At the Sales Hacker Conference in Boston, Emmanuelle Skala, VP of Sales at Influitive shared that 24% of her company’s sales come from referrals.
“The reality is the world has changed. Salespeople are no longer the drivers of the sales conversations. The customer is in control,” says Skala. Skala continued to say that 65% of the sales process has happened before the salesperson is even involved. What do you do about it? According to Skala, let it go. “You don’t have control so there’s no point in fighting it. Embrace the new reality and embrace the concept of letting your customers sell for you,” says Skala, “If you do this, then the majority of your sales can be made from referrals.” For Influitive, the sales process is focused around the customer and their referrals, known as “Surround Selling”. Skala says it’s all about letting the customer surround the company, instead of the other way around. Their three-step process to achieve Surround Selling success includes:
Connect > Educate > Delight
Build your network and connect with customers via social selling. Social selling is table stakes. Social profiles for all of your sales reps should be updated and strong. Your reps should be actively involved in forums and engaging regularly. Get advocates to review you and your team members. Connect with your customers on LinkedIn. Be a matchmaker with your prospects and customers. Introduce people to each other to help them. It’s not about selling. “Be a matchmaker, not a stalker,” says Skala.
With customers doing more research now than ever before, make sure you provide them with the tools and information they need to make the right call. Share your product’s reviews, blogs, and forums that live on and off your website. If you sell software, make sure your product is reviewed on sites like G2 Crowd. Rethink references so that you’re able to share content that educated prospects.
“Give your customers the world’s best sales experience,” Skala shares. If your customers have a good experience with you, they are more likely to stay and give a referral. Skala recommends gifts. “After you close the deal, send the customer a book on their topic of interest. Listen to them during your conversations to uncover this information. Are they about to take a trip? Send them a book about their destination. After they’ve had a great sales experience, make sure the hand off is just as high caliber during the post-sales hand off.
The post sales experience is probably the most important area to focus since, according to Skala, referrals often come into play during this stage. Before stepping off the stage, Skala offered three hacks to get your sales referral process in motion.
1. Ask for it.
It is that simple. In order to get a referral, you have to ask. Of course, that doesn’t always result in a yes, so Skala recommended a few hacks to turn it into a win. In knowing your customer and their location, job history, etc., tap into the best opportunities that work for you. For instance, did they work for a company previously that is a company of interest to you? Ask for an introduction. Do they work in a city where your prospective customers reside? Ask for an introduction.
2. Tap into the honeymoon period.
Check back and touch with the customer a week to 30 days after you land the deal. This is when they are most happy and excited about the product. They’re likely to talk during this point and say yes to your referral request.
3. Find the connections.
Find the new customer’s relevant connections on LinkedIn and ask hem for connections. The bottom line is if you make the referral process fun, easy and rewarding to the customer, it will be tough for them to say no.
Get more referral sales tips with the free RingLead ebook below.