The number one question I get from sales leaders: how do I get my sellers to ask for more referrals?
Sellers are notoriously bad at asking for referrals in a business-to-business environment because it makes them sound needy, helpless, or desperate.
How do we rectify this fearful mindset?
Start by seeking referrals internal to the customers you are already doing business with. This is because there is a sense of familiarity that will make them more receptive and comfortable to your referral requests. 99% of the time, when you ask for an introduction to someone in a different division, different market, a sister company, or a parent company, you are going to get a yes because you have an established professional relationship with them.
Utilize a chart to identify who in your company you think is a good fit for additional products and services. Strategically ask yourself a number of questions. Is it a different team—customer service, operations, or marketing? Is it a different country—the United States, Japan, or Canada? Is it a different division—aerospace, oil and gas, or healthcare division?
LinkedIn is the easiest tool to get the names of the people who are likely your buyers. Once you have identified those names, directly approach your client and ask them strategically if they can help you with an introduction. You are 99% likely to get a yes.
The Next Step?
Once you’ve gone through these internal referrals and are able to get introductions and win business, you will build confidence to ask for outside referrals. Ask if they can give you the names or offer introductions to their suppliers and customers.
Once you’ve mastered that, it will be easier for you and your sales reps to ask for referrals to other people you don’t know.
Colleen Francis is President of Engage Selling. Connect with Colleen for more leading edge sales strategies: firstname.lastname@example.org