Category Archives: Referral Business

Developing Your Referral Business

One of the most difficult parts of selling is prospecting/networking, or getting new customers. By far the most powerful thing you can have when approaching new people is a referral from their colleagues, friends or others they respect. The big question that comes before "selling" referrals is "getting" the referrals in the first place.

Getting referrals can be gained any time: after you are turned away, after closing the sales, after providing your customer with great service, or just any time!

After they refuse to buy from you
After you have not made the sale is a great time to ask for a referral. But why should a person give you a referral when they could easily just blow you off? The basic answer is that it gives them an opportunity for absolution from the sin of saying no.

There is a basic social moral that says ‘help others’, which makes people want to be nice. We generally dislike refusing other people, so when we say no, we are more likely to agree to give a referral to the salesperson.

The basic exchange is that they give you referrals in exchange for your forgiveness for them not being able to buy your vehicle.

After the close
After people have bought from you, they are feeling all warm and fuzzy and are thus more ready to help you. This also helps them justify to themselves why they signed the deal (‘It’s such a great deal, I should let others know about it’).

If you have given them a huge discount during the negotiation, then they may feel further obliged to offer you a referral in compensation.

After great service
If you sell someone a vehicle and helped them with a service problem, particularly if you have just put yourself ‘above and beyond’ expectations, to help them, then they will be ready to help you in return by giving you a good referral.

Any other time
People will give you referrals when you meet in the bar, at a party or any time you can speak with them. You are paying them attention, helping them feel good. In return, they may give you a great referral.

Avoiding the referral traps
Asking incorrectly may dissuade the other person from giving you names of other people. If they are not interested in you or what you have to sell, then they may well be unwilling to push you on their friends. Do remember that by giving a referral, they are putting their necks on the line. If you annoy the referred person, then that person will likely complain to the referrer.

Worse than giving you no referrals is providing you with a worthless referral, thus wasting your time further.

The ‘anyone’ trap
Asking ‘Is there anyone else…’ is first a closed question to which it is easy to say ‘no’. Also when you ask ‘anyone’ it does not really help the other person to think about specific people you can call.

Always ask for a specific ‘who’ ("who do you know that may be interested in purchasing a new or used vehicle?", not a general and vague ‘anyone’ or ‘someone’.

The ‘wants vehicle’ trap
Asking for who ‘may want the vehicle’ may result in the other person trying to think of somebody who has been asking for a vehicle like yours. And of course there will be very few or none of these.

Building it in
The key to real success in referrals is to build requesting referrals right into your sales process. Asking for referrals occasionally will get you only limited referrals. You can get many more valuable referrals by doing it regularly.

Look beyond your normal customers. Find partners in getting referrals. Be creative! Here are a few ideas:

[list:29t8nwew]- Make calls solely for the purpose of seeking referrals.
– Go to networking meetings and exchange business cards.
– Call up people who supply products to your dealership. Partner with them, giving them referrals or thank you gifts in return.
– Talk to people who talk to people, like reception staff, secretaries, hairdressers, etc.
– Get back to people after the visit to say thank you. And to ask for referrals. [/list:u:29t8nwew]