In today’s selling space, we are overwhelmed with everyone talking about social media and how you can’t exist without Twitter of Facebook or Instagram.
The fact is that as much as these platforms can help generate leads and potential sales, they are not the only kid on the block, so to speak.
As a self-employed small business owner, it should be referrals from existing customers that leads the pack as the number one source for high quality leads rather than Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.
Let’s take a closer look at why the referral lead is such a strong asset when you are marketing, and how you can maximize its potential.
From a cost perspective, everyone underestimates the high costs of generating good quality prospects.
Well in an article published in Hubspot, the author, Sophia Bernazzani, reports the following …
“According to the Wharton School of Business, a referred customer costs a lot less to acquire and has a higher potential for retention and loyalty. In fact, a referred customer has a 16% higher lifetime value than a non-referred customer. What’s more, these customers are free to acquire for your business—a win-win.”
Having said that, being successful at referral leads take some getting used to. In fact, I can say from over 40 years experience, that it is an art form in itself.
You need to develop a mindset of thinking about ways to perfect this method.
There is one train of thought that focuses on asking for referrals right after you have closed the deal.
Honestly, I have witnessed many of my sales associates use this method successfully. They realize that the customer is at their highest emotional point as they just made the decision to purchase.
Personally, I just could not perfect this method. Perhaps it is simply because I could not deliver the words comfortably and therefore, I wasn’t convincing enough.
However, what I did discover, was that I had no issue servicing the needs of my customer after the sale. I come from a school of thought that says you over-deliver.
I felt that I could provide follow-up service that was first rate, and this gave me the opportunity to get closer to the customer.
This does not take a lot to accomplish, as it is not something that everyone wants to do.
The “make the sale and get out” school of selling is still quite common.
On the other hand, when you provide overwhelming follow-up service, the customer sees that you are there for them in the long run, and that is the time when I speak those 7 magical words.
Okay. I made the sale and then over the next 2-3 weeks I made follow up calls/visits etc to firm up the relationship. Then and only then would I proceed with these magical words.
Let’s say my client is Tom. I simply said:
“Tom, may I ask you a personal favour?”
(I have over serviced, so the answer was always “Sure go ahead.”)
“Tom, you have obviously seen the value of my product/service or you wouldn’t have purchased it in the first place.
Hopefully I have shown you that I am going to be around. So, with that in mind, could I ask if you could share my details with your friendship network.”
The next step is to get them looking at their phone, and while they are getting my details into their phone I follow up with: “while you are in your contact app, is there anyone of your contacts that you think could benefit from my product/service right now?”
I realize that this sounds like a powerful question that could be considered invasive. But because I over delivered on the follow up before I asked the magical question: “May I ask you a personal favour?”, it never failed.
People do want to help; it is built in our makeup. You just need that perfect timing… and that is just after their positive experience of your follow-up service.
Are there other ways of asking? Yes, there are. However, I made a career out of asking for referrals this way and I hope you can as well.
This is the final article in this month’s series on marketing that have included:
Selling and Building your Brand in your Local Community
Understanding your Marketplace
Secrets to Keeping a Customer for Life
Sell More Product… Make More MONEY… MINDSET SECRETS That Make It Possible
For more information on the importance of marketing, check out the Marketing and Sales section in the Self-Employed Business Manifesto.
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Ed Carey, AMG, LLC