Are you making the most of your network? If you aren’t bringing in referrals often, then maybe you aren’t using your network to its full potential. “Referrals build a seller's trustworthiness and credibility; two cornerstones of effective selling,” writes RAIN Group’s Mary Flaherty. “While most professionals recognize this, they don't know how to tap into their networks to proactively generate sales referrals.” She goes on to highlight different ways that reps can easily earn more business through people they know.
But, before starting, make sure you’re doing the following:
Be referable. This means deliver on what you promise, when you promise, it, and basically, be a good salesperson. Offer a product or service, and a professional relationship, that your clients would feel good about sharing.
Don’t just rely on “accidental” referrals. By this, Flaherty means reps should be selective when it comes to referrals. Simply waiting around for random referrals won’t do much good. “It's important to get clear on who you want to attract as clients and how your network can help you get referrals to those clients,” she explains. Remember: You want leads that would be a good fit. Otherwise, it’s a waste of everyone’s time.
Don’t wait until the pipeline is dry. It’s not a good business practice to only seek referrals when your lead list is spent. Put something in place now, so you don't have to desperately scramble later.
Now, it’s time to start setting up a referral strategy. Flaherty shares 15 “tactical tips” for increasing referrals, and below are just a couple from her list:
- Provide valuable (and shareable content). Whether it’s a LinkedIn post, a lunch conference, or an update on industry trends, pass it along. If it’s truly valuable, it will be something that your clients want to share with others, opening the door to a conversation with others about you and your business.
- Make clients aware of all you have to offer. While a client may only use one product or service, make sure he or she knows about everything your company can provide. As she points out, “too often sellers assume their clients know more about them than they do.” Educate current clients so that if someone in their network is in need, your array of offerings will be top of mind.
These two, and her other tips, can be effective ways to kick your referrals strategy into gear. The fourth quarter is upon us, so it’s the perfect time to establish a healthy pipeline before the year ends.