4 WAYS TO HANDLE A REFERRAL

April 11, 2016 |

4ways1 4 WAYS TO HANDLE A REFERRAL

It is impossible to say too much about the value of voluntary referrals. They can give you all sorts of advantages when approaching customers and they certainly take a lot of the legwork out of finding new leads. But you can blow the advantage if you use the referral the wrong way.

You have to remember for instance, that your first approach is nothing more than a warmed up cold call and at that stage, is not reflective of any commitment on the referral’s part. Try some of these tips for working with referrals.

4ways2 4 WAYS TO HANDLE A REFERRAL

1. They’re no good unless they are voluntary

If you ask for referrals and you don’t instantly get any, don’t push the issue. A forcibly extracted referral is no more valuable than a name pulled at random out of the phone book. If you have wowed your customer, the chances are they will want to share that information with someone they respect. If your customer doesn’t appear to feel that way, then they are hardly likely to recommend the people with whom they have a strong attachment. That means the power of the referral is drastically diminished and may just be a waste of a phone call.

2. Don’t approach them at all

Get your customer to make the first call, and if possible, get them to do it then and there. If your customer is close to the person they are referring, then it is easy for them to personally make the introduction. Furthermore, it is a worthwhile exercise for them if connecting the pair of you has a positive effect on the referral’s business. Depending on the nature of their relationship, perhaps you can invite both the referee and the referrer to lunch.

3. Drop the referee in early

If you decide to go it alone and phone the referral, make it your first priority to drop in the name of the person who told you to call them. “Hi Steve, Mark Smith at XYZ Co. suggested I give you a ring …” If you don’t do that, you lose all the beneficial impact of that referral and it might turn into just another sales call.

4. Find out about them

When your customer gives you a name and number of a referral, don’t leave it at that. Find out their position, the time your customer thinks it might be best to call them, and anything else you can. Ideally, you want a customer to say “Call Steve at ABC Co. He has been having exactly the same problems as I have recently and I bet he is in the market for something like this.”

The chances are however, that they will say no such thing, so you should probably ask a few simple and polite questions about the referral just to get that little inside edge.                                                                      By Colin Browne


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