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Get Proactive About Referrals By Kendra Lee


Once you’ve set up a Referral Rewards Program, the next step is to get proactive and make asking for referrals a part of your sales and account management processes. This way you aren’t waiting for clients to think of you to offer them up.

With a good process in place, you create a steady stream of referral prospects while letting your customers know how important referrals are to you.

You can enlist everyone in your organization who works with your clients to ask for referrals. There are only two things that hold them back today:

1. Awareness of how important it is
2. Fear of rejection

Creating a referral gathering process can address both. To set up your process consider the following.

Create a profile of who to ask. Asking for referrals can be scary. It’s another opportunity for rejection. Perhaps your client isn’t as happy as you thought or may not want to disclose names. With this in mind, you want to be sure you’re asking people with whom you have the best potential for success.

Create a profile of the characteristics of the ideal client to ask, such as they appreciate your recommendations on how to use IT more effectively across their business. This helps everyone on your team envision who they’re asking.

Identify four perfect points to ask. Knowing who to ask is only one piece of successful referral gathering. There are points in your sales and account management process that are natural opportunities to ask for referrals. Clients are happy. Discussions are valuable. They’ll be more than willing to recommend people for you to speak with. Determine which four are your best and integrate them into your processes.

Create additional natural opportunities for asking. Clearly you don’t want to ask for referrals every time you see a client or prospect. For most people that’s uncomfortable. If you want to extend beyond the four points in your sales and account management process, create some other genuine circumstances to ask, such as quarterly business reviews or project close-out meetings.

Provide the words to use to ask, then train people to use them. Teach your team how to frame their referral request, including how to transition from the topic at hand to the question. It doesn’t need to be a half-day training. Use an hour at a company meeting or your Monday morning meeting. The goal is to make people comfortable with asking for referrals. The quickest way to do that is to practice together.

Measure referrals. Not only will this validate that your process is working, it’ll show your team the impact they’re having on growing the business. Create a lead source code in your CRM and you’ll be able to measure sales results from referrals and even the lifetime value of referrals.

Once you take a proactive approach and make referral gathering part of your sales and account management process your team will get comfortable asking and you’ll have a steady flow of warm prospects. Combine this with your Referral Rewards Program and you have a referral strategy for success!
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Kendra Lee is author of “Selling Against the Goal” and president of KLA Group. Ms. Lee is a frequent speaker at national sales meetings and association events. To find out more about the author, as well as subscribe to her newsletter visit www.klagroup.com or call +1 303.773.1285.

* Key Points: 1. make asking for referrals an ongoing part of your sales and account management process. 2. make it easy for others to give you referrals by “teaching your team how to frame referral requests”.

-Do you have other ideas for getting referrals?

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