Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Number 1 Way to Close Twice as Many Deals


If you’re among those who think referral selling doesn’t scale, consider this: B2B sales representatives report that referrals generate at least twice as many closed deals as marketing-generated leads, according to Sales Benchmark Index

In addition,
referral programs generate 300 to 400 percent more ROI than all other campaigns combined.
Yes, referrals rock! But, you must earn the right to ask for them.

Start by Earning Trust

People do business with people they know, like, and trust. You would never refer someone who doesn't meet these three criteria. Referral selling is very personal. Your reputation is on the line when you vouch for people. So you need to trust that they will take as good care of your contacts or clients as you would, that they'll follow up, that they will add value to the discussion, and that they will act with integrity. This is why you must earn the right to ask for referrals. So where do you start?

You’ve Already Earned the Right With…

Existing clients are our best—and often most under-leveraged—source of referrals. With them, we have already earned the right to ask, because they:
  • Know first-hand the value of our solutions
  • Can attest to the ROI they’ve received from working with us
  • Trust us (or else they wouldn’t do business with us)
You don’t even have to wait until your solution is implemented and producing ROI.

You can ask:

  • During the sales process when you’ve added value
  • When your client has thanked you
  • Those with whom you and your team interact during the implementation process

If You Don’t Ask, You Don’t Get

Your work may speak for itself, but your clients probably won’t—unless you ask. Many salespeople expect satisfied customers to automatically refer them. But here's the deal: your clients have their own businesses to worry about. They have a lot of competing issues, systems to upgrade, leadership challenges to meet, and a myriad of other decisions to make every day. You are just not top of mind for them.
You might be surprised by how willing your clients are to help you. All you have to do is ask.

Where Else Have You Earned the Right?

You have tons of people in your network—former and current colleagues, other salespeople, workout partners, good friends, your CPA, bankers, or attorneys. Begin with those with whom you have the best relationships. Never assume someone won’t make a great referral source. You never know who others know … until you ask.

Cut to the Chase

Remember to ask for an introduction, not just a name and contact info. When you receive a referral introduction, your prospect expects your call. He knows about you and why it’s beneficial for the two of you to talk. You begin the conversation “knowing about” each other. When you make referral selling your go-to strategy for business development and your No. 1 sales priority, you reduce your cost of sales, shorten your sales cycle, and convert prospects into clients more than 50 percent of the time. Why would you work any other way? For more on how to build and leverage your referral network, read “Your New Referral Network: It’s Always About the People You Know.”