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Sales Training: How to Create an Ocean of Referrals! By Mark Bowser

How do you increase sales? Your loyal, happy customers are your best source of new customers.

Best Selling Author Robert G. Allen said, “If you’ll treat your customer like a star, you’ll never have to spend another dime in advertising.” He could not be more right. So, how do you treat your customers as stars?

Mark Victor Hansen, who is the co-creator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series of books which has sold more than 100 million books and is the most successful book series in the history of the world, tells the story of a dentist who discovered how to treat his patients as stars.

Australian dentist Dr. Patti Lund is the highest paid dentist in the world. But, not so long ago, it wasn’t that way. Patti was very, very depressed. He was working like a dog, he had 4,000 patients and life wasn’t much fun. In fact, he didn’t even like a good deal of his patients. They got on his nerves.

Patti took some time off and began reflecting on his life and his practice. He decided that life was too short to be living it this way. He decided that he wasn’t going to except any patient that came in the door. He knew he needed to like and respect his patients and they needed to like and respect him.

When Patti got back to work, he changed how business was done. First of all, he was going to treat his patients as friends. He began calling them by their first names and they began calling him Patti. No more this Dr. Lund stuff. He hired a Director of Wonderful whose entire job was to greet patients as they entered the practice and to make sure they had a wonderful experience.

Four times a day, fresh, hot cinnamon roles would be rolled out for the patients who were waiting. If they liked them, they could even take them home. A $7,000 Cappuccino machine sat ready and willing to refresh the patients with a warm, relaxing drink.

Once a month, Patti hosted a party where all his patients (friends) could get together and network with each other. Business as usual? Oh no, business changed dramatically. Patti loves his patients and they love him too. He asks each of his patients to bring him three new patients a year who would love the same experience that they have at the dentist.

Do you think his patients have a problem doing this for Patti? No, they want to help. In fact, they love him so much, you couldn’t tape their mouths shut. Patti now has a waiting list to get into his practice. Oh, and by the way, Patti only works 22 hours a week. You see, he owns the practice. The practice doesn’t own him.

You can have the same type of business as Patti Lund. How can you treat your customers as stars? It doesn’t have to be cinnamon roles, a cappuccino machine, or a Director of Wonderful. That works for Patti. That may not work for you. What do you want? And more importantly, what does your customer want? Your best source of new customer comes from your happy, loyal customers.

In his Success Mastery Academy audio tapes, Brian Tracy teaches a four step model for creating a “Golden Chain” of referrals. A Golden Chain is one where one referral leads to another referral, and another, and another, and another, etc…

1. Ask your customer if they know two or three people who they think would benefit and be interested in your products and services.

When you ask them for two or three they undoubtedly will choose two. That is why you ask for two or three. If you ask for one or two, they most likely will give you only one. Well, you might be saying, “Then why don’t I ask for just three, or how about four?” The reason why is that it is very intimidating. Two or three puts them at ease.

2. Ask your customer if they would happen to have their telephone number. Most people will refer you to someone they like, and most likely they will have their telephone number handy.

3. Ask your customer which of these referrals they would suggest you contact first. (They will pick one)

4. Ask your customer, if they would call him/her and let them know that you will be in touch with them.

That is a four step process and it might make you a little uncomfortable for a while, but it can double your sales and business in a very short time. After you have contacted the person you were referred to, call back the person who gave you the referral. Thank them for the referral. Send them flowers, give them a gift, do something nice for them. Show them how much you appreciate them and for giving you the referral. Also, say to them, “If you know anyone else who would be interested, then I would love to talk with them too.” A “Golden Chain” of referrals. It takes a little discipline and a lot of courage but it will change business as usual. Give it a try. What do you have to lose?

I would now like to invite you to receive my seminar “The Keys to Empowered Leadership” on MP3 download FREE when you sign up for our Free Take Action Sales Newsletter. You can register at TakeActionSales.com.
Mark Bowser is one of the top Sales Trainers and Speakers in the world today. He is the author of three books Power Nuggets, Unlocking the Champion Within, and Three Pillars of Success. You can visit him at www.MarkBowser.com.

-What are some ways you’ve found particularly effective for generating referrals?

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