Insights from Chief Mastermind Jack Kelly

If you are looking for more referrals (and who isn’t), there are a few ways you can make referrals easier for you and the person referring you.

I’m a big fan of the customer referral. After all, who better to provide you the Right Opportunity than a satisfied customer? The problem is that most people are scared to ask. As a matter of fact, Dale Carnegie tells us that 91% of customers are willing to give referrals but only 11% of sales professionals ever ask.

Is that crazy or what?! Why are we not asking? The problem is often in the approach and the pressure that can be created. So, let’s make it easier for your customer to give you the referral:

1) Use the phone or meet – Pick up the phone or set an appointment to meet in person. I understand email is convenient. It’s the path of least resistance – which is exactly why you shouldn’t use it. It’s much easier to say no via email or just not respond than if you talk on the phone or in person.

2) Be specific – When you ask for a referral, be as specific as possible. For instance, if you ask, “Is there anyone you know that could benefit from our services?” it is tougher for your customer to answer than, “I saw that you work with Steve’s Restaurant. That is one of my target customers for this year. Do you feel comfortable introducing me to Steve? He could benefit from the same services you are using.”

3) Make it easy – If they are not the introducing type, ask if it is okay to mention their name when you reach out to the company. This way, they are endorsing you without feeling awkward about having to do it themselves.

4) Give them options – If they can’t think of anyone to refer you to or they don’t know the specific company you are talking about, give them an alternative such as, “Do you have any industry or executive groups you are involved in? If they need speakers, we have a great presentation on how to grow your revenue by listening to the voice of the customer. I’d be happy to provide the food or sponsor the session.” Once again, this gives them an easy way to put you in front of the right buyers for your company.

5) Give them an out – The worst thing you can do is make them feel bad about not being able or willing to refer you. The timing might not be right, they may not have the right connections, or they just are not comfortable. Let them know it doesn’t have to happen now, but if they happen to think of someone, you would appreciate it. You can then ask if being a reference or someone you can refer to by company name would be appropriate. This provides a way for someone who is unable to directly refer you to feel they are helping you out.

As long as you are providing a product or service your customers find useful, they are probably your greatest promoters. However, some naturally refer you business and some do not. You increase your odds of success if you give them different options to help. Don’t leave it up to them to figure it out. Make it as comfortable and easy for them as possible.

Done right, you can develop one of the greatest sources of new business: your customers.

Make Asking for Referrals Part of Your Sales Process
Would you like to make asking for referrals part of your sales process? We can help. The Corlea Group focuses on helping clients develop and refine their sales process to find the Right Targets, focus on the Right Opportunities, and undertake the Right Activities to achieve greater success.

Jack Kelly, Founder and President of the Corlea Group
Jack founded the Corlea Group in early 2009 with his first client coming on board in January of that year. Jack loves to coach. He coaches his clients and he helps coach his kid’s teams – it’s his passion and has been for over 25 years as a professional, father and volunteer. Why? Because he likes to help a team succeed.

Mastermind Insights