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How to get Referrals

What is the best way you have found to get referrals? Is there a process that you always follow? - by realtor
Hi there:
I'm sure you've heard this before, but your best referrals come from satisfied customers. I always ask my clients if they would feel comfortable referring me.

But I also start my collaborative process with them at the very start of our relationship: what would you need to see from me to ensure you're getting all of your needs met? how can we make sure that we are on the same page? what needs to happen if we are going off track?

That helps me be assured that i'm always being the type of vendor and support person that they wanted, or ensure that if there is a problem, we've both discussed up front how to manage it.

Hope this helps.
sd - by Sharon Drew Morgen
There are occasions when the prospect cannot buy.

Sharon is correct in stating what has been said a million times, that your best source of referrals comes from a satisfied customer. That does not mean that people who do not become your clients/customers are bad at referring, not at all. It is just that when you get to that referral is a a position of greater strength to be able to say; "Bob is using it/us now and he will be able to tell you how satisfied he is. Now, would Monday morning next week or perhaps Tuesday afternoon be better for us to get together ... "

What you must NOT do is ask for a referral while the sales process is on. You can and should get referrals from happy customers but, you also should ask for referrals from those who liked your product but could not buy.

Now, the reasons for not being able to buy would be that you discovered in the process that they have just bought something they must live with. If that happens and the buyer says; "Gee, I wish you had been here 6 months ago before I bought ________, I would have loved to get your product instead" then you have a buyer who will give you referrals even though they are not a client.

Clearly, the above is an advanced skill. So is getting referrals from customers. The key is to prompt their memory, ask things like; "Who do you know from your customers that might be able to use our service?" After writing them down say ; "thank you. Who do you know from your suppliers who might be able to use our service?" this is the most effective way and can go on for several more questions.

Of course, the topic is not complete without talking about compensation for a deal from a referral. Taking your customer out for lunch or getting them a dinner coupon, this is imperative to make sure that they will come up with more from their new contacts.

I could say more but this is a good addition to Sharon's comments.


- by Gold Calling
What you must NOT do is ask for a referral while the sales process is on.
What is the reason for that Gold Calling? - by realtor
I could spend some time talking about this. The simplest way to answer you would be to ask you a question; would you give me a name of a friend when you were not sure yet if you were going to buy from me? This is common sense.

NEVER ASK FOR REFERRALS WHEN THE SALE IS ONGOING. This is the iron clad rule of professional sales - the other is; satisfied customers make the best source of referrals but, they are not the only source.

You ask either after they buy or they indicate they cannot buy but liked your product too. If they indicate they are not buying from you but from someone else, they you still have not got an individual who will refer you.

Now, there are those who preset the sale by indicating they are going to ask and use other advanced techniques. The reality is - asking at the right time will get you referrals. So, I think it best we not go into other techniques for generating referrals.

Examples of those who cannot buy are companies that bought another product/service and are locked in. Occasionally a presentation is made to find out later there is an existing product that is still being written off that does the same thing, albeit not as well as your solution. This is rare but it happens. And, if it does, you can and should ask for referrals - thus your time was productive even though they could not buy from you!

This is a fascinating subject. The reason why the customer would want to provide referrals is they need you to provide great service and you are more likely to be willing to go over the top for them in exchange.

My two posts and Sharon's excellent post make up is a short answer to one of the great topics of our profession, I sincerely hope this helps. - by Gold Calling
Hello,

The phrase I use is "If someone wanted to speak with someone who uses our solution and likes it, who would they speak with?" If you are speaking with the end user, 9 times out of 10 they will say themselves if they are happy with your solution.

Then I ask if an occasional email or phone call would be okay.

Works for me. - by accelerated-sales
A short post to clarify - since "we" usually come from ... or put more correctly "answer from" - the B2B point of view and since you are a Realtor, for your purposes the ongoing sale is the time it takes to get the listing.

Once you have the listing, theoretically the sale is closed. However, in your business and in practice, the house has to sell too. Now, if they are particularly impressed with you and know someone else who is thinking of selling, you may very well be able to get a referral prior to their sale completing.

This is the difference between B2B and Real Estate. In your business you "make a sale" or get a decision from you client to list but then the client is sellign something. That's quite similar to say Sotheby's, an auction house. They too need to make a sale for the client after they have sold the client on using their service. So, to have the client satisfied you must complete the service first.

In B2B the sale may be ongoing because it is complex, for different reasons than in your industry.

Anyway, after reading my post, I realized that this could be something that was confusing from your end. I am normally not involved in advising real estate agents or brokers, thus this detail did not initially occur to me. - by Gold Calling
Louise seems to be able to pull-in referrals from a number of sources. For example, last summer she sold our daughter's home in Ajax (east of Toronto). It was listed for a short period and "sold over-asking".

She has since sold at least 4 homes in that neighborhood. The 2nd was our daughter's neighbour who called for Louise's info. The next was a sign-call based on the signs for the first two sales. The one which just sold had been listed by another agent but they'd had absolutely NO activity (it was one of those "discount" brokerages who simply can't provide meaningful service).

Interestingly, their comment to Louise at the end was how much they appreciated her not spending time dumping on their first agent. (It seems to me that her actions spoke louder than any words.)

Louise was showing them condo's through the week-end and is preparing an offer today. Interestingly, the real estate office was closed on Sunday and there was no communications available (with their agent) to present the offer so it waited 'til today!

I find it interesting that in the real estate business, you are limited by the licensing body for sales activities which the rest of us take for granted. For example, if there's an existing agent or if the property is within 'X' days of having been listed, there are "legal implications" for the new SR.

Whereas, I used to "feed-off" existing leases for competitive gear. Invariably, the competition would forget about gear which was out on lease creating a minor customer satisfaction issue. I would niggle on these points while promoting the benefits of my offering.

Good luck & Good selling!
Pat - by OUTSource Sales
What about wording? Have you found any questions for asking for referrals that work better than others? - by realtor
What about wording? Have you found any questions for asking for referrals that work better than others?
Here are a couple thoughts:

1.
An idea of Brian Tracy's that I've used ever since I heard it: Always ask for "two or three" names (such as, "Would you be kind enough to share two or three names of people you know who may be able to benefit from my services?"). By asking for "one or two names", Brian suggests that you're more likely to get at least ONE name. I have found this to be true.

2. Rather than just asking for a referral, it's often helpful to explain what type of individual (or company) is a good referral for you.

Let's say you sell real estate and you've found that people who are retiring are good customers for you. Explain that to your customers when you're asking for referrals. Customers are often pre-occupied and distracted, and sometimes they can use our help - if we describe exactly what we're looking for, they're more likely to help us. In all of selling, one of my mottos is: "Ask for exactly what you want," but this is especially true when asking for referrals.

Here's an example of asking for exactly what you want:

In every issue of our free Sales Tips Newsletter, we always include a blurb asking readers to forward the issue to salespeople they know who might be able to use our sales tips and information. After every issue, our subscriptions increase because of this.

However, a few months ago, we started suggesting what type of salespeople might benefit from the newsletter. In every issue, we suggest a different category of people, such as "retail salespeople" or "people who are new to sales", or "people who sell in customer's homes", etc. Since we started doing this, our newsletter subscriptions have grown at a significantly higher rate than when we used to simply invite people to forward the newsletter to others.

I hope that helps...

Skip Anderson - by Skip Anderson
I like the wording of; "Name me two or three people you know ...".

Let's add a category to that question now;

"Name me two or three people you know from your suppliers who might be able to use our services/product?"

By putting it this way, you can then say afterward;

"Name me two or three people you know from your customers who might be able to use our services/product?"

Then;

"Name me two or three people you know personally who might be able to use our services/product?"

Asking for a number mean you will challenge them to get at least one if not two. Adding categories means you can steer their thinking even more, generating one or two from several categories instead of just the general question, which may only generate one answer.

Applied to real estate it might go like this;

"Name me two or three people you work with who might want to take advantage of low interest rates and move up to a bigger house?"

Then;

"Name me two or three people you work with who might want to take advantage of low interest rates and move up to a bigger house?"

Lastly;

"Name me two or three people who work for suppliers with who might want to take advantage of low interest rates and move up to a bigger house?"

Obviously, each statement would be boring if not varied and must be set up properly. Hope this adds value to what has been stated already. - by Gold Calling
All of this information has been superb. I'm pumped. Thank you! thmbp2; - by realtor
1. Taking genuine interest in others.
2. Offer them value that enhances their lives
3. Not expecting any immediate return from #1 & #2.
4. Doing 1-3 consistently. - by MaxReferrals
1. Taking genuine interest in others.
2. Offer them value that enhances their lives
3. Not expecting any immediate return from #1 & #2.
4. Doing 1-3 consistently.

How does taking genuine interest in other actually turn into referrals Max? Don't you have to ask for referrals ... forgive the simplistic nature of my comments but ... do you mean I take genuine interest in Jim and that means he will suddenly say "gee, you took great interest in me, I think you should call Frank!"

Staying with the simplistic; How does offering Jim value that enhances his life get me a referral to Frank?

So I do these two things consistantly and not expect anythign and magically the person gives me referrals???

I must say, I am confused with your advice .... !!! - by Gold Calling
1. Taking genuine interest in others.
2. Offer them value that enhances their lives
3. Not expecting any immediate return from #1 & #2.
4. Doing 1-3 consistently.
Max, to me this advice is a little bit like saying "attitude is everything" and "knowledge doesn't matter" when closing a sale. Having a great attitude is fantastic, of course, but having a great attitude doesn't close sales; knowing how to close a sale closes sales. A good attitude only helps if it helps you know (or learn) what to do to get the result you want.

We could take two salespeople who "both offer value that enhances the lives" of their prospects. but if one (as Steven suggests) asks for referrals and the other one doesn't, guess which one will walk away with the most referrals?

Here's one of my favorite quotes, and I attribute it to me, but I'm sure wise people have been saying it for centuries:

"Ask for what you want." - by Skip Anderson
Suppose that you are in a service industry providing service to the customer. You must first do a good job for that customer. Once you do a good job, you should then ask the customer for referrals.

You can say, "I am looking to provide quality service and expand my business. Since you were happy with our service, would you mind recommending a few names that may have an interest in our services?"

People in general always want to feel that they helped someone because it will give them gratitude. Asking a customer for a recommendation makes the customer feel that they are part of your team. - by Jumpman
Max, to me this advice is a little bit like saying "attitude is everything" and "knowledge doesn't matter" when closing a sale. Having a great attitude is fantastic, of course, but having a great attitude doesn't close sales; knowing how to close a sale closes sales. A good attitude only helps if it helps you know (or learn) what to do to get the result you want.

We could take two salespeople who "both offer value that enhances the lives" of their prospects. but if one (as Steven suggests) asks for referrals and the other one doesn't, guess which one will walk away with the most referrals?

Here's one of my favorite quotes, and I attribute it to me, but I'm sure wise people have been saying it for centuries:

"Ask for what you want."
Points taken. I'm not talking about attitude.

The problem unfortuntately, is far too often we as sales people move to the asking part without first confirming that value we (believe) we've delivered (subjective assessment) has equated to value-received by the referral source.

We need to tangibly confirm value-received, in the eye of
the referral source, prior to asking for what we want.

Not about us. - by MaxReferrals
A valuable perspective, MaxReferrals. - by Skip Anderson
The ideas offered here are all good, but let's not forget:

You need to first be testing for value-found from the
person you are prospecting for referrals from.

Until the other side confirms they have found value in you
(value-confirmation), it makes it that much more difficult to
refer you.

Test for value-received by ensuring your potential referral
sources have found value in you, BEFORE ever discussing
referrals with them. - by MaxReferrals
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