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Getting Referrals from Every New Client, Customer, Recruitment!

Studies show that it takes significantly more time, energy and money to solicit, earn and on-board new business from individuals and organizations that are not presently doing business with you, than it does to cultivate qualified prospects and clients from your existing network In fact TARP re-calibrated the selling world back in the 1970s with its ground breaking research that indicated businesses can increase profitability five times faster through engaged present customer interaction than any other endeavor done to find new business; amazingly how this is most often over-looked.

With all of the evidence to support this, it is still the norm of sales professionals, sales managers, and organizations to look at the business stream they work as primarily that of coming from gaining another new client and then working to find the next new client from the unrelated and outside universe to their selling pipeline and existing relationships.

While new clients are the life-blood to any business, maintaining healthy productive relationships with existing clients will do more for building a solid business base and revenue streams.

Sales professionals need to review their present business activities to answer:

  • What percentage of my work is centered on cultivating additional business from existing clients? _________%
  • What percentage of my work is centered on getting to know existing clients to either ask them for referrals or allow for the client to give me referrals? _______%
  • What percentage of my existing clients, if ranked from #1 to #10 could I write a short story on them, based upon what I know about them? _______%
  • What percentage of my existing clients, if ranked from #1 to #10 do I know enough about their deliverables that I am or can recommend qualified leads to them? _______%
  • What percentage of my work is centered on building my business base by identifying and working to get new clients? _______%

These are powerful questions to ask yourself in helping to determine if you have been “leaving money on the table” – a term used for not actively working every account to do all of the business possible with them.

Building customer loyalty comes out of many acts, and among them the act of genuinely taking care of a customer’s immediate needs and doing the same for their close friends and business associates – it makes them look good and enders you to them.

As a sales professional, you must recognize the opportunities or best times in a sales transaction to hint, suggest or request from a satisfied customer great referrals from their network.

Referrals can come in many ways:

  • Verbal recommendation to call someone specific – get the name at the precise moment it is offered, write it down and a few quick facts about them (refer to the Stack-N-Link model in previous chapter/series to ask the types of questions from your client to learn more about the new suggested contact).
  • Email, Telephone, Written options – when a suggested name is given request that the customer send that data back to you when they get back home or to work via alternate communication channels. You can always follow-up with the customer afterwards via these same channels to remind them of the offer via these channels. These channels are easy to use and non-threatening to either party as there is no live conversation. REMINDER, it is acceptable to remind a customer of an offer to recommend, but don’t hassle them.
  • Victory Letter & Social Media – ask the customer that sings your praise to put those words into a letter for you to share with other potential customers. As your having this dialogue, transition into a subtle question, “Are there people that you know that I should send your letter to?” This can be used in your collateral materials, on your social media platforms, website, and as reinforcement marketing vehicles in the selling communication exchange processes.
  • Customer Literature – dialogue to determine if the customer has any organizational printed materials where they list the Benefits or accomplishments for their customers to know about, which you in tern participated in. Have them reference your name (personal or business) or include a picture of you (personal or business) as a preferred partner, vendor, suppliers, etc., and then get a copy.
  • Ask While Completing Application - The best time to ask for a referral is when you have just provided a solution to a prospect’s need. With that prospect now an excited new client/customer, imagine that while in the conversational process of filling out the proverbial application/contract, as if it were a step in the application process, for the name of anyone that person knows that you should be talking to next to share a similar transaction with – WOW!
  • Frequent Customer Loyalty Referral Program – You can create and incentivize present customers to share their excitement with those they know. By referring them to you and your organization.
  • Regular Follow-Up Connectivity – It should be an SOP of every professional selling individual and their organization to have a system by-which you can stay connected with customers after the sale is made and the goods are delivered. Every month or Quarter, as appropriate to your business, you should have some sort of a touch-point back to the customer. These touch-points do not have to be follow-up selling initiatives, it is best in fact if they are not always selling contacts, rather service connectivity follow-ups. Within these touch-points you can always have a bounce-back referral opporyunity.

Use these positive words of praise as supplements to any mailers your sales professionals do (and as an example this could be a great rotation into your Rule 1/52/X™ presented also in an earlier chapter/series), to display in wall hangings, display books on tables, reprints, inclusion in newsletters, faxables, e-Marketing, etc.

As a sales professional recognize that sometimes the best silent sales assistants you can have are the “words of praise” from a satisfied customer. Then leverage those words with people that directly know the customer in question. A second way to leverage these words is to identify all “like” points of contact to the customer and place the words in front of them.

A great way to complete the sales cycle is for the sales professional to send every customer, regardless of the amount of the transaction, a follow-up hand written “Thank You” note and include with it an extra business card (with a statement to share their business card with someone they know that they would like to share their experience with) and a simple request to call them with the name(s) of anyone they know that they should contact. Every one of these contacts will not yield feedback, but many will and every one will leave a customer with one more positive impression of your sales professionals!

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