Tag Archives: referrals

The True Worth of a Customer – (13 Traits That Might Surprise You)

Have you ever stopped to wonder about the TRUE worth of a customer? I’m talking about the ‘bigger picture.’  I am talking about beyond the initial dollars and cents. What else is a customer worth to you?

The point is, a good customer is worth more than we might realize, more than what we see on the table.  And if we’re more aware of the total sum value of a client, then maybe we’ll do more; maybe we’ll be more conscientious; maybe we’ll try harder, respond quicker, create more value.  Maybe it will give us a whole new look at getting and keeping clients.

I recently posed these questions to a group of telephone sales reps that I trained in Florida and here’s what they came up with:

1.      A Sale

Okay, this is rather obvious – no surprise here – but certainly extremely important.  A customer means a sale. It means revenues.  It means success.  We like this.

2.      Subsequent Sales

A customer should not be seen as a one-time transaction. There could and should be subsequent sales.  Gurus will refer to it as the “life time value” of a client i.e., the total dollars the customer generates over the length of the relationship.  Look after your client well and this could be significant. Again, this should not be a big surprise to anyone in sales.

3.     A Pay Check

Someone in the class cleverly pointed this out with reference to commissions or bonuses.  A customer can be a source of income for you.

4.     Referrals and Leads

Customers could mean referrals … if you ask. Both internally in their own organization or externally with associates, friends and peers. You know this and I know this: referrals close faster and at a higher rate.  And as Martha Stewart might say, “And that’s a good thing.” But, you need to ask…

5.    Testimonials

Here’s something that is not often perceived much less leveraged by the average sales rep.  A customer could be a testimonial. Testimonials refer to a customer ‘testifying’ that your products or service helped them solve a problem and/or achieve superb results.  They tend to be more detailed and hence more credible. They’re wonderful things to have on websites, blogs, and other marketing material.  They’re worth a lot.

6.    Friendship

Here’s an interesting perspective.  Several reps surveyed pointed out they’ve developed friendships with certain clients.  Priceless.

7.      Quotes

Quotes are like testimonials but usually they are brief and often more general in their praise or remarks. Nevertheless, they build credibility in your company, your products and you.   Quotes help you sell more because they create confidence in other prospects you might be targeting.

8.      Job Security

Initially, this was quip by one of the trainees but as we discussed it, we decided it has merit. In fact, it has a lot of merit.  The more customers you have the greater your job security.  Can’t argue with that one.

9.      A Job Offer

Inevitably, after we talked about job security someone called out “a future job.”  In other words, your customer might like you and your efforts so much that he/she might offer you a position.  Of course,  your current boss may not be too pleased with that, but it’s something for you to consider.

10.      A Mentor/Coach

This is a heck of concept.  Some of your customers, if managed and groomed well, evolve into mentors or coaches.  This means they go above and beyond their typical role and help you by giving advice, directing your efforts, suggesting strategies.  There’s nothing it in for them. They are helping you for their own good reasons.  You cannot place a value or worth on a mentor or coach.

11.     “Lab Rat”

I loved this one.  A couple of the reps explained that they had clients who were willing test some products and give feedback.  They were willing to measure results and candidly share their impressions.  In effect, they were providing market intelligence that could be used in further selling efforts.  Powerful stuff.

12.     A Reference

A reference is sort of like a referral.  A reference is someone who will give you or your company or your product a rave review.  They’ll field a call for you from one of your prospects. Some will even go so far as to pick up the phone and call the prospect before the prospect calls them.  How much is that worth to you?

13.      Future Sales at a Future Company

Some customers leave their current employer. They go elsewhere. They often “take you with them.”  In other words, they liked you or your company so much that they continue the relationship.  Nice!

What is a Customer Worth to You?                                    

Okay … your turn: what is a customer worth to you?  What other values do they have to offer?  Do you have something we missed?  List them below and let’s see what we come up with.

In the meantime, start looking at your customers differently. They’re worth a lot more than you think.  So groom them. Nurture them. Don’t take them for granted. Scratch the surface and  leverage that value.

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Controlling Your Sales Destiny – Tip #6: Work Smarter

This is the sixth in a series of posts about taking control of your sales destiny and  achieving sales success.

Tip #6: Work Smarter

As much as working harder (Tip #5) is a good idea, I have seen hard workers fail.  Working hard can translate into flailing about and working hard on the wrong things.  Temper working harder with working smarter.  Working smarter means doing the right things to help you achieve your sales destiny.  Here are three action items you can implement.

Action #1: Implement these Smart Tip Ideas

  • Actively cross sell – find appropriate products and mention them to clients and prospects to increase the average value of a sale
  • Actively up sell – where appropriate, increase the value of the sale by up selling on quantity or recommending an upgrade on the quality of a product
  • Actively ask for referrals – please do this! You’ll sell more at a higher rate in less time.
  • Actively attempt to reactivate inactive accounts – it’s usually easier and faster than cold calling
  • Send thank you cards to existing clients
  • Call clients earlier in the morning when the odds of reaching them are greater

Action #2: Get Back to Basics

Over time, even the very best of sales reps experiences the ‘whittle effect.’  This is the tendency to cut, trim and slices away standards skills and techniques.  For example, your consultative opening statements get whittled to a quick 18-second pitch, or you begin to cut back on your qualifying questions until they no longer exist, or you stop asking for the sale and assume the prospect will say yes.

Vince Lombardi, the famous Green Bay Packer coach, used to begin training season practice sessions by raising a football in his hands and say, “Gentlemen, this is a football.”  He used this to get back basics: tackling and blocking.  He did this because he knew how easy it was to cut corners.

Review you skills and techniques.  Record and listen to your calls. Ask your manager to review your approach. Determine if you’ve whittled anything away.  Fix it.

Action #3: Learn More

Over the last couple of years I have been surveying telephone reps and asking them how many had bought a book on selling.  To date, of the 486 reps surveyed, 9 have purchased a book on selling. There’s no typo here.  Nine. That’s less than 2%. And while the majority of those asked said they did subscribe to selling e-newsletters less than 15% said they actually read them.

How can you control your sales destiny if you do not develop and nurture your selling mind?  A third (more or less) of your day is spent selling.  Should you not devote a little time to developing that which will make you more successful, more effective?

(Obviously, if you are reading this, you are one of the few who take your sales destiny seriously. Congratulations)

Summary

Start working smarter.  It’s not that hard to do and it pays dividends to your sales, your income and your career

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The Most Dangerous Part of the Selling Process

The most dangerous part of the sales process is AFTER a sale has occurred, not before.

It is the ‘post sale’  where the relationship can be most vulnerable. The ‘danger’ occurs after all the hard works and effort and after your client has said “yes.” Up to this time, the sales rep has courted the buyer:  communicated with them, wooed them with attention and made them feel good and special about entire selling process.  Everyone is happy.

Many sales reps see their job as complete at this point. They pass the ball off to someone else – shipping, accounting …whoever. It’s not.  After the sale has been made, at some level – conscious or subconscious – the buyer expects some sort of acknowledgement from the seller.  Maybe it’s a telephone call with a word of thanks or perhaps it’s a thank you card or possibly a gracious e-mail; something, anything. It doesn’t take much.

I was reminded of this not long ago when we sold some property.  It took some time and effort; the negotiations were complex but the place finally sold.  The agent did his job – no question about it- and he got a nice chunk of change for his effort (which I don’t begrudge in the least). However, what I did begrudge was the post-sale silent treatment.  We did not hear a single, solitary word from the agent. Not a card, not a letter, not an e-mail and not a call. Nothing. Nadda. Zippo.  He literally took the money and ran… or at least, that’s how it felt.

Revenge is a Dish Best Served Cold

While it was a bit of disappointment for me, it’s a real shame for him.  He burned a bridge.  Perhaps he thought this was the only sale he would ever get from us so grabbed his commission check and took off. But here’s what it will cost him:

-we have some more property to sell … he won’t get the deal, another sale and the commission…

-we have referrals we can give … he won’t get those either…

-we certainly won’t act as a reference … should he ask …

-we could certainly tell others of the experience … like I am doing now

It doesn’t matter if you’re in B2C or B2B marketplace, acknowledge your client when you make a sale. Big or small, provide them with thanks.  It’s a right thing do.  Not only is it common courtesy, it impacts the relationship

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What to Do If You Hate Cold Calls

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Felix hates cold calls.

In fact, he despises them. He won’t make them And yet he is one of the top sales reps in his company. Felix Menendez will only make warm calls and he closes over FIFTY percent of those he makes!

His secret?

Referrals.

Felix Menendez gets referrals from his existing clients whenever and wherever he can. This post  will look at the “Menendez Method” of referral selling. It’s a good one, so pay heed.

Why the Big Deal?

Why the big deal about referrals?  Because in business to business selling, referrals will close at 40%, 50%…heck, even at a 100%. This is not hyperbole. This is a fact.  Referrals close faster and easier than any other single approach in the selling world.

Of course, it makes sense, doesn’t it?  When a customer supplies you with a referral your job is made easier for two reasons. First, when you call the referral you have the common ground of the person who gave you the name.  It is not a cold call. You have a pre-text for calling and typically, the referral listens closely to what you have to say.  That’s half the battle.

Second, and perhaps more importantly, there is the explicit or implied endorsement of you, your company and your product/service by the person who made the referral. This endorsement creates an element of trust almost immediately. The referral, if he or she desires, can ‘check’ up on you.

Why Reps Avoid Referral Selling

But the fact of the matter remains that many, if not most, sales reps avoid this veritable gold mine of leads. There are two reasons for this:

1. They fear it is too pushy or aggressive.

Unfortunately, many reps think customers won’t like them if they ask for a referral.  Bull.  If the sales rep has done a good job in selling the product and the client has derived  positive benefits from it, the rep has “deposited” a degree of trust and satisfaction in their relationship.  This is powerful equity. Use that equity. Leverage it. Use the goodwill that has been created.

Too pushy? Hey, get over it. For pete’s sake, what’s the worst that could happen? The worst thing that could happen is that the client doesn’t cough up a name. So what?

2. They don’t know how.

This is different. Some reps don’t ask for the sale simply because they don’t know how to go about it.  Let’s take a look at how Felix tackles referrals:

The Menendez Method: How to Ask for a Referral

Over the last few months I have monitored Felix several times and have observed that he uses a simple two-step approach:

1. The Request

The first step is the request. After Felix has taken care of any business issues and has  ensured that the client is completely satisfied with the program, he’ll say:

“Dr. Maynard, I’ve got my manager on my back about getting sales in…you know how they are…and I was wondering if you had a name or two of any doctors who could benefit from the program like you have?”

Then he shuts up and waits.

Felix’s approach is candid. Nothing fancy. It is straight and to the point. He explains exactly what he is asking for and why. His approach is also clever. He references the “benefits” of the program and uses that to remind his client that the request isn’t just beneficial to him (Felix) but to others.  In other words, it is a win, win situation. Clients like that.

2. The Reward

The second step is the “reward.”  After Felix has been given a referral or two he says this:

“Thanks Dr. Maynard. I really appreciate that. Hey, listen, if I convert any of these I’ll be sure to send you a cap or golf shirt. Which would you prefer?”

Interestingly, the reward is held back until a name is given. In other words, he doesn’t use it as a  “bribe” up front to solicit a referral. That’s cheesy. He uses the “reward” afterwards to say “Thank you.” That’s classy.

Summary

There is nothing particularly complex about Felix’s approach to referral selling. He has created an effective technique but more importantly, he USES it. And that’s why he’s one of the top sales reps in his company.  Not once in all the times I have monitored his calls has Felix NOT gotten a referral. Not once. So what does that tell you?

If you are not using referral selling you really need to give your head a shake!

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How NOT to Say Thank You

I received an e-mail the other day from the sales rep from whom I bought my new car.

At first glance, I was pleased by the gesture.  I recognized the e-mail address and the subject line said “Thank you” so I opened it up and at that moment the wheels fell off (sorry, couldn’t resist the pun).

The e-mail began,

“James Domanski

I want to thank you … ”

Of course, it was obvious that this was an “insert- name -here” template.  The “James Domanski” instead of “Jim” or “James” or even “Mr. Domanski” was a dead giveaway.  Any warm and fuzzy feeling I might have had went up in smoke.

I mean, how hard is it to simply insert the proper name?

Needless to say, the remainder of the e-mail message was lost on me. It had no value.  It wasn’t a personal note; it was a corporate message.  It was impossible to feel the spirit of the message because it was canned.  I began to wonder, had the rep sold dozens of cars over the last couple of weeks that he was so busy he couldn’t personalize my e-mail.  Probably not. So that leaves only one conclusion: he didn’t really care.

This faux pas has created two residual effects.  First, it sullied the purchase experience.  When I was still in the buying mode I felt special.  Now I feel kind of … ah … used.  Second, I have a survey from the dealership to complete about my experience.  What do you think I ought to say?  How should I rate it? Oh wait, there’s a third effect. It’s called ‘word of mouth.’  I have a few thousand readers who will see this e-mail…

Look, if you’re going to send Thank You notes there are two ways to do so.

The Best Way
  1.        If it’s a high ticket item then go out and BUY some decent thank you cards at a stationary store.
  2.       Handwrite a simple message
  3.       Handwrite the envelope and put a real stamp on it.
  4.      Send it and let it works its magic

This shows your buyer that you took the TIME and the EFFORT to say thank you.  It leaves most recipients with a warm feeling towards you and your product/service. You make them feel special, important, valued, liked, acknowledged and appreciated.  If a customer survey is to be completed, chances are it will be glowing. You might even get a referral or two.  Depending on the nature of the sale, a repeat purchase is not out of the question.

The Second Best Way

Sometimes you don’t have the luxury of sending a card.  Go ahead and use an e-mail as a thank you vehicle.  Personalize it.

  1.    Put the customer’s name in the subject line
  2.    Put “Thank You” in the subject line
  3.   Use the client’s first name or surname in the salutation
  4.  Create your own customized thank you … do not use a template. Make it simple. You don’t need to gush. Don’t try to market anything.  A simple note of thanks is enough.

Alternatively you could search on line for a nice e-thank you card but personalize it as above.  While not as charming as old fashioned thank you cards an e-mail or an e-card at least shows the recipient that a degree of effort was applied to the task.

Summary

A Thank You note is a very powerful thing … if it is applied correctly.  It’s  simple and easy to use. When applied incorrectly it becomes a major concern, possibly a future deal killer.  Either do it right or don’t do it all.

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The Luck List: What Lucky Reps Do to Get Lucky

Here’s the real secret to getting luckier at selling:  create a Luck List and groom it.

A luck list is comprised of individuals that can contribute to your sales and/or personal success.  It might be customers, friends, former coaches, casual acquaintances, mentors, vendors, business people, associates, trainers, IT experts, software geeks, math wizards, social networking gurus, former bosses, teachers … anyone and everyone that might  have some specialized skills, knowledge or expertise that you can use as appropriate, anywhere, anytime.

How to Use Your Luck List

Think of using your luck list in three ways.

Centers of Influence

First, the traditional way.  Your luck list can simply be a network of individuals who can supply you with leads and referrals.  Often called ‘spheres or centers of influence’ these are individuals who are in a position to help you build your business by acting as an advocate and linking you with others who might require your services.   For example, in financial services a center of influence might be a lawyer, accountant or doctor who could refer you to their associates.

Mentoring and Guidance

Second, use your luck list as a source of mentoring and guidance.  We meet all walks of people in our day to day lives.  Some of them have wisdom in certain areas that you leverage from time to time.  A retired executive might be savvy in the ways of business politics and give you a tip or two.  A sales rep from an entirely different industry might give perspective on approaching a complex sale.  A lawyer whose son plays hockey with your son gives you advice on prospecting to the professional market.

Value Added Linking

The third way to think of your luck list is to consider it your own personal “human internet”: a spider-like web of resources and knowledge that you can “google” (call upon) for certain situations. You can link one person to another to help them solve a problem or whatever.  You probably know someone who  ‘knows someone.’ They`re ‘connected.’  They`re the go-to guy (girl).  Hard to find tickets for a game? Call them.  Need the name of someone to fix a basement foundation? They know someone… who knows someone… who knows someone.  Want a good rental property  for the week in an exotic location? They’ll point you in the right direction.  Need a second opinion from a brain surgeon?  They’ll tap their network and inevitably link you up.

To increase your luck, you want to be THAT someone.  You want to be connected.  You want to develop and groom a network of people who can help you out by helping others out.  So…if a customer needs help with her CRM you refer them to the geeky guy you used yourself.  When a customers is looking for tickets to see the Red Sox play, you call a distributor who calls his supplier who calls Tony the ticket guy who comes  up  with two seats at home base.

How Does This Create Luck

When you do things for your Luck List there is a tendency for them to want to reciprocate; to even up the balance.  In sales, if you`ve done a little extra for a client that goes above and beyond the call of duty, most of them remember that.  They reciprocate by giving the last look at a quote or they call you first in an emergency or the cut a few points with your pricing.   They`ll act as strong references and give testimonials. Often they`ll pass your name on to associates.

Getting Started With a Luck List

How do you get started.  Easy as pie.

First, sit down with a pen and paper and create a list of people who might have power, influence, knowledge, experience or skill that could be beneficial to you and others.  Typically, your list starts with people you know, like and respect.  It might be an old coach or teacher or boss.  Maybe you attended a workshop and thought the instructor was awesome, jot their name down.  No holds barred.

Secondly, build a communications plan.  This means develop a means of staying in touch.  The simplest ways are the telephone and internet.  But from time to time use an old fashioned fax or send a letter or meet with certain individuals for lunch.  Try not to let more that 4-6 weeks go by without some sort of touch.  The last thing you want to do is call up someone you haven`t contacted in a year and ask them for a favour.  You can use your Outlook to schedule a couple of hours every 4-6 weeks and devote that to grooming your list.

Third, start building a library of articles, links and other things that you can send to stay in touch and create value.  The library can be business –like i.e., information that relates to your industry or market or product- or it can be personal – individualized information that caters to a hobby, passion or interest.  (I  have a buddy who bought me a book on military knives because he knows it`s a interest I have.  You can bet I`ll reciprocate when the time is appropriate). Old fashioned letters or cards and e-cards are a great way to reach out to your Luck List.  Telephone your luck list every now and then and `get caught up.` Even a voice mail message works.

Fourth, when someone on your Luck Lists helps you out, no matter how big or small, send something.  Usually it`s a thank you card. Maybe a nice letter.  Anything that acknowledges the effort.

Summary

You never know when the payback will come as a result of your Luck List, but it DOES come. And the wider you cast your Luck List net, the more opportunities you will catch.

Of course, everyone will say ìt`s just luck when good things happen to you.  But you`ll know better.

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10 Quick and Easy Ways to Make the Absolute Most Out of Every Customer Contact

In telephone selling reaching a live decision maker is getting tougher and tougher.

In fact, over 70% of the time, decision makers are not available for your call. So it makes good sense to maximize every moment of a call with your customers when you reach them. At the end of each call, look for the opportunity to leverage, squeeze and extract just a little more.  It may mean additional sales or opportunities.  Here are 10 ways to do just that.

1. Offer a cross sell. Get this: about 20% of all clients will buy a related product when offered.  And, on average, that increases the average value of a sale by an additional 25%.  Not bad!

2. Ask for a referral. How many times have you heard this one? And how many times have you taken the time to ask?  The fact is a good referral can have a closing rate as high as 70%.  In addition, the sales cycle is faster. Start asking and see what happens.

3. Offer an up sell. If you have quantity discounts, offer them to your client. If you have an upgrade, mention it.  One of the prime reasons why clients don’t buy more or purchase upgraded products is because they don’t know you offer it.

4. Gather ‘market intelligence’ about your competition. Get curious. Ask your client about other products that they don’t buy from you. Learn about your competition and see if you can get a wedge in the door.

5. Offer ‘packaged’ deals to increase the value of the sale. A packaged deal is like the Cadillac of cross sells.  Get marketing or your boss to ‘package’ three or four products and services and make it enticing for your customer.  Everyone loves a deal.

6. Ask your client something personal to help bolster your relationship. People buy from people they know, like and trust.  Learning about your client helps foster trust. Don’t be intrusive. Start simply, “Kelley, I’m curious, where were you born and raised,” is friendly without being too nosy.

7. Survey your client on you, your products and services. Develop a list of 3-5 questions (no more) to gauge your customer’s level of satisfaction in certain key areas. Be proactive and nip potential problems in the bud.

8. Ask you client for a written testimonial. If a client really ‘loves’ your company, ask if they’ll provide you with a written testimonial.  One line will do. For instance, get them to complete this, “What I really like about ABC Company is …” Use it for marketing, web site, promo pieces, signature files… the whole gamut.

9. Ask your customer if there are any projects 3-6 months down the line. Learn what might be coming down the pipe in a few months.  It helps you better prepare and plan for future sales. It can also help you fend off your competitors.

10. Ask your customer if they’ll act as a reference for prospects. Different from a written testimonial, a reference is a client who will actually speak to a prospect and tell them about the merits of your company, product or you.  Powerful, powerful stuff.

Make the very most of every call or contact your make or take.  By doing so you’ll give yourself a heck of an edge.

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The ABCs of Tele-Sales – 26 Powerful Tips for Tele-Sales Success

A is for “ask for the sale” or “advance the sale. Don’t leave a call lingering by NOT asking for the order.  Close it, for Pete’s sake.  Or if you have a longer sales cycle “advance” it by asking the client for some sort of action (accept a proposal, quote, attend a webinar etc.) and then getting a commitment for follow up DATE and Time.  Go here for more information (http://www.telesalesmaster.com/category/closing-and-advancing-the-sales/ )

B is for “body language.” In tele-sales there is no body language. The tone of your voice accounts for about 85% of your message. This means you must deliver your message with conviction.  People are more convinced by the depth of that conviction than the height of your logic. (Go here for more information:  http://www.telesalesmaster.com/892/uncategorized/)

C is for cross sell. Increase the average value of a sale on 20% of your orders by as much as 25% by offering a related item at the end of every call, when appropriate.  You’ll not only educate your customer you’ll put more change in your pocket.  (Go here for more information http://www.telesalesmaster.com/946/add-on-selling/)

D is for Discipline… especially when it comes to prospecting (cold calling). Schedule it. Then do it. When it’s time to dial, dial.  If your day starts at 8:30, start dialing at 8:30. Or earlier. Not 8:50. Not 8:45. Not 8:35. Arrive on time. Start on time. Stick to it. It is your diet to good sales.

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6 Passive Ways for Sales Cowards to Ask For Referral

Do you know why the majority of sales reps do not ask for referrals on a consistent basis?

They’re cowards.

They fear rejection or the worry that they’ll be seen as too pushy or aggressive or they think the customer won’t like them …and maybe even stop doing business.

Touch a chord?

You know this, right? Referrals are the single most powerful way to increase sales.  Referrals are a hela’uva alot easier to close because there is a degree of affinity. And they close in less time because the trust level is higher. But above all, they close at a much higher rate; as much as 70%.

It’s okay to be a coward. That’s human. It’s not okay to NOT ask for a referral. That’s foolhardy.

6 Ways to Passively Ask for a Referral

All you need to do is develop a referral system that is more passive in nature; one that quietly, discretely asks for a referral.  Asking directly is still your best bet but in the meantime, here are 5 things you can do to get the referral ball rolling.

1. Send an E-mail

This is a fast, simple way to get the word out that you’d like a referral.

In the subject line, use the customer’s first name and write,  “Michael, need your help.”

The message should be short and sweet. It should reference your business relationship and then explain your request.  Here’s a sample:

Michael,

First off,  let me thank you for your continued business. I do not take it for granted and will continue to provide the best possible service.

Secondly, I could use your help.  Much of my business is built on referrals from customers like yourself who have been pleased with the work we’ve provided.

Can you give me the names of some your co-workers ( or colleagues, associates, friends etc.) who might benefit from the services we provide?

I would be grateful for the opportunity to work with them and would give them the ‘extra’ special care and attention.

Thanks, Michael, I really appreciate your help. Regards

It doesn’t clobber the customer with detail. The appeal for ‘help’ always gets noticed and it will get read. It is polite and sincere. No fuss, no muss.   In a ‘cowardless’ world you could make a follow up call but if you don’t, well at least you’ve done something; planted some seeds.

2. Ask in Your Signature File

Use your signature file on your e-mails to passively solicit referrals. It can as simple as:

“Referrals Much Appreciated and Welcomed.” Make thing a hyper link so that when it is clicked Outlook is opened with your e-mail in the “To” bar. Use a different color, bold it … do something that catches the eye of reader.

Of course, the strength of this approach is that if the client thinks of someone he can refer, all he has to do is click. No other action is necessary.

If you have a referral reward system, feature that in your sig file.

3. Send a Letter

Sending a letter is much the same as an e-mail in terms of content.  But a letter is much more tangible and distinctive because the customer has to interact with it by opening it.

To make you letter more effective, hand write the envelope and put a stamp on it instead of printing a label and shoving it through a postage meter.  This shows you took the time and the effort.

But the most important component to a good letter is the PS. A PS is ALWAYS read and read first. It draws the eye like a magnet. Hand write the last part of your message. Use the customer’s name and explain that you will give the extra card and attention.

4. Send Some Business Cards

Depending on the nature of your business or products,  can go one step further with your direct mail strategy my inserting a stack of business cards.  A neat little phrase that I picked up some time ago can be inserted in the letter. It goes like this,

Gina, if happen to be you’re speaking with a colleague (or friend, associate etc.) and they mention the need for (your product or service) please give them my card…

Here’s the thing: people don’t mind giving a referral if they are absolutely confident in the services you provide. It makes them look good.  Extraordinary amounts of business is done by word of mouth. So this tactic works!

5. Send a post card

Postcards are a little less formal than a written letter but the net effect is the same.  Find a good postcard that conveys a business tone and write you message inside. Better yet, if you can find a postcard that suits the personality of your customer it is even better.  For instance,  if you have a good natured customer, find a card with humor.

Whatever the case may be, a post card is a little more casual. It has the ‘no big deal’ connotation surrounding it.  As such, it gets the attention of your client and may prompt a response.

6. Send a Fax

Fax may be dying and even extinct in some industries, but in others it is still a major form of communication.  In others, it significance is much less but there is something about getting an ‘old fashioned’ fax that catches the eye.  Like a vintage car, we tend to look twice.

Your message could be the same as those above. Others have use ‘rewards’ to garner names.  (One company offers T-shirts with clever messages for names and it does exceedingly well.  Another has uses cash … with mixed results. Still others have offered candies and chocolates for five names and have been astounded by the response.)

Summary

Look, the BEST way to get a referral is to ask directly.  But if you can’t muster up the courage or if you tend to forget, then try these methods.  The very least they do is create awareness. The best they do is generate a powerful lead.

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