Our topic this month, for the newsletter and blog, is Customer Relationship—the 8th “C” of the SELLability 8 Cs. And in case you did not know, there is a very important relationship between the customer relationship and referrals.
Just a Name…or a Referral?
It can happen that, when you have closed a sale, you then ask, “Who do you know that should be using our product or service?” Your new customer then provides one or more names and contact information.
What do you now have? Well, you have just got a name. Sure, when you call them, you can “drop” the name of your customer. But it’s only a little better than a cold call—they still don’t know you and don’t even know if you really made a sale to the person who referred you unless they hear it from them. And on top of that, they do not know if your customer is a happy customer.
A true referral, if it is really going to carry some weight, must include an introduction. Your new customer needs to send an email or call up the person they are referring you to and introduce you. They can mention they have just purchased your product or service and are very happy with it. Then you will be able to contact the referral and get somewhere.
Now, taking a step back, what is going to cause that new customer to refer you so enthusiastically?
It is the customer relationship. The lifetime revenue that can be realized from a happy customer is phenomenal, not only in relation to return-on-investment but also referrals.
The customer relationship rests heavily on the transition from you to your delivery team, with all details, which must be done after the close. This is done so that the delivery exceeds the expectations you have communicated all throughout the sales process. That is the only way you are going to get great referrals from that customer.
Power of Referrals
Forging and maintaining a strong customer relationship with each and every customer makes for a successful sales team and successful company. Too few happy clients lead to too few referral opportunities—and the reverse is also true. The great salesperson makes a great living from referrals, and referrals come from great delivery. Great delivery is the foundation of the customer relationship.
The successful salesperson never misses an opportunity to win referrals at the right time. Their current and past clients are loyal to a fault, and always help to drive new business.
If you have not done so, you should develop a regular referrals program in your company that continuously takes the necessary care to get referrals and acknowledges the clients who provide them. This “machine” can be a continuous generation system so that there is never a shortage of referrals.
Once you get a referral, you must ensure to maintain a high level of service you have with all your customers. A referral is usually a colleague or friend of your client, and you are now entrusted by your client to handle their friend or colleague in a manner that validates the fact that they recommended you and your company.
Do your homework. Find out all you can about the referral and their company, including asking your client why they feel this referral would be a good fit. You should have a very good understanding of the referral before you make contact.
Contact the referral immediately. We’ve been told countless times by companies we were consulting that they “didn’t have enough prospects.” The first thing we do is look for referrals that were never called. Not contacting them will shut down the number of referrals you are getting. So, once you have done your homework, contact that referral.
Use good manners. Remember that you are not only representing yourself and your company but your client and their company as well.
Establish trust and communication. Before moving to the sales appointment, establish solid communication and trust. Do this before getting into a discussion about your products or services.
Keep your client informed. Let your client know how it is going with the referral they gave you. It’s important to the client that the referral is well taken care of.
Acknowledge your client. At the very least, saying “thank you” for the client’s help with a referral is especially important and goes a long way toward obtaining additional referrals in the future.
Start the cycle again. Once you have taken care of the referral well and established them as a new client, ask for referrals from them. The process then begins all over again.
There is much more to learn about customer relationships and referrals! Sign up today at SELLability.com.