8 Tips for Winning Referrals
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If you don’t have an effective sales referral program at your company, you could be missing out on big dollars in the long run. Seem backwards? It’s not. But rather an investment upfront that provides a lofty ROI if implemented effectively. How do you get started? Check out our tips for creating a successful referral program:
- Make it a priority. For many businesses, referrals are an added bonus. Start by documenting your current sales process. Make referrals part of training or mentoring for any new employees you bring on board.
- Create a compelling story. To earn a referral, a customer needs to feel compelled to give it. Clients are looking for salespeople who proactively monitor their needs, provide monthly communications and keep them up to date. Build your expertise so your clients view you as a trusted advisor that they’ll want to recommend to others.
- Make referrals fun internally. Get people on board with referrals by holding a contest where the person with the most referrals wins a gift card or tickets to an event in the community.
- Evaluate your current contacts. Examine your current contacts to identify potential referrals. Remember that referrals can come from a variety of sources, so evaluate anyone you have a connection with. A good place to start is to review your client lists to determine potential referral leads. In addition, look up companies on LinkedIn that you’d like to connect with and see what shared connections you have who may be willing to make an introduction. Once you have reviewed these contacts, make a list of referral sources to reach out to.
- Create a list of “inner circle” contacts. Once you’ve created your list, narrow it down even further by making a list of inner circle contacts. These will be individuals that your employees have strong relationships with and that you know value your business and would refer you to others without any incentive.
- Incentivize referrals. There are two types of referral programs: an incentive program and non-incentive program. An incentive program offers participants a reward for referring your business to someone they know. Not all incentives have to be cash—in fact, non-cash incentives can be powerful motivators as well. For instance, writing a handwritten note thanking a connection for a referral can go a long way in showing your gratitude.
- Track what you do for your clients. Oftentimes, a client has no idea of the work you do behind the scenes. Providing your clients with an annual stewardship report that highlights all that you do can translate into an easy way to ask for referrals.
- Create metrics. Many referral programs fail to reach their potential due to a lack of accountability. Hold your team responsible for referrals by creating metrics that monitor their successes. Some potential metrics include: revenue generated from referrals, number of new referred customers and number of referral meetings each week or month. By tracking these metrics and communicating expectations and progress with employees on a regular basis, you can create a culture that is focused on referrals and win new business.
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