliver makes me feel special.
There is a great way to have your referrals stay “HOT” longer
The only way a referral stays “HOT” after the first week or more, is only when the salesperson has done such an extraordinary job, the referral stays alive in the mind of the referrer. And lets face it, that scenario is usually something that happens once in a month or less – even with the best sales superstars.
There is light at the end of the tunnel. The second best referral, and this one can stay warm for months, or at times, even years, is a testimonial.
A testimonial is simply a written substitute to a referral and can have a similar effect to a referral, because it no longer relies on the emotion of a “HOT” buyer to “transfer the feeling” but the emotion and expertise of the seller to “transfer the feeling,” use the testimonial to it’s desired effect and create the environment that will transfer into a sale.
Once you have a referral it’s best to follow up immediately or let your client do it for you. If you don’t, then get a written testimonial. Either way, don’t squander the opportunity either referrals or testimonials will provide you with. Top professionals don’t lose that advantage, so why should you?
Copy and distribute this content as often as you want. You are encouraged to share it. © Copyright Peter Collins, Sydney, Australia, 2002, 2007, 2011, 2015, 2017
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This Article is by Peter Collins – In a sales career spanning more than 53 years, Peter Collins has focused on helping and bringing out the best in others – whether it involves training or mentoring salespeople, managers, business consulting to SME’s. Since the 1970’s Peter has built a reputation as a Nationally and Internationally Published author, and has 68 business books to his credit, but he is mainly known for one book based on the Audio Tape series of the same name, Over 50 Ways of Closing the Sale. Peter had his first book published in 1969 and now has over 133 books in all, including Business, Marketing, Sales, Free Publicity, Body Language, Music and over 30 Christian books to date. Peters books have sold over 2.5 Million copies of his books over 49 years. In his personal life, Peter has been sought after as an encourager and motivator that has given of his time and talents freely despite his busy schedule. Subsequently, he has assisted churches, pastors, community and charity groups, as well as individuals through his teaching, training, development and on-going mentoring.
© Copyright Peter Collins, Profit Maker Sales, Sydney, Australia, 1994, 2002, 2007, 2011, 2015, 2017, all rights reserved. Peter can be contacted through his website – profitmakersales.com
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