The Customer Referral: 7 Mistakes Sales People Make

Courtney Hart
Courtney Hart
In Sales
Courtney Hart is the Marketing Campaigns Manager at Xactly. She earned her Bachelor of Science from California Polytechnic State University: San Luis Obispo.

You did it. You nailed the sale, your customer is happy and everyone is ready to get off the phone. But what about that customer referral?

Many sales people will tell you that customer referrals are the best prospecting tool. While that may be true, many people are failing at snagging a quality referral that will stick and produce another big sale. Becoming a master at getting a quality customer referral takes practice, but there are some rules (and wisdom) to keep you on the straight path and save you some time and energy fighting tooth and nail for referrals.

Are you making these seven mistakes when it comes to referrals?

1. NOT ASKING.

Seems like common sense right? If you want something, ask for it. According to Paul McCord, 70% of sales people don’t ask for a customer referral. Don’t make the assumption that if you ask, they will just say no.

2. ASKING ONLY ONCE.

Congratulations, you’ve solved problem number one. But just asking once isn’t going to cut it. Studies have shown that sales people who ask for a referral twice receive, on average, 2.03 names and numbers, while asking a third time rakes in 3.28 referrals per client. That’s 32 referrals per 10 clients!

3. SUGGESTING INSTEAD OF ASKING. 

Don’t beat around the bush and make it awkward. Just ask for it.

4. WAITING UNTIL THE END. 

Why not get a heads up about how the process is going so far and ask for that customer referral during the call instead of at the end of it? If you wait until the end, the customer is given little to no time to even think about possible referrals and thus gives you nothing.

5. FOCUSING ON YOUR NEEDS INSTEAD OF THE CLIENTS.

“Do you want to help me out and give me a name and number for a customer referral?” Nope. Customers don’t give you referrals because they like you or respect you. They don’t really care about helping you. Don’t make it about you and try and get the pity vote.

6. CALLING THE PREFERRED PROSPECT. 

Wait, what? Naturally, it would make sense to call the prospect after getting the referral right? Wrong. Get a personal introduction from your client and use an avenue such as LinkedIn to make a connection that isn’t just another marketer/client relationship.

7. NOT EARNING THE REFERRAL. 

Bottom line: You need to earn these referrals from clients; they will not just be handed to you like gold stars for effort. Really make a point of reaching out to your client and satisfying their needs. You want to earn quality referrals so make sure that you give your client the motivation to give them.

These are just a couple mistakes that sales people make on a daily basis when it comes to getting the customer referral. What other words of wisdom do you have for prospecting?



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The Customer Referral: 7 Mistakes Sales People Make

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