The single best new customer that you can get is one that is referred by someone who has bought from you. This is an even better lead than when someone calls you to ask questions about your offer. Why? Because the referral know someone who bought. To them, buying from you is a natural conclusion to a sales presentation.
At the end of a presentation, when I make a sale..I ask for a few referrals. There are several questions I ask to trigger referrals, but this one is my favorite; “Who has referred a salesperson to you in the past?”. And I want to hear the story. What happened? Was the salesperson professional? What was she selling? Did the customer buy? The “Did you buy” question makes all the difference.
Why? Because there are two different ways that customers send salespeople back and forth to their friends. They may do it as a joke to their friend, a form of “Tag, you’re it”. In this case, a sale rarely happens, and the salesperson is used as a pawn to play a game between two friends. I’ve only had this happen twice, and it wasn’t fun.
The other way that salespeople are sent to friends is like this; “We bought, my friends usually buy what I buy, and we send good offers to each other.”
In this way, a sale is highly likely, because the referral is conditioned to buy when referred by their friend. This also happens in groups. In fact, I spent two years once, working a network of these “My friend bought, and so, I want what he has” referrals.
If the customer (I never ask for referrals from people who didn’t buy) sends me to see their friend, and I ask what happened the last time they sent salespeople to see each other….I want to hear that sales were made. If there is a history of sending salespeople to see each other, without sales? I stop asking questions about the lead, and change the subject. But again, this happens very rarely.
If the referral is used to getting salespeople referred from my customer, I’ll have him call the referral right there. I’ll even get on the phone and say something like “Hi, Bill. Mike seems to think I should talk to you. I promised him I would show you what I do, and see if it’s a fit. Are you going to be available tomorrow at 3PM?” . Now, even if he says “I’ll talk to you, but I’m not buying anything”, I want to see him. Why? Because his history tells me something different. He’s already conditioned to buying from a salesperson that Mike has sent him. I’ll have to do something to screw it up, or hell probably buy from me. And his “objection” is just a weak attempt to avoid an appointment.
Remember, ask “Who has referred salespeople to you in the past?” and “Who have you referred salespeople to, in the past?” and then ask;
“What were they selling?” (and maybe “how much did it cost?”)
“Did you buy it?” or “Did they buy?”
These referrals will tend to be your easiest to see, and sell.
If you would like to know more, I devote a hefty section of my book Sales Prospecting, to this very subject.