When to ask Customers for Referrals

For many salespeople, attempting to obtain referrals can be frustrating and unproductive. Customers often provide either poor referrals or none at all. Many salespeople underestimate the risk that buyers feel when they’re asked to supply referrals: you’re asking your customer to put their personal credibility on the line. Another difficulty is that your customer may not know the specific needs of their associates.

The first hint for getting more sales referrals is to ask at the right time. Traditional sales training techniques usually teach salespeople to ask for referrals at the close of a sale, but that’s too soon. It’s another form of selling too fast. Your new customers haven’t yet achieved value, and you are, in effect, asking them to send you off in another direction (selling to another customer) at the precise moment when they need you the most! At best, your request for a referral will be ignored. At worst, the trust you have worked so hard to build may be damaged.

The key is to ask for a referral after value has been achieved. Make sure your customers are satisfied before asking for sales referrals.

Kevin Davis

Kevin F. Davis is the author of The Sales Manager’s Guide to Greatness”, which was named the 2018 Axiom Business Book Award Winner, Silver Medal. Kevin is also the author of Slow Down, Sell Faster!”.