Referral selling is all about helping you acquire new customers by utilizing a crucial asset: your past and existing customers. It also attacks a serious problem faced by sales professionals: a lack of trust. It creates credence in your ability to deliver results, since the reference is coming from a confident place.
Understanding referral selling is the first step. Next, you must determine who to target.
Identify the perfect customer
Whenever I send a proposal to a prospect, I already know that this company would be a great partner. In the world of referral sales, it is crucial to have a deep understanding of your clients. This understanding will allow you to make an accurate decision as to whether or not a client is the right fit for your company. Taking on a client that doesn’t fit your mold can be as bad for you as it is for your client. Not only will this lead to potential customer dissatisfaction, but the time and effort that you are putting into this client may detract from other clients and lead to their discontent as well. Dissatisfied customers are the bane of referral sales.
Clearly understand your customer
A clear understanding of your client is crucial to providing them with exactly what they want. This not only applies while they’re your client, but before and after they’re your client. This makes them much more likely to partner with you (as well as offer referrals) because they will remember that you always went above and beyond. Here are some sample questions to ask:
- Can you tell me more about your job?
- What are your responsibilities?
- What is your past experience with our type of offering?
- Can you talk me through your website and your website goals?
Condense their answers into a bulleted format and share it with them. Explain to the prospect that this is what the situation looks like based off of the conversation. Use their answers to lead them in the right direction. Make sure they’re on board. Let them tell you that you’re a complete idiot if you didn’t listen correctly. Put the pieces of the puzzle together with your prospect.
Create a custom proposal
After the consultation with the prospect, and gaining a comprehensive understanding of their needs, you can move to the proposal stage. This is where you can impress your prospective client by providing them with what they want before you’re even been in business together.
Customize each and every proposal to each and every prospective client. At Likeable Advertising, if we’re proposing banner ads, we actually get our Creative Director to understand the prospect and create sample ads. Now you’ve already done work for the prospect, and you’ve provided them with something personalized and tangible. On top of all that, you’ve done it for free. This shows that you’re adding value to your brand regardless of if they decide to launch a campaign or not. This helps the prospect visualize your offering as well as experience what it’s like to work together, and they haven’t paid you a single dollar. Now you will stand out from the myriad companies that send cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all proposals.
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