It is legendary that referrals can be the best method for new business development. Simply put, there is no better sales person than a happy customer.

Here is a simple suggestion. Effective immediately, make it part of every customer meeting agenda to discuss referrals. I am not kidding. Make it your practice to ask each and every customer who they think would enjoy learning more about your offering. Ask for three names, but don’t stop there. The real goal is to get a personal introduction. While a name and email makes your database bigger, a warm introduction will be far more powerful than you personally lobbing in a phone call or email later.

Always attempt to enlist their help in introducing you. If you can, get them to do the introduction on the phone with you sitting in the room. I have done this many times and had the customer put me on the speaker phone to allow me to speak with the referral. When this happens my goal is to set up an appointment such as a lunch with the current customer, the referral, and myself. This may be the warmest referral that you will ever get.

OK, this technique does not always work. Sometimes the customer says, “Let me think about it”—meaning who they might refer. This gives you a chance to call them back later and follow up. More often than not, they will be impressed with your follow up and persistence and will offer you the referrals.

On rare occasions the customer might say, “I am not comfortable doing this”. If that is the case, you get the chance to ask them why this is the case. It might just open up a dialog about how you can do things better in the future. Guess who wins? You guessed it—YOU do because you asked for a referral.

John Bradley Jackson
© Copyright 2007 All rights reserved.

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