Even if you have the absolute best product or service in your category, you may have some tough time making a presentation or closing a sale with someone who does not know you. With the proliferation of scams and pyramid schemes, you are bound to hit some brick walls.
Let’s face it: we trust people we know. If your prospect doesn’t know you chances are that prospect will erect all sorts of barriers for you from “I am busy today,” or “I am not interested” (uncaring about what it is that you are offering!), to the brusque “Get out of my store!” While you may still be able to win their account, you will have to work double time to get their attention and earn their trust and business.
Think it is hard? Of course! Sales is never an easy process. It is a never-ending challenge.
Good thing, though, there are alternatives: Referrals.
Referrals are very effective means of getting new customers, confidently. It allows you easier access to the decision maker. The magic words, “I was referred to you by so-and-so who believes that you need my product” could easily open doors. Second, these leads are already pre-qualified the referrer knows that the people they referred you to has need or would benefit from your product or service. Third, people trust their friend’s or family’s recommendation: “If my friend recommends you to me, then you must be good!”
How do you get referrals? Well, ask for it! Don’t wait for your customer to volunteer that this so-and-so friend would welcome your offer. Here are some of the ways other home businesses do that:
1. Start with your customers.
Call customers and tell them you are expanding your business. Ask them for the names of specific people you could call in their organization.
2. Offer your customers incentive for referrals.
It may be cash, a gift certificate, or a discount on their next bill. Decide on how much you’re going to give, and the conditions for paying referrers. You may give out your incentive only when those referrals actually become customers.
3. If your customers are businesses
If your customers are businesses themselves, create an arrangement whereby you give them a discount if they include your literature in their regular mailings to their own customers. By offering a few percent off your regular price, you get a direct mailing campaign for free.
4. If you are using sales agents or telemarketers
If you are selling through sales agents or telemarketers, you can give them an added incentive to market your product. An extra $5 per sale could entice them to offer your product to as many customers as they can.
5. Even a non-buyer can still give you referrals!
If your prospect is presently not interested in your offering, ask him or her to refer you to other people who may be interested in your product or service. Who knows, if they are impressed enough with you, they just might give you good referrals.
6. Make it easy for people to refer you.
If a client can’t think of a person who may need your product at the moment, provide him or her with your marketing materials such as brochures, business cards with your complete contact information.
7. When you receive a referral, contact them immediately!
If you delay your offer and the person needs the product or service now, he or she may turn instead to your competitor.
8. Thank people who referred clients to you!
Aside from the cash, discount or gift incentives, send them a personalized note expressing your appreciation for the business that you got from their referrals. It will show people that you value their input, and may even push them to give you more referrals!
As a home-based entrepreneur, you need to give utmost importance to collecting referrals from your current clients. Never let a present client go without asking them for suggestions on who else in their circle of friends or colleagues could benefit from your offerings.
The key to getting referrals is by providing top-notch products and service before, during and after the sale. Remember, only the most satisfied clients are the ones most likely to offer referrals. Keep building good relationships and hone your business networking skills.
Recommended Books on Getting Referrals:
- The Referral Engine: Teaching Your Business to Market Itself
- Fearless Referrals: Boost Your Confidence, Break Down Doors, and Build a Powerful Client List
- Million Dollar Referrals: The Secrets to Building a Perpetual Client List to Generate a Seven-Figure Income
- Get More Referrals Now!
- Business by Referral : A Sure-Fire Way to Generate New Business
- How to Attract New Business on a Shoestring Budget
- How to Triple Your Referrals
- How to Market a Service Business
- 5 Biggest Business Networking Mistakes – and How to Avoid Them
- How to Successfully Start and Run a Service Business