Call Us: 775-324-2400

Asking for Referrals

 shutterstock_73459981[From the AlkaViva Flow Newsletter Archive]

Perhaps the single, most effective way of getting qualified leads is through referrals.  Referrals can be the lifeblood of your business if you handle them properly.  Too often, we take every step needed to make the sale and then leave without completing the process.  The sales cycle is only complete when it births the opportunity for another sale.  Leaving this process unfinished creates much more work and expense in your business.

Generally, a referral is more qualified because you’ve had the opportunity to communicate your requirements for a true customer with the person who referred him.  Many unskilled sales people make the mistake of taking referrals only when given and without asking that the lead be qualified.  An example of how to qualify a referral is as follows:

“John, who do you know like yourself that is health conscious or has a health concern, and who would benefit from speaking to me?  Don’t worry, they don’t have to buy anything, I just want people who are like you and could buy if they saw it would be beneficial to them.  Don’t just think about people who would buy, but people who have the need and could buy if they wanted to.  They may not buy from me but they know others that possibly will buy in the future.  I will treat them with respect, just as I have treated you, and promise that they will enjoy the show.”

In this example, you are letting the customer know that you want qualified leads (people who have the need and the ability to buy), while discouraging him from referring only those who will buy.  We discourage the customer from just thinking of people that will buy.  The customer does not necessarily know who will buy and likely will give you very few names. Another thing to consider is that you won’t get referrals if you put on a long, boring, high-pressured presentation to the referrer.  You want the referrer to know that if he gives you referrals, those referrals are going to be taken care of by you and that they won’t come back to him and complain.

When asking for referrals, you must realize that it’s up to you to set the expectations.  Generally, the customer will take the number that you ask for and divide it by three.  For example, if you ask for three referrals you will usually get one.  So, if you need at least three referrals, ask for nine.  If you get more than three you’re ahead of the game!

Sometimes, it’s necessary to barter with a customer.  You simply offer a gift in return for qualified leads that result in a presentation.  It’s a mistake to offer a gift in return for a sale.  This implies that you are only interested in selling a unit.   Remember, the referrer most likely feels that he doesn’t know anyone who wants to buy.  In understanding that one out of every three presentations will result in a sale, we realize the need to concentrate on putting on qualified presentations.  So if you offered a gift for three qualified presentations, it has the same monetary value to you as offering a gift for a referral of a sale.  The difference is that the customer may give you more leads if he feels that they don’t have to buy.

The preceding was food for thought.  Referrals tend to lead to more referrals.  Take what you’ve learned, apply it, and meet me at the top!

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.