Have you ever considered that sales is a lot like building a home?
That might seem like a far-fetched idea, but hear us out.
The customer is the foundation of the structure, and the sales rep is there to help them build a framework and see their vision come to life.
Once the house – or deal – is complete, the rep then has two options:
- Start building the next home with a fresh lead
- Tap into their customer network to create a consistent referral pipeline
Both have the goal of generating more revenue, but they require very different skill sets to be successful. Many reps are good at pounding the pavement to drum up cold leads, but those homes often go unfinished.
Reps that focus on building a relationship with their existing clients and prioritize referrals improve their chances of success. Much of the framework already exists, because the person being referred has a great reference point and knows the product fits their needs.
“Referral programs take time and there is no guarantee.”
Correct. Your team will have to invest in relationships to make referrals a consistent part of their sales strategy. As for the second point, the only guarantee in sales is that good things happen when you invest in relationships and focus on each customer’s needs.
Today’s sales and marketing teams have countless tools and gadgets at their disposal to help rank prospect interaction and gauge interest. Still, they cannot come close to the power of word-of-mouth advertising.
Referral programs don’t vary much between organizations. Sure, there might be different incentives and promotions, to help encourage customers to refer their friends, but at the end of the day, referrals are simply endorsements from a trusted source. Whether it be during a conversation with a colleague or through a digital endorsement on your website or social media page.
In the context of building a home, a friend might ask who helped renovate your kitchen or bathroom. If the work was great, and the process was easy, giving your endorsement is simple.
Sales organizations are notorious for complicating the sales process. Tough negotiation strategies, unnecessary tension, and aggressive closing techniques, you get the gist. The simple truth is – trust cannot grow in that environment and referrals require trust.
To build a referral program that delivers consistent leads the following must first be accomplished:
- Remove ALL unnecessary hurdles
- Focus on the customer’s needs
- Deliver on promises made
Three steps may seem simple enough, but getting more referrals requires an Other-Centered® mindset and consistency. You also have to accept that like building a home, delivering a great customer experience from start to finish won’t happen overnight.
Referral Marketing Strategies
Have you ever noticed yard signs advertising a roofing or window company? These are prime examples of referral marketing strategies at work. In most cases, the homeowner receives some incentive for allowing the company to advertise in their yard.
Admittedly there isn’t a yard in the pharmaceutical or digital sales space for you to plant your flag, but you can still work with your marketing team to help your customers promote your business.
Whether it is through contests or special incentives, marketing can help build the promotional aspect. Keep in mind that referrals can come from a number of channels even if they ultimately originated at a single source. Examples of this could be through your website, a dedicated landing page, social media channels, email, or over the phone.
Attribution is a key component that many organizations overlook. You want to know where each lead is coming from so that you can thank the appropriate partner that sent them your way.
4 Ways to Get More Referrals
Landing referrals consistently will take time, there is no magic formula. There are, however, simple steps any sales team can implement that will help the process and generate results.
1. Be referable
It should go without saying that if you expect referrals, you must deliver on your promises and be worthy of a referral. Overpromising and under-delivering is a surefire way to squash any hope of referrals in the future. Show up, put the customer first, do the right thing, and referrals will come in without much effort.
2. Make it easy
Avoid the pitfall of over-complicating the referral process. If customers have to jump through hoops just to provide you a lead, they simply won’t do it with any consistency. Provide a simple path, such as a unique link, that is easily shareable. Focus on gathering key information and nothing more.
3. Create an incentive program
Your product may be great, but sometimes people need a little nudge to get off the couch. Incentive programs are a great way to boost customer engagement and show appreciation. It might be something as simple as a Starbucks gift card, the key thing is that they are rewarded for participating.
4. Create value
Giving before you receive isn’t always a popular notion in sales, but it can be a catalyst for referrals. Before you ask your customer to participate in your referral program, offer something of value, such as connecting them with another provider that solves a specific problem you have discussed. The goal is to create value in the relationship and build trust over time. The more trust, the more referrals.
Get More Referrals With ASLAN Sales Training
When sales reps take an Other-Centered approach, referrals become a central piece of the pipeline. The challenge is that there are no shortcuts. Like helping a customer build a home, it is a brick-by-brick process and even the smallest details cannot be overlooked.
At ASLAN, we believe that with the right mentality and the right tools, any sales rep can transform into a trusted advisor that consistently sees referrals come across their desk. The process isn’t for everyone, but those that incorporate our unique strategy generate deeper relationships and perform more effectively.
To learn more about ASLANs training programs, connect with our team and schedule your assessment today.
ASLAN teaches sellers an easier, better way to gain access & influence unreceptive customers, by eliminating the hard sell.