Simple But Not Easy......
The idea of asking for referrals is simple but it's not easy for most sellers. I read a stat that said only 11% of salespeople ask for referrals which is mind-blowing. 🤯 The fact is you need to earn the right to ask for referrals in the same way that you have to earn the right to ask for their business. Everything you do in every phase of the relationship matters and will add up to either you earning the right to ask for referrals or not.
How Do I Ask?
If you ask too early or if you have not earned the right to ask you can guarantee you will see zero referrals. Like my good friend Larry Levine says "you need to actually give a rip for your prospects and your customers." This takes a very different mindset than what a lot of sellers are learning in their formal sales training. You need to show people you are actually interested in helping them solve what is most important to them. Their most important thing may or may not be related to the solution your offer. But if you care enough to ask and have the ability to help them solve it this is a great first step.
Two👂 's and One 😮
We need to listen more than we speak in all phases of the relationship with our prospects and customers. When you engage with people try and slow down. Sellers are far too often are quick to try and get the meeting booked or pitch their solution. If you slow down and start by learning more about the person you will be surprised where the conversation goes. People are naturally curious and will ask about you at some point. If you have spent more time asking questions and showing you are interested they are way more open to hearing what you have to say.
Always Be Helping 🙌
Sellers need to find ways to be helpful that relate to what they do and in ways that have nothing to do with what they do. Once you talk to enough people you will start to see some trends in what their more important needs are. Spend some time building a network of trusted resources to support the needs of your ideal customers. It could be a common SaaS solution that your customers use it could be a network for awesome people you can tap into when your prospects are hiring. Be creative and find ways to always be helping. These types of things do not take a lot of time and can help with earning the right to ask for referrals.
Have I Earned the right, now what? 🤷♂️
If you have spent time helping your prospect, listening more than you spoke, and providing insights you have earned the right to ask for referrals. You can ask for referrals even if they don't end up buying from you. They don't need to be a customer to ask for referrals. If you have added value and they did not move forward for reasons out of your control it is still reasonable to ask for referrals. The more specific you are with the ask the higher the success rate you have. Let them know what a good referral is for you or even ask for specific introductions.
What's a Brand Ambassador
If you follow these things and do the work to earn the right to ask for referrals you will reduce the level of stress that most sellers have at end of the month and end of the quarter. If you master this in every interaction you have you will build what I like to call brand ambassadors. Brand ambassadors will promote you anytime they see an opportunity. The key is to make a big enough impression and impact on them. It doesn't cost you anything to be a good human and help people as much as possible. I cannot tell you how many people I have helped knowing that they were not my ideal customer and or had no budget. It has paid off 100X in most cases as those people are my biggest referral sources. They are the ones that will see someone posting about a need that you can solve and tag you every time or make an introduction.