9 Quick Ways to Convert Prospects into Referrals

January 4, 2017

9 Quick Ways to Convert Prospects into Referrals

It’s a new year–time to start fresh, prospecting for new referrals. Not your favorite activity, you say? If you view it as a necessary evil, like many business-owners and sales reps–you’re not alone. When the pressure is on, you have a short amount of time to capture prospects’ attention and connect with them on a level that leads to conversion. That’s why we’ve come up with these 9 quick ways to convert prospects into referrals.

Here’s some extra motivation for you: most people would rather purchase a product or service from someone they know instead of being approached by a stranger–so, don’t be a stranger. The following nine tips are easy ways to build more connections as you quickly convert prospects into referrals.

1. Offer helpful advice that is not always about your service or product

Of course, the whole point of prospecting is to convert leads into customers, but you don’t need to make every conversation about your goal. As you process the information that your prospect is giving you, offer information they might have overlooked. Is there a detail or a quick fix for their challenge that could help them, even if it doesn’t directly involve what you’re selling? Sharing this information helps to build their trust in you.

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2. Practice active listening

Everyone wants to be listened to, and people with a problem to solve especially want to be heard. Make sure to demonstrate active listening whenever you are talking with people about issues they’re experiencing. Summarize what you’ve learned previously about each prospect’s situation with a brief recap. Start the conversation by stating the person’s current status, as well as your understanding of earlier discussions. Add any insights you might have gathered, along with challenges the prospect still faces.

3. Don’t be shy about asking for the referral

Did you know that top salespeople glean about 50 percent of their business through referrals? Draw up a list of people who are pleased with your products or services. While current clients are an obvious choice, don’t forget about business partners who are not in direct competition with you. Check with any associates who might know someone who could benefit from your products or services. Ask each person on that list if they know of anyone who might be interested in or helped by what you have to offer.

4. Build the “ask” into your sales strategy

Develop the habit of asking for what you want. Build sales referrals into your conversation with each new customer by asking for them from the beginning. Phrase your request something like this: “If you’re completely satisfied with my services (or product), can you refer me to your friends and family?” Don’t ever leave a meeting with a client without first asking for a referral.

5. Think about building relationships

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Once you have a referral, ask your contact to set up an introductory meeting so you can get to know them. If this is not an option, then it’s up to you to reach out first–just remember to do so in a timely manner. Make sure o reference the name of the person you both know, and mention how you helped that person. This is a surefire way to help you gain the trust of your new contact.

6. Give referrals generously to convert prospects

Referring a business associate to someone who can benefit from the interaction, or introducing two of your contacts to each other is one of the most effective ways of getting referrals yourself. Most people know how powerful referrals can be and are happy to return the favor for you.

7. Network effectively

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Don’t get bogged down in boring networking etiquette and miss the opportunities these events offer. Resolve to introduce yourself and talk to a set number of new prospects at each event. Take the time to plan which points you want to cover and have an intended goal before the event. Be sure to practice your delivery to make sure your delivery supports your goals. Networking events are also a great place to refer others if you realize over the course of your conversation that you aren’t the best match for solving their specific problems .

8. Customize a solution

While they might be similar to others, no two people’s problems are exactly the same. No one likes approaches that are generic and cookie cutter. This doesn’t mean that you can’t start with a basic framework, though, and customize it to your prospective client. Instead, summarize the problem as you see it. Note the advantages and disadvantages of different options that might solve the issue. Include any additional resources that can help them grow stronger while avoiding these same pitfalls in the future.

9. Always say “thank you”

Basic, isn’t it? Acknowledging the invaluable resource that someone has handed to you shows your integrity and allows you to demonstrate how grateful you are for the opportunity. While the way you show your thanks depends on a number of different factors, some suggestions include a verbal “thank you,” or a written note. You might also consider taking the person out to lunch. Offer to keep your connection updated on the progress you’re making.

Cold calling is a notoriously difficult way to generate leads, even though many businesses still rely on it. Instead, refocus your efforts on these 9 tips to turn more prospective clients into definitive ones. You may uncover further referrals in the process.

Need help generating those leads in the first place? We can help you pinpoint the best strategies for growing leads that convert.

 

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