June 11, 2012

Looking for an easy way to grow your business? Want leads that are already informed about your company and ready to buy? Look no further than the power of referrals. In today’s competitive business world, you need every edge you can get and having prior customers recommend your product or services will provide you with the leg up on your competition.

In a consultative selling process, you develop a lasting relationship with your client. Instead of a quick sale and you both go your own way, this sales process relies on creating solutions to your client’s problems, providing them with advice they can rely on and building a relationship that will last for many years to come.

Once you have built this relationship, the next step in the consultative selling process is to ask the client if they would provide referrals for your company. If you’ve done the job right, you may not even have to ask, your client will simply naturally share their experience with their peers.

Peer recommendations carry a lot of weight in the business world. In order to ensure that you get the recommendations you need, it’s important to make sharing referrals attractive for your existing clients. Many companies offer incentive programs to ensure that their clients are more than happy to pass their information along.

For example, if your clients refer you to their peers, you can offer them special discounts on future purchases, or special consideration or services. If you have a particular client who keeps sending you referrals, you should find a unique way of saying thank you, such as taking them out to dinner or even offering them an expense paid weekend away.

In some cases during your consultative selling process, you may not actually end up with a sale, but that doesn’t mean the relationship has to end fruitlessly. Even if they may not need your products or services at this time, they may know a few of their peers who do. This is why relationship building is so important in this process.

Instead of focusing entirely on making a sale, you are creating a friendship. This breaks down barriers, makes your prospects more comfortable and in turn, much more likely to be willing to recommend you to their peers. No one wants to send a fast talking salesperson to their friends, it will give them a bad reputation.

You can also ask for referrals from non-prospects. For example, if you deal with vendors you can ask them if they know of anyone who could benefit from your product or service. You must be willing to go out on a limb and really network if you want referrals. This isn’t the time to be shy. By building up your credibility, your relationships and your referrals, you’ll be assured of growing your sales career successfully.