Most people will tune out when you tell them how great your company is. The will even turn you off if you spend too much time talking about all of the great things your company can do for them. And they will practically throw you out of their office when you start to pull the dreaded Power Point presentation out of your bag! They expect you to tell them how great your company is, after all you are there to sell them on your company and its’ services they would be shocked if you did anything but that and that’s the problem. They don’t really care what you say when it comes to talking about your company to the point where it only becomes a bunch of blah, blah, blah.
So what are you supposed to do about it? How do you get your message across to them if they tune you out when you even come near talking about your company? Simple you get other people to talk about your company. You get your best customers to tell potential customers about your products and services. There is nothing more powerful that a customer’s testimonial or a customer’s service story.
Look, it’s pretty simple people like to hear what other people have to say about a product they are thinking of buying. We all do it right?
When you’re looking towards buying a new car you are going to talk to people who have the same brand and model of that car. Hell you’ll even stop a person in a super market parking lot and ask her about her new Lexus if you are thinking of buying one for yourself. And most importantly you could actually base your buying decision on what that person says to you in the three-minute conversation. You will take that person’s opinion much more seriously than all of the millions of dollars of advertising that Lexus has spent promoting their new model.
You’ll do the same thing with just about any other major purchase you are currently considering. We put much more weight on what the person who has used the product says that anything the manufacturer of that product has to say.
The same applies in our business today. We can tell our customers until we are blue in the face what a great product we have but it is not going to amount to a proverbial hill of beans when compared with what our current customers say about us.
Now I hope we all have some happy and satisfied customers…some “best customers.” If you don’t, or if you feel that none of your customers will want to say nice things about you then you have much more serious problems and you should go take care of those problems before you try to sell anything to anyone. The old “we’re no worse than anyone else” justification has no place in business and no place in the referral business.
Okay not that this is out of the way let’s get back to asking your good and satisfied customers for referrals. In his great book High Profit Prospecting, Mark Hunter gives is a four step plan for getting referrals from customers:
- Ask for referrals. Every time the customer sees value in what you’re selling is a time when you should ask for a referral.
- Connect with the referral. Ideally the person who gives you the name will connect the two of you through an email or phone call. Even if that is not the case, following up as soon as possible is showing respect to the person who referred you.
- Keep the person who gave you the referral in the loop. Don’t keep the person who gave you the referral in the dark. By keeping them in the loop you will encourage them to provide you with more referrals.
- Be appreciative each step along the way. Nothing you do will create more referrals along the way than showing appreciation to each person in the process.
Once again there is no better way to get new business than to have your current satisfied customers tell other customers about your products and services.
One final thing to remember and that is that good referrals are based on good service, actually outstanding service. You have to be good enough that your customers will be proud and happy to be giving out your contact information to others. You have to be good enough so that you’re customer actually feel so smart for using you products and services that they want to tell everyone about you and your company. Its only common sense.