Who are the very best new customers you get? Who is
most likely to buy from you and continue being a good customer in the
future? Isn't it a prospective customer who was referred to you by another
customer who is an advocate for your business?
Referrals are the best prospective customers because
they have already developed some trust for you and your company. Their
defenses are down, and their minds and hearts are open. These are the ideal
conditions for doing business.
The most expensive customers to get are those in the
"cold market," through advertising or other promotional activities. Yet
that's where most of the marketing effort for companies seems to go. You can
market much more effectively by devoting more of your organization's time
and resources to developing referrals.
You can encourage your customers to give you more
1. You must deserve referrals. You have to
deliver the products and awesome service that people can't help talking
2. You must ask for referrals. At the end of
every sales interview, whether you make a sale or not, you must ask for
referrals. When you make a sale, you have only completed one-half of your
mission. The other half is to get referrals. Don't leave the job half done.
To encourage the customer to make referrals, help him isolate people in his
or her mind: Is there a business associate, like him or her, who you can
talk to? A customer? A supplier? Is there a golf buddy? Listen for names
that come up during your conversation.
Script a brief profile or description of what you are
looking for in a prospective customer. Trigger the customer's mental search
with the question, "Who do you know who... (give profile)? If he or she was
here, right now, you wouldn't hesitate to introduce us, would you? That's
all I'm asking you to do."
If the customer hesitates to give a name, Frank
Bettger came up with this strategy. "That's all right, Mr. Wright. I think I
understand how you feel. Give me the name of someone you know, under fifty,
who is making money. I promise you I'll never mention your name." "Mr.
Wright, my name is Bettger. I'm in the life insurance business. A mutual
friend gave me your name with the understanding that I wouldn't mention his
name. He told me that you have been very successful, and that you would be a
good man for me to talk to. Could you spare five minutes now, or would you
rather I stop by some other time?"
The prospective customers never asked who made the
referral, and some of these people were Frank's best leads. (Bettger, How
I Multiplied My Income & Happiness In Selling.)
Part of our introductory procedure for new clients is
to review a list of "Our Commitments To Each Other." The final client
commitment is: "You will consider referring to us at least two other
business persons whom you believe would benefit from an association from
us." The expectation of providing referrals is planted at the beginning of
3. Show appreciation. This is the real key to
continuing receiving leads from a customer and cultivating him or her as a
center of influence. Thank the customer for making the referral. Write a
thank-you note. Call the customer with a report of the results of your
interview. Make a big, appreciative fuss about the wonderful thing your
customer has done. Give thank-you gifts in appreciation: send flowers, take
him or her out to dinner, or give tickets to a show or athletic event.
What is appropriate considering the lifetime value of
a customer for your business? Many people build their businesses with
customer appreciation events. For example, marketing guru Dan Kennedy knows
a chiropractor who has a monthly patient appreciation luncheon where
he gives jeweled appreciation pins to patients who made referrals that
month. There are different "levels" indicated by different jewels. Shades of
Amway and Mary Kay! Patients are invited to bring family members to the
luncheon to see them receive their award, which is given with an
appreciative hug by the chiropractor. Photographs of the luncheons are
posted in the reception room.
If this were your chiropractor, would you want to make
How can you use this extremely powerful idea to build
If you use salespeople in your business, do you train
them in how to get referrals from customers?
Do you maintain a file of all customers who buy your
products for follow up promotions encouraging referrals?
We can work with you to help build strong referrals
for your business.
Questions or Comments:
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