If you got past my half-humored title, you are about to see why I say “so many organizations I run into employ a bunch of fraidy cats.”
Let me start out by asking you a couple of questions. How many clients bought from you in 2014? Now, how many of those clients will provide a referral for you this year that will produce revenue? My guess is that that number will be less than 10% (probably more like 5%) of the total. Why is that? You guessed it, fraidy cats.
You are the very best at what you do, right? You provide an exceptional level of service and every time that you promise something to a client, you deliver, don’t you?. Your value proposition is so spot on that you’re saving your clients time and making (or saving ) them money with every sale, aren’t you? If you answered yes, and I believe for many of you that I know personally you did, you would have no fear in asking your clients for a referral.
It’s time to reevaluate your sales strategy to existing clients. Here are a few tips to get you going:
- Have a process in place that allows your client to provide feedback from initial engagement to post-close. This can be in the way of a questionnaire, an online form, or a tool like Client Pulse. If you are a salesperson, don’t bail out once the deal closes. Keep a pulse on your client, either directly or through another member of your team that is more appropriately involved.
- Identify the point at which you will begin asking for a referral. For most, it’s once you have provided your deliverable and some time has passed. That’s probably too late. Ask just before you deliver, or at delivery. It’s most fresh in their mind and they will be talking to everyone about the experience they had.
- Determine what you are going to say when you ask for the referral. Be considerate of your client, be aware of their demeanor, be professional, and be willing to get transparent. By transparent, you should be able to honestly explain the importance of asking for and receiving referrals from your clients.
Let’s be honest, referrals are the best way to gain new business and if we do a great job, there are a lot of referrals available to us. But we are so afraid to directly ask for referrals that we end up missing out on many opportunities.
Whether you’re afraid of failure, afraid of not knowing what to do or say, or afraid something else altogether, it’s time for a change. Just imagine if 50% or more of your clients from 2014 referred a client to you in 2015? Ya, you’d be doing pretty well wouldn’t you?