1: Let prospects know you get business from sales referrals
Most prospects want to know who else you do business with, and how you got in touch with them. It’s important to them that you’re not only a cold-call or mass email operation.
They want to know that your service is well-liked, and that sales opportunities sometimes come to you. Social proof is important.
Early adopters won’t make up the majority of your client base. Most of your clients will need convincing from others who have used your products successfully.
They want to know that you’re getting results for reputable brands. Leveraging social proof is all about helping your client mitigate the perceived risk of adopting your solution.
A great way to minimize perceived risk is to let them know about other clients successes. A better way to mitigate their perceived risk is to let them know that your clients are so happy they’re recommending you to other companies!
This strategy has a two benefits:
- A) You’ve hit the prospect with a tonne of social proof by talking about how big brands give you referral business
- B) You’ve planted the seed that you would like referral business from them down the road
Tell your prospect you want a referral from them once your product starts getting results. It will get them excited for success, and prepare them for your referral request in the future.
2: Give prospects incentives in exchange for referrals
Hopefully the company you work for has a well-structured referral program. That makes it easy to get referrals from your customers.
If you don’t have a formal referral process to leverage, you can make up your own. Most salespeople are able to offer different pricing options and discounts.
We rarely give discounts to the customers that are on board right away. These are the customers that should be getting the discount. They are usually sold from the get-go, and could develop into super-users.
Give them further incentive to buy, even if you think they would buy without the discount. Offer them a 5% discount on price in exchange for a couple of referrals. A 5% discount might not matter in the grand scheme of pricing, but it could help create a superuser for years to come.
Give your prospect an extra X% off if they are willing to give you 2 or 3 (pick a solid number to make this seem like a formal program) referrals who might be interested in using your product.
There’s a good chance that one of those 2 or 3 referrals will end up closing. You paid 5% of a current deal to get another new deal.
There is no limit to how many times you can do this. If you close a referral lead, offer a bonus to them to give you another referral! See how long you can keep the streak going.
3: Ask for referrals when you’re closing
You may not be able to create your own referral program. That’s fine. There are other ways to get customers to give you referrals.
The best time to ask when you’re closing a deal:
“Is there anyone else you know that might benefit from SuperProduct™ that you could put me in touch with?”
It’s as easy as that.
You might think the customer won’t give you a referral because they haven’t used the product yet. That’s not always the case.
People like trying new things for the first time with others. We go to new classes, events, and parties with our friends because it’s better than doing them alone.
Business is no different. Some of your prospects will be excited to create their own mini support group by helping you persuade one of their friends to jump on board as well.
4: Follow up with your accounts often to make sure that everything is going well (and ask for referrals)
So many salespeople close a deal and forget about the customer. This could be costing you an “in” to a valuable referral network.
A phone call asking a customer how they’re doing might take you 5 minutes.
Occasionally you will have to direct them to support or answer technical questions, but it won’t happen often. In this case it’s good that you’re being proactive instead of waiting for them to angrily call support on their own.
If everything is going well, asking for a referral is easy:
“I’m glad you’re liking SuperProduct™! Is there anyone else you know that might want to try it as well?”
You will get referral leads more often than not using this strategy.
5: Email your best accounts for testimonials
Your best customers should be on your website talking about how good of a job you’re doing. It’s important that your customers share their success with your product.
This is not a one-way ask. You are getting value by getting a permanent referral on your website, and they are getting SEO value for their website. When you put a referral on your site you should always give the referring company a backlink to their website.
If you’re unfamiliar with search engine optimization, backlinks are extremely important. They are one of the main factors that help boost search engine rankings on Google.