Something that never ceases to amaze me is the effort that many organisations direct towards getting new business while overlooking their existing client base. That’s crazy – it’s like filling a bucket that has a hole in it.
Your best prospects are your existing customers. There is an incredibly effective technique for tapping this resource, a technique that provides real insight into how you get qualified leads. Are you ready for it? Ask for them!
Asking for referrals works, but you have to do it. You have to ask: ‘Who else in the organisation do you feel could benefit from our services?’
Most customers understand the need to sell, but be careful. Whatever you do, don’t say, ‘By the way John, could you give me some names of other people we should contact?’ The answer will be, ‘By the way, no.’ ‘By the way’ implies this is not important.
Here’s how to do it.
Choose an appropriate moment, ideally when you know the customer is satisfied or, better, delighted with what your organisation has achieved, and say: ‘We’re on a new business drive and I have been asked to produce two new introductions this month. Can you help?’
Now add one of the most effective referral questions ever devised: ‘If you and I swapped jobs tomorrow, who would be the first person you would call? Would you mind if I contacted them? May I use your name?’
Be sure to include this approach in your sales coaching – it has worked for me in every business in which I’ve been involved. However, be careful you don’t take its power away by asking for three or four names. That’s too difficult. Ask your customers for one name and help them to focus. If they want to give you two or three names, they’ll tell you anyway.
Learn more about LDL sales development programmes