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Most Clients Donít Know Anyone Who Needs or Wants My Product or Service

A not so uncommon opinion of many salespeople is that most clients don't know anyone who needs or wants their product or service. What is your opinion on the matter? - by Community Mailbox
A not so uncommon opinion of many salespeople is that most clients don't know anyone who needs or wants their product or service. What is your opinion on the matter?
That is very true but it is influenced by the commodity sold and the networking within the targeted community.

So, many in sales rave about their referral system while others find them very rare.

After 30 years of cold-call sales, I found only a handful of referrals and not every referral ended with a sale.

I get very uncomfortable when a sales trainer in one industry, tries to convince a sales rep in another unrelated industry that he or she is doing something wrong regarding referrals. No one wants to accept that "this may be as good as it gets" and who wouldn't want more referrals.

Sales people mentally "beat themselves up" too much as it is, they don't need additional help. - by John Voris
I have a difficult time believing that none of your clients have a referral that could use your services, though I am also not so arrogant that I will say that you are wrong, however, you still have a great post-sale tool that you can use to increase your sales....

TESTIMONIALS!!!!!!!

I always recommend that my sales representatives either attain quality referrals or a testimonial upon receipt of their purchase(s).

If you truly cannot get a referral, you can definitely get a testimonial. If you are selling your clients over the phone, ask them if they will skype with you and allow you to record them via screenr.com for a screencast testimonial that you can convert to a youtube video and place in your own youtube channel. You can use this in your email prospecting, place on your company website (if they allow it), or even place it on your own resume website or social networking site that you use for business.

Don't fret an alleged lack of ability to gain referrals...GET SOME TESTIMONIALS!!!! - by Sales Zombie
'When someone shares something of value with you, and you benefit from it, you have a moral obligation to share it with others.' -Chinese Prover
b

 

I have a different take concerning referrals. My belief is I must give to get. I also must look at referrals differently with my belief. When I seriously take a look at the sheer number of people I know I can discover a referral for dozens if not more with each customer I visit. The referral can be for the customer or given to the customer.There are some referral sources that align with my business more than others however when I can refer a source to my customers I become a more trusted advisor to that customer. The more I become a trusted advisor the more the customer is willing to refer me to their friends, family and customers due to my increased value with that customer.

Having this attitude will bring you more referrals. All I have to be willing to do is give in order to receive.
- by rich34232
I have a difficult time believing that none of your clients have a referral that could use your services, though I am also not so arrogant that I will say that you are wrong, however, you still have a great post-sale tool that you can use to increase your sales....

TESTIMONIALS!!!!!!!

I always recommend that my sales representatives either attain quality referrals or a testimonial upon receipt of their purchase(s).

If you truly cannot get a referral, you can definitely get a testimonial. If you are selling your clients over the phone, ask them if they will skype with you and allow you to record them via screenr.com for a screencast testimonial that you can convert to a youtube video and place in your own youtube channel. You can use this in your email prospecting, place on your company website (if they allow it), or even place it on your own resume website or social networking site that you use for business.

Don't fret an alleged lack of ability to gain referrals...GET SOME TESTIMONIALS!!!!
If this is directed at me:
I didn't say that NONE of my clients gave referrals rather most did not.

I also said that referral success is dependent first on the commodity sold, target market, and networking style.

________________________

Testimonials are helpful but are also hard to acquire in some industries. People are also becoming more skeptical as the Internet dilutes their value.

I certainly recommend asking for referrals and testimonials but they were seldom fruitful in my industry, compared to just cold-calling their neighbor.

Again, how you market, acquire referrals and testimonials, are first dependent upon the commodity or service sold.

Make blanked statements in sales, is a common problem with sales courses and books designed for mass consumption.

How you conduct yourself selling sailing yachts to the wealthy is not the same as selling Tupperware. While the conceptual selling formats are the same, their content is in diametric opposition. - by John Voris
'When someone shares something of value with you, and you benefit from it, you have a moral obligation to share it with others.' -Chinese Prover
b

 

I have a different take concerning referrals. My belief is I must give to get. I also must look at referrals differently with my belief. When I seriously take a look at the sheer number of people I know I can discover a referral for dozens if not more with each customer I visit. The referral can be for the customer or given to the customer.There are some referral sources that align with my business more than others however when I can refer a source to my customers I become a more trusted advisor to that customer. The more I become a trusted advisor the more the customer is willing to refer me to their friends, family and customers due to my increased value with that customer.

Having this attitude will bring you more referrals. All I have to be willing to do is give in order to receive.
I appreciate your approach but unfortunately few of my customers were familiar with the proverb you cite.

What if you sold burial plots for a Mortuary?

How often do you recommend another barber or beauty salon and that person fails to follow through? What is the ratio?

How about referring physicians if that person already has one?

A car sales agent can get a referral that someone is looking for a new car but what if he sells Fords and the referral is looking for a Chevrolet?

From my experience, referrals" are not a matter of attitude or perspective only but is nestled within the entire process.

The referring customer usually does not know if their referral is in the market for your exact product or service. In some industries however, your approach works beautifully.

When a sales trainee is in a poor industry for acquiring referrals and is told their attitude is the reason, they often just get depressed and quit.

There is the right person, selling the right commodity to the right person.

When someone doesn't find success in acquiring referrals, the sale rep is often not at fault. - by John Voris
To ALL,

Did you ever stop to think that the request and/or demand that salespeople ask for referrals usually comes from without rather than from within?

It comes from trainers, often who do not sell, and managers, often who do not sell, and books and manuals and seminars and forums.......

If ASKING for referrals is an action that consistently earns significant amounts of money, there would be no reason not to perform that action.

Unless a payoff is attached to SHOULD, we can dispense with it.

If a person has been selling for a while, sooner or later that person know what works or does not work. - by Gary A Boye
To ALL,

Did you ever stop to think that the request and/or demand that salespeople ask for referrals usually comes from without rather than from within?

It comes from trainers, often who do not sell, and managers, often who do not sell, and books and manuals and seminars and forums.......

If ASKING for referrals is an action that consistently earns significant amounts of money, there would be no reason not to perform that action.

Unless a payoff is attached to SHOULD, we can dispense with it.

If a person has been selling for a while, sooner or later that person know what works or does not work.

Gary,

Excellent point!

Too often the sales training process consists of "Lists of Doing" ignoring the morphology of what it is to be human.

Selling technique is not only determined by the commodity sold, but "what works or does not work," given the sales agent's "inner" sense of self and the psychology of the agent and prospect.

Too often sales techniques resemble a grocery list of doing rather than natural integrity, which "being" promotes. - by John Voris
I appreciate your approach but unfortunately few of my customers were familiar with the proverb you cite.

What if you sold burial plots for a Mortuary?

Can not play what ifs as I do not sell plots. However if a client of mine was interested in a plot and I understood this I would be happy to refer them to a person I would know. Hopefully if I did sell plots my friends or referral sourcs wouold understand what to listen for and refer me.

How often do you recommend another barber or beauty salon and that person fails to follow through? What is the ratio?


In Ohio I did this quite freqnetly. I had 2 uncles who were barbers. Here I am finding it rough to find one that I would consider a keeper.
How about referring physicians if that person already has one?


I refer surgeons all te time I have 3 great surgeons and my clients take a long hard look at them.


A car sales agent can get a referral that someone is looking for a new car but what if he sells Fords and the referral is looking for a Chevrolet?

That would be a lousy referral and this person would need educated on what a good referral is. That is the sales persons job to educate people on a good referral and a bad referral.

From my experience, referrals" are not a matter of attitude or perspective only but is nestled within the entire process.

I believe attitude controls what a person will do ,how they do it and what they do. Add a lack of education and training and this wil produce zero results.

The referring customer usually does not know if their referral is in the market for your exact product or service. In some industries however, your approach works beautifully.

This is where we must educate our customers to good and bad referrals. I f I can narrow down to the lowest common point I can receive a good referral. I am looking to meet Joe Snow of Swift Condo management verse I am looking for condo management companies.

When a sales trainee is in a poor industry for acquiring referrals and is told their attitude is the reason, they often just get depressed and quit.


Frequently it is more than just attitude.We must be trained in giving good referrals in order tor eceive good referrals. I keep giving you referrals and you give me zero in return eventually those referrals will dry up.

There is the right person, selling the right commodity to the right person.

I am in Plumbing I have given referrals to a person that writes Wills and trusts.The common ground isin our cross marketing of the same clients. My clients are her clients. When we train ourselves to hear we wil discover a ton of things are possible.

When someone doesn't find success in acquiring referrals, the sale rep is often not at fault.

I would say this would depend on the industry and would tink it wouild be a company and indivudal at fault lacking the proper education and training with referrals. - by rich34232
I would say this would depend on the industry and would tink (sic) it wouild (sic) be a company and indivudal (sic) at fault lacking the proper education and training with referrals.
What would such education and training look like--specifically? - by Gary A Boye
Gary

First let me say sorry about the spelling errors and typos I sent that post from my phone.

The very first place I would send you is BNI. (Business Network International) They require all members to attend training to learn how to network, give referrals and inform people what is a good referral for you . Prior to attending I networked like John where I passed a card, said what I do in an elevator speech, asked anyone who could use my services to call me. Since then I have started researching on line how to be a better networker and how to give and receive stronger referrals that work.

Networking is no different than any other portion of life and living. It takes time to develop and take shape forming an allegiance with others. As I have suggested I must give to get. The training would show you how to give in order to get in the future. If we look at networking and referrals from a different point of view such as I give you a way to make more money besides my product or service or I put you in contact with people that can solve other issues, save you money or time you will be inclined to use me as a trusted advisor and purchase more from me. Every thread outside of mine has suggested referrals as a me me thing without thinking of the other person and how you can help them. I cannot stress that enough. How about bringing a referral source with you the next time you visit this client that is need of his or her service?

There are many important items that must be learned with giving and receiving referrals. Such as drinking coffee, tea, or whatever you are drinking, drink with the left hand leaving your right hand available to shake hands you never know when a person may realize they want to move forward. When 2 people are talking and are face to face with one another it is a closed conversation and if a 3rd person is in the room they are left out. Stand off to the side where it is inviting for a 3rd party to enter the conversation.

Some other ways to broaden referrals are; How to be distinctive and how to make the referral and networking an experience verses branding. Teach or train you how to be specific in details with asking for a referral. Asking for anyone interested or can use your services is very broad and useless in my estimation. Teach you how to spot opportunities for your referring network. Teach you what is a good referral and what is a lead verses a cold call. These are 3 distinct and very different sales call from one another.

These are a very few things that would enter the arena of referral training. I Gary I have heard you state that you work with a lot of referrals and do not ask. Your service, knowledge, and experience actually asked the customer to refer you out. I work with referrals almost on a daily basis. I do not ask for referrals often however I receive them due to the way my customers feel after we have worked together. This would tie directly into networking events that can and will increase your business learn to do it better than the next person.

It is my job to educate the custormer when I ask for referrals.

 

 

 

 
- by rich34232
Gary

First let me say sorry about the spelling errors and typos I sent that post from my phone.

I just put those (sic)'s in to needle you. The best of Holidays and a great New Year to you and your loved ones, Rich. - by Gary A Boye
Every thread outside of mine has suggested referrals as a me me thing without thinking of the other person and how you can help them.
That is not an accurate statement. - by Gary A Boye
You too Gary.

I just received this new phone and I need to take a class on how to use it. What happened to dialing and talking with a few text messages mixed into the fray. - by rich34232
Rich, I have mixed thoughts about what you described in your post, albeit an excellent post. They stem from a couple of things.

One, I'm a skeptic when it comes to institutionalizing effective human behaviors.

Two, I think that unsolicited, EARNED referrals are multi-times more valuable than solicited referrals, no matter how subtle the solicitation, or how orchestrated the referral-gathering process.

However, I have relied heavily on Bob Burg's contributions on the subject which focuses on the other person. Give to get--as you would call it.

I'll say also, that I don't ever want to wear a name tag to tell people who I am. I want people to know who I am, or be interested enough to find out. - by Gary A Boye
Two, I think that unsolicited, EARNED REFERRALS ARE MULTI-TIMES MORE VALUABLE
than solicited referrals, no matter how subtle the solicitation, or how orchestrated the referral-gathering process.
No one can argue this very valid point and they are a stronger referral. In my industry and with this type referral all I do is ask what the other person told them and it is generally sold at that point.

Institutionalizing effective human behaviors
I look at the referral training as making the sales person more aware and similar to sales training whether it is self taught or by sales trainers. We all have it available to us and now it is up to us or me to realize it is there for us or me to work with, however with many of us there is or was a need to say hey how about using this or trying this the next time before we realized the value of this or that approach.

It could be that I do not understand what is "institutionalizing effective behaviors" what behaviors specifically are you indicating are being institutionalized? - by rich34232
There are plenty of prospects for virtually every product and service that exits. All it takes is effective telephone prospecting skills to find them.

If you have to ask clients to refer you to "Anyone Who Needs or Wants My (sic) Product or Service" in order to be successful, you should consider a different line of work. - by JacquesWerth
what behaviors specifically are you indicating are being institutionalized?
Interacting with others in search of common interests and trading information in a mutually beneficial manner is a common human behavior.

Establishing organized associations for the sole purpose of Interacting with others in search of common interests, and, for trading information in a mutually beneficial manner I would consider to be institutionalizing a common human behavior. - by Gary A Boye
If you have to ask clients to refer you to "Anyone Who Needs or Wants My (sic) Product or Service" in order to be successful, you should consider a different line of work.

.................................................. ........Why? - by rich34232
Rich - Target marketing will turn up more prospects - for your products and/or services - than you will ever have the time to talk to.

If you call them with a good prospecting offer, some of them will be ready willing and able to buy. That is how most top sales producers find their prospects.

I suggest that you read up on target marketing. Then, find a good list broker.

If you're a really good salesperson, more and more referrals will eventually come to you. - by JacquesWerth
Rich - Target marketing will turn up more prospects - for your products and/or services - than you will ever have the time to talk to.

If you call them with a good prospecting offer, some of them will be ready willing and able to buy. That is how most top sales producers find their prospects.

I suggest that you read up on target marketing. Then, find a good list broker.

If you're a really good salesperson, more and more referrals will eventually come to you.

How would this work in the plumbing service profession? Customers call us when they are in need or wanting our service? - by rich34232
"When I seriously take a look at the sheer number of people I know I can discover a referral for dozens if not more with each customer I visit." --Rich

Can you clarify that?

You mentioned "Customers call us when they are in need or wanting our service?"

How could any one of the sheer number of people you know provide you with referrals for dozens of people who need plumbing services? - by Gary A Boye
A not so uncommon opinion of many salespeople is that most clients don't know anyone who needs or wants their product or service. What is your opinion on the matter?
Selling is a thinking person's game.

If these threads are going to be meaningful, we also have to do some thinking about the questions, such as the one above which started the topic, and, the answers.

John Voris intrinsically addressed the question and, in my opinion, the rest of us fell short. He answered: "That is very true but it is influenced by the commodity sold and the networking within the targeted community."

Jacques and I took the question as an opportunity to express our lack of belief in asking for referrals. In my case I emphasized earning referrals, and, Jacques mentioned the preference for finding qualified prospects through targeted lists. Another member talked about testimonials. Rich said all the other members address referrals as a "me me thing", and I stated that was inaccurate. He inferred that he personally is successful in accumulating referrals, but the figures he gave us seemed very incredible when you consider he runs plumbing service calls. He had said "I know I can discover a referral for dozens if not more with each customer I visit." To give him the benefit of a doubt, I'm sure he will clarify---but it needs clarification if the stuff we're going to talk about has any meaning to anybody.

Looking back on this thread, I think John's simple idea that it depends on the industry makes a lot of sense. - by Gary A Boye
Gary I can clarify. As I stated people look at referrals from a me me perspective. How can I get a referral for me? This would back up my statement that most people think of referrals as a me me thing . Look at my statement.

"When I seriously take a look at the sheer number of people I know I can discover a referral for dozens if not more with each customer I visit" Taken from the perspective and context of my words of give to get.

No where have I mentioned plumbing referrals for me. I can discover a referral for dozens if not more with each customer I visit. If I visit a customer that is hurting physically or mentally I can refer an acupuncturist, massage therapist, doctor, physical therapist, and chiropractor.

When I visit my customers we have conversations. I discover things about them and who they are, what they need done, what they are looking for and or useless chat that bonds us together. Most of my customers tell me anything and everything about them. They will tell me they need their cars worked on, yard issues, home issues, ac does not get cold enough, there kid is in trouble and needs a lawyer. You name it we talk about it from Wills and Trusts, deeds, to kidís toys.

I need to penetrate a wall to access plumbing pipes. I now can refer a painter, drywall repair person, possibly a cabinet maker and counter to. I just referred a realtor to one of my clients who has had difficulty selling their home. My back surgeon just married in Ocober. I referred the music man, delivery of a tent, tables, chairs, and dance floor, cake maker, and bar tenders for the wedding.

One of my customers is remodeling a bedroom into a handicap assessable bathroom. I referred the contractor, tile man, electrician, HVAC, concrete repair person, countertop and cabinet man, and the showroom to visit to look at lights, fans, and medicine cabinet.

When we open up our minds to become a trusted advisor we have limitless abilities to take care of our customers with quality referrals that increase the trust in us.

The more quality referrals I give ,the more quality referrals I receive. We should be thinking on the larger scale and receive referrals from people you know, work with and for.
- by rich34232
I see. So you're talking about giving referrals in your post rather than getting them. Thank you for clarifying. - by Gary A Boye
Yes that is how you give to get. When I can give my customer a referral that helps them whether it be for thier personal use or will help increase their business I do and in return they are more likely to give me a referral.I do not believe I must complete a business transaction with someone to gain a referral or give one.

I want my clients to call me when they need anything, I want them to trust me and what I can do for him or her. - by rich34232
Gary it is about receiving referrals and giving referrals.
My last 2 jobs,1 today and 1 yesterday were all day jobs both referrals. - by rich34232
Gary it is about receiving referrals and giving referrals.
My last 2 jobs,1 today and 1 yesterday were all day jobs both referrals.
With this clarification all seems to fall together.

I have a freind who has been in the plumbing business for 35 years. His entire business is referrals. He is in a trade that generates repeatable and knowable results which makes referrals rather easy.

A plumber is also permitted in the home of the customer, which naturally demands more trust on their part.

Over time, a plumber will become acquainted with many trade industries and be able to offer his or her customers many of such referrals.

I think we were focused on receiving referrals for ourselves directly resulting in a personal financial benefit for us.

In all of my years in sales, I was never asked for a referral because my industry was not associated with other industries.

Again, referrals are industry dependent. The rate a plumber receives referrals is very different from a Realtor or a car sales rep.

Finally, I never did this:

Prior to attending I networked like John where I passed a card, said what I do in an elevator speech, asked anyone who could use my services to call me. - by John Voris
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