Getting started in sales, or increasing your success once you’ve established yourself, can be a very challenging task. One of the hardest parts of this process is securing leads. What’s even harder is ensuring those leads are qualified.
To grow as a salesperson, mastering this aspect of your career is key. Below I have identified three ways to get qualified referrals. Incorporating these simple tips will help you step up your referral game and uncover a path to new levels of success.
1. Set the expectation.
The only way you can expect to gain referrals from client meetings on a regular basis is if you form the habit of doing so. Each time you meet with a client – on the phone or in person – mention that you get compensated in one of two ways; one – through the salary that you are paid, and two – through referrals. You grow your business by word of mouth and each client you meet with is a catalyst to meet other great people who may be interested in what you’re selling. Set the expectation that every time you meet with your client (or prospect), you’re going to ask who they know that you can be put in contact with.
This process is uncomfortable for a lot of new salespeople, but the sooner you realize that you’re asking to be introduced to more people that you can provide value to, the easier this will become. The first time you broach this subject with your client, you may feel a bit of anxiety, but your clients will begin to expect “the ask,” and they may even start providing you referrals without asking.
2. Provide referrals yourself.
Referrals don’t have to be a one-way street.
As a seller, you’re going to meet a wide variety of individuals, in many different industries. If you’re asking clients and prospects to refer you to new leads, there’s no reason you can’t return the favor. Not only does this provide more value to your clients, but it shows that you’re not just taking from those you work with. By showing an interest in their business, you’re demonstrating to your clients that you’re engaged and willing to help. This tactic also greases the wheels for receiving referrals. If you enter into an arrangement where you’re sharing names with one another, there’s often less hesitancy, than if it were a one-sided situation.
3. Prospect Up.
This isn’t as much of a tip on ‘what’ to do, as it is ‘how’ to do it. As you continue to grow your business, your client base will grow with you. If that progression isn’t fast enough, you’ll need to find clients who are more established. The way to do this? Prospect up.
Don’t be afraid to ask for names of very successful people, such as business owners, lawyers, government officials, and IT professionals – or whoever you think your ideal client may be. While it will shift from person to person, there’s a good rule for those that work in sales. A salesman will be as successful as his average client. Use that logic when asking your existing clients for referrals.
Gaining referrals isn’t easy for anyone, but it’s an integral part of any sellers’ career. By setting expectations, playing your part, and prospecting up, you’re sure to see more success in your pursuit of new leads.