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Build a Referral Program for Long-Term Success

March 5, 2010 Leave a comment

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Source:  Saleshq.monster.com

Building great relationships with clients is a cornerstone of a successful career in sales. Achieving this means more than just a benefit for your customers in knowing that they can count on you for the very best in product knowledge and advice, plus after-sales support. You stand to gain as well when those satisfied customers tell their friends and colleagues about you. Referrals have a unique capability in that they have the potential to generate new clients for you without you having to seek out those clients first.

Given that kind of power, you’d think that everyone out there would be making good use of referrals, right? Surprisingly very few businesses out there capitalize on word-of-mouth from their existing customers. I’ve found this to be the case in my discussions with groups during Engage sales training exercises, and I’m not alone. Business guru Tom Peters recalls how he once polled executives at a workshop and asked them what percentage of their customers were giving their businesses all they could, including referrals. He was stunned by the answer: “I knew they would be quite a bit lower than 100%, but I’ve found that most executives estimate that only somewhere between 0 and 25% of customers are giving them all the business they could. The numbers are even lower for referral sources.”

There are a few reasons for this. Among them is that classics mistakes are often committed when asking for referrals (I will be addressing that in the next engaging ideas). Another is that many simply aren’t persistent enough and referrals end up being more of a piecemeal exercise than something methodical and focused. This is why I recommend that sales people and business owners consider developing an in-house referral program. You have a great story to tell about your company, your products or services, as well as the way you work with customers. So you owe it to yourself to make sure everyone gets to hear that continue reading

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