Startups always struggle to get more leads and increase their sales efforts to grow their businesses. Using your existing customers as a source for new leads is one of the most effective ways to fuel the growth engine of the company. Customer referrals could prove to be the most powerful tool in making your startup stand out in the crowd. If a customer introduces you to other companies that are likely to purchase the solution you have built, there could be nothing better a scenario of getting as quality leads as referrals. These leads would enter the league of highly qualified leads from the very beginning and as you will be introduced to them via a friend, you can enjoy the benefit of trust right at the start of the relationship.
However, many startups don’t do referral selling and many sales professionals are afraid to ask for one. They are scared that it can put the ongoing deal at risk and might turn a positive interaction unpleasant. But looking at the advantages of customer referrals, there is no scope for any organization especially new businesses to ignore this selling phenomenon.
There is an art to garner referrals from your customers. Follow these tips and expand your business fast with referral selling:
Make your Customers Satisfied
You can get a referral only from satisfied customers. So to get good word of mouth from customers, make them happy. Ensure that your product or service is impeccable which caters well to your customer’s needs and address their pain points. Make it a habit to follow-up with them frequently even after the sale to make sure that your solution is working fine with them and to enquire if they need any further assistance. This will enable you to develop deeper and long-term relations with the customers and you will be in a better position to ask for referrals.
If the customers are pleased with your product and treatment, they will not hesitate to help you in finding other suitable customers. They will be proud to be a source of help to you.
Wait for the Right Time
There is always a right time to ask your customers to help you in marketing your product. If you sell a product that could be implemented easily and the benefits can be realized soon after putting it into effect, you might be in a good position to ask for referrals from the customer immediately after the purchase. On the other hand, if you sell a very technical product which takes time to get executed and produce beneficial results, your customer may not like to refer you to others instantly.
It is only when a customer gains value from your product, the probability of him referring you to similar customers increases.
Adopt the Correct Medium
There are several mediums to ask for customer referrals.
After a sale, you can follow-up with the customer to ensure that they are satisfied and in the same email you can ask if they would like to refer you to others. Email is a wonderful medium as it allows you to draft your message carefully and does not even interfere with your customer’s busy schedules. Do not forget to include a relevant call to action so that your client can provide you with a lead.
Asking your customers for referrals via phone is a bit tricky as you need to gauge the client’s mood and the current frame of mind without seeing him. Prepare a small script or talking points to make the conversation fruitful. First, ask if they are happy with your product and then describe how referrals are crucial for the growth of your business. Thereafter ask for a suitable reference and if they are not able to come up with a name, politely thank them and finish the conversation.
In person meeting is the best way to garner referrals. You can analyse the body language of the person and make your discussion more meaningful by picking up the visual clues which is not possible through email or telephonic conversation. Listen to the clients carefully and gather as much data as you can. Be gracious even if the customer declines your question.
Ask your customers to provide a feedback which you can put onto your website. Many potential customers might be looking for customer reviews on your website or other third party websites that collect customer reviews.
Follow up and Thank the Customer for the Referral
Always remember to thank the client who provided a referral to you. Do not wait for that referral to convert in a sale before thanking the individual. Instead, send a thank you note as soon as you a get a referral and show gratitude towards his generous gesture.