Do thoughts of asking existing customers for referrals drive you a little crazy? Perhaps you liken it to paying bills, the smell of something really ripe in the fridge, visiting your mother-in-law? (Only kidding!)
Well, it’s time to get over yourself. Change your beliefs about asking. How? Think about the potential of new, qualified leads from people who know you, your products and services personally.
Start forming new beliefs about why asking existing customers for referrals is so good for you. Write them down as positive belief statements: “Asking my existing customers for referrals is an easy way to fill my pipeline with high quality leads.”
Asking regularly also builds confidence and creates “muscle memory”. The key: make it happen. Plant positive beliefs and stop letting the thought of asking drive you insane. You probably recognize: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results.” Waiting for referrals to come to you may happen. If instead, you seek them out, doesn’t it make sense that they will arrive more quickly? What if you ask in a manner that actually gets the referrals you desire most? How? By specifically “painting the picture” of the referrals you need when asking. Still feeling uncomfortable? Let’s deal with that too.
Think of asking for a referral as a conversation with a friend. That takes the pressure off immediately. A conversation may look something like:
Me: “Joe, would you mind if I asked you a question that makes me feel uncomfortable?” Joe: “No, how can I help?” Me: “Thanks, I appreciate it. You see, I need help building my sales pipeline. I’m asking people like you, who know me and are happy with our products and services, if you might be willing to provide me a referral? The thing is, I feel uncomfortable asking, like I may be bothering you. I want you to know, it’s ok to say no, I completely understand.” (Joe may shut me down but, it’s more likely, he’ll be willing to help). Joe: “I understand feeling uncomfortable, I might feel that way too. We really like what you’ve done for us. I’d be happy to help.” Me: “Thank you, I feel better already. Would it be easier if I give you an idea of what I’m looking for?” Joe: “Yes, that you be great.” Me: “Typically, I’m looking for companies like yours. They need help with their sales process. They are sick of using multiple “tools” and want a consolidated sales process from contact to contract. They can be large or small, with three to hundreds of sales people, owner operated or a corporation, located almost anywhere. Usually they’re struggling with redundant data entry, what happened to leads that came in, or are worried about quoting at the wrong price and need reviews before proposals are sent. Commission accuracy and sales reporting are also big issues.” Joe: “That sure sounds familiar, we had all those problems. I get it!” Me: “Well, if anyone comes to mind anytime, I’d appreciate you passing along my information. I can even provide an email you can use to make introductions.” Joe: “Really? That would be helpful. In fact, a few people in my professional association come to mind. Let’s schedule a call and I’ll start making connections.” Me: “Joe, coming from you, I know I will meet great people. If I can help you too, all you have to do is ask.”
That really is it…all you have to do is ask.