Referral Selling Strategies That Work

Referral Selling Strategies That Work
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Referral Selling Strategies that Boost New Client Revenue
You have probably heard, “referral business is the best business,” more than once during your sales career.  Experienced sales managers know that sales referrals make sense.

  • According to one recent B2B study, a referred sales lead has a 50% chance of closing, compared to 20% for a cold, but qualified, lead, and 2% for cold calling.
  • The Journal of Marketing Research found that word-of-mouth customers add nearly twice as much lifetime value as customers acquired through advertising and other traditional marketing methods.

Are Referral Selling Strategies Being Used?
Despite the research that supports the value of referral selling strategies, a lot of customers are rarely asked. A study shared by our microlearning experts from Texas Tech found that 83% of satisfied customers are willing to refer, but only 29% are ever asked. In our referral selling training program, sales reps tell us that they fear rejection, they do not know how to ask, and that asking for referrals feels like an imposition.

Regardless of the roadblocks, a lot of good business is being left on the table.

To Get More New Clients, Develop a Sales Referral Program
Most businesspeople are predisposed to helping colleagues and friends. So, most customers will be willing to give you a referral, if you ask at the right time, in the right way. Your best bet is to make referring a natural and measured part of your business.

For example, at the beginning of your relationship with a buyer, mention in passing that a lot of your business comes as a result of referrals from satisfied customers. Sample language: “I’m hoping that you’ll be so pleased with us that you will be happy to recommend us and refer us to others.” Later, when the time is right, and you ask for an introduction or recommendation, it won’t come as a surprise. In addition to planting those seeds at the beginning, look for other natural opportunities after you deliver something valuable or receive a compliment for a job well done.

As your work with a customer progresses, and you get to know them better:

  • Look for other ways to “connect” and “network” with decision makers elsewhere in their organization, or peers they know within the industry.
  • Ask for introductions.
  • Keep your finger on the customer’s pulse between projects.
  • Show that you have an active interest in their success and that their business relationship with you is not a one-off thing.

The Bottom Line
Research aside, it’s clear that referrals are a great and effective way for solution sellers to get new clients.  But it doesn’t happen overnight.  Do great work, now how to position your business, and leverage your network in a way that makes sense.   You will know you are on the right path when relationships become advocates and are comfortable telling their peers about the value you bring to the table.

To learn more about referral selling, download Client Referrals – Your Untapped New Revenue Source

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