I recently spoke at an OJC event in Lakewood, and we discussed some concrete steps you can take to turn your customers into sales reps.
You can spend your entire career hunting new customers and chasing leads, or you can be a farmer and develop a stable of customers that send you business. The choice is up to you.
The first step to becoming a customer farmer is to know who your customers are. Make sure you have a list, it can be on paper, a CRM, or a spreadsheet but you must have a usable record of your customers so you can actually contact them and ask them to act on your behalf, track their behavior and anticipate their needs.
The second step is really understanding your customers, make it a habit to ask some variation of these questions that make sense in the context of your business.
Why did you buy it?
Why did you buy it from me?
Once you have customer data, it's time to get referrals. But it isn't easy.
There are several obstacles to getting referrals, and there is something you can do to make it much easier to get references.
1. You may be reluctant to ask for referrals because you are not a "salesperson", you don't want to "bother" your clients, or you are afraid to ask and get rejected.
Zig Ziglar the famous motivational speaker says,
"If you believe your product or service can fulfill a true need, it's your moral obligation to sell it."
When you ask for referrals, you are doing your clients a favor, you are helping them, their family and colleagues, experience the true value that YOU offer!
Your mindset should be, "I am not a salesperson, I am a helpful person", if you get rejected that is on them, not on you.
2. You don't get referrals because you are don't make it easy for clients to refer you.
Many people do ask for referrals in the most general sense "Please refer me to anyone you know."
That is not a clear call to action that an average customer can respond to.
You need to be more specific when asking for referrals. Based on the data you know about your existing customers, you can make your referral ask more specific. For example, if you are landscaper, ask your customer, "Do you know anyone with a huge backyard?"
If they say yes, then ask to be referred to that person. Make it easy.
3. Treat your existing customers with respect and build affinity.
This common-sense tactic is often neglected. You show up, and you provide a good or service and then -poof -the relationship is over.
At the very least, if you are going to have a limited relationship with your customer, make sure you show up on time, answer questions promptly, empathize with complaints, and deliver as promised. Essentially make sure you are doing your job well.
If you want to take things to the next level, analyze your interaction with your customers, and look for ways to build loyalty. Give something extra, send regular emails celebrating shared holidays, include a handwritten note with delivery. Your options for going above and beyond are limitless, and many of these do not cost money.
4.Bake referrals into your process.
If you have to remember to ask for a referral, you probably won't do it as often as you can. So build it into your sales process.
Set referral expectations.
For example, when starting on a project, tell your customers how you keep your prices low by relying on referrals, and you hope they will help you keep things that way by referring you.
Another option is to include a targeted request to refer you in your invoice.
Each business will have its way to do this, find yours, and start getting those valuable referrals.
If you want to book a free 1-on-1 session click on this link