Life

The referral advantage

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A hotel sales professional needs to leverage on referrals which can lead to quick sales closure as a consequence of the trust that has already been created by the referee

Referrals should be taken by asking from everyone, not just from the prospect / clients.

There are three types of referrals

OK referral: OK referral is where the client only gives you a name and number and you have to pursue the lead on your own. Your success rate would be about maybe 10-15 per cent. Do ask the client if you could use his name as reference as at times they do say – “Please don’t use my name”.

Good referral: This is where the client calls up the person being referred and informs them about you and your product and service. The success rate increases dramatically as the person himself has called so the brand value of that person is also added in the mind of the person who’s being referred. Also if at all he’s not interested he’ll tell that person so you end up saving time. In any case normally you’ll at least get a meeting and so it’s obvious this person is a prospect and it’s up to you to convert him into a client. The success rate jumps, depending on your skills of course to as high as 60-80s.

Best Referral: Is where the client sets up a joint meeting and all three are in a face-to-face meeting. Here the success rate is as high as 95 per cent as nobody will invest their time in something they know will not happen.

So when getting referrals try to spot best referrals, if no, then do request them to make the call and refer you. “I would be calling Tuesday 10 am?” See again how easy is it being crystal clear. You can reduce the fears.

Another example: “Sir I have had you as a client for six months/ one year, now you know I’m not the nagging pushy salesperson. I promise you that I will make just one call that is it, one call and if he says no, I promise you I will not bother him again. It’s my promise.”

Again you can see clearly how we are reducing near eliminating client fear of giving a referral.

Whenever you talk to the referral, don’t forget to mention who referred you and their company.

Remember that like attracts like. Good people attract good people. So good clients would know and have good friends who would/ could become your good clients. So with referrals you are getting potential access to them. As in sales your time is finite so you want the minimum number of top clients and referrals who can help you tremendously achieve that.

Important tips

  • Offer incentives – Everybody likes a gift. And why not they are helping you get more business. A free product, tickets to a game or show, gift vouchers, anything helps. Money and even the gifts mentioned may offend a few so tread with care.
  • Listen for referrals – be alert for referrals the client may say, “My cousin too runs a similar business.”
  • Thank people for referrals – when they do give you a referral send a nice thank you note, email or sms. This is whether it works out or not. The thank you note for when it didn’t work out may make the person feel bad and give you a stronger referral.
  • Help your client increase their business – refer others to them. This automatically makes them look out for how they can refer others to you.

Lesson learnt: Referrals will mean quicker sales closure by using the trust already created by the referrer.

Activity: Like the branches of a tree that grow from one another, start growing your own referral tree.

(Excerpt from Vikram Kamat‘s Sales Magic, The Secret To Bringing Magic Into Your Selling)

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