I got some good advice a while back from a fellow business owner. He told me that I should step back at least once a month and really analyze how my company is doing from 10,000 feet. Am I in the right market? Am I attacking the right customers? Am I sticking to my values? What have I learned from the last month? Well, yesterday was one of those days. I spent most of the day reflecting on all the customers that I’m servicing and where they came from. I figured if I can reverse engineer every one of those sales cycles surely I can rinse and repeat to double or triple the business, right? Here is the biggest thing I learned, and probably the best advice I can give to any company or sales person who is looking to increase sales!
REFERRALS, REFERRALS, REFERRALS, REFERRALS, REFERRALS
I know what you’re saying. “Yes Josh, we all know that you’re supposed to ask for referrals in the sales cycle.” Well, I can almost guarantee that you’re not doing it as strategically or as often as you should. After doing the math on my current customer base, I figured out that 85% of them have come from REFERRALS!!! Yes, 85%! That means that I am 5 times more affective in my sales efforts when I’m asking for referrals than when I’m doing cold sales activities. Matter of fact, as I typed that last sentence my inbox dinged. Inside was an email from the CEO of a company who replied to an email that a friend of mine sent, introducing me and my services. It’s magic!
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HERE ARE THE THREE STEPS TO BEING AN EXPERT IN THE REFERRAL BUSINESS
- DON’T BE A PEST — Pests take take take and never give. Instead, you need to become and expert at giving and connecting dots. People don’t like to help out people who always and only ask for favors and help. So, be great at helping out other people. I’m always shaking hands and getting to know people even if they have nothing to do with the business or interests I have. The more people and things you know the more capable you are at helping someone else out. There is nothing easier than a phone call to someone asking them for a favor or referral if you just helped them out with something last week. They kind of owe you one.
- BE GREAT AT WHAT YOU DO — The second best way or time to ask someone for a favor (or referral) is after you’ve done great work for them. As a professional, I implore you to take pride in what you do and deliver great work. As sad as it is, the average person is dulled and surrounded by overpromised products, poor customer service, and sub par experience. Use this to your advantage. Every single engagement you have with a customer is an opportunity to go above and beyond to go against the status quo of providing garbage service and experience. Be different! When customers feel this difference they will gladly introduce you to their friends and colleagues when it’s all said and done because they trust you’re not going to make them look bad.
- KNOW HOW TO ASK — This is the biggest tactical error I see in sales people on this topic. Asking, “Is there anyone you could recommend me to that may benefit from my services???” is the worst approach in the history of the world. Dale Carnegie turns in his grave every time the words are said. You might as well be saying, “Hey, I’m too lazy to do my homework and know who I need/want to get in front of so will you do my job for me?” It’s an awkward question! Instead, do your research and ask for specific and pointed help. Here’s an example. “Tom, wanted to thank you again for the business last month — I loved meeting with and working with the team. Hey, I wonder if you could help me out with something(more on this in point 4). I heard that Tom Smith had a similar project going on OR I noticed on LinkedIn that you used to work with Tom Smith OR I think I saw you out to lunch the other day with Tom Smith. How well do you know him? Would you mind making a warm intro for me?” This works every time — trust me! I’ve built 85% of my company on it.
4 STOP BEING SO BASHFUL. I get it — the average person (especially you MEN out there) don’t like asking for help. You think its uncomfortable and intrusive to ask someone to do something for you. You think that you’re bothering a customer who you did work for. You feel like you’re being annoying. Well, guess what? Get over it! At the end of the day, the average person is a good person and loves to HELP other people out. That’s why I open every single time with “I wonder if you could help me out with something?” There is psychology behind the question and I have been testing it for 25 years. It works EVERY SINGLE TIME. Subconsciously, the average person is wired to responding positively to the idea of helping others out. You’ll never get a single thing you don’t ask for!
Committing to giving more than you take, being great at your craft, asking in the most tactical way, and not being afraid to put yourself out there will double whatever sales you’re putting out right now — guaranteed! If you want more insight on this topic call me below — I’d love to HELP. You know what line to open with….
Written by Josh Mastel — Founder, CEO of UpRoar Partners
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