When clients are looking to drum up more business one of the things they seem to be on the lookout for is a good salesperson or a better one.
In today’s world, your most powerful salespeople are no longer the one’s you pay the big money to close the deals, rather they are your customers who recommend your services to others.
Many people make the mistake in thinking that your customers are thinking about your company and your brand on the front of their minds most of the time. They do not, and the only way to encourage referrals is to ask for it.
Brian Tracy the self-development guru says that the sentence asking people “would you recommend us to others” is the most important words in growing a business . A referral is worth ten to fifteen times a cold call. The best time to ask this question is after you have satisfied your client and they have complimented you on a job well done.
Another way to encourage referrals, is to give them. If you refer someone else business they will be much more inclined to refer you prospects in return.
Remember if someone refers you someone they know they are risking their own reputation and if they have received a recommendation from you they will feel somewhat indebted to encourage them reciprocate.
This phycology is the basis of the networking group concept of “givers gain” which essentially means if you give a referral you will get in return.
Business networking groups they operate a forced version of this and members are told to give referrals to others in their group simply by virtue of the fact that they belong to the same networking group. Companies like the BNI (Business networking International) exert a lot of pressure on their members to do this form of referral at the threat of being expelled from the group if they do not pass enough referrals. The success of these networking groups worldwide show firstly how difficult it is to get new business and is a proof how effective referral giving is.
The most important asset in a business is reputation and reputation is defined as how to customers speak about your business and service and how do they speak about your business when you are not there!
The biggest mistake you can make is to ignore what your customers are saying. The world’s best companies like Apple, Disney and Amazon did not magically create a product or service that their customers love. They listened to their customers and made continuous improvements to get to the point where they are now.
It is only through customer feedback that you can identify – and stay ahead – of these changing expectations. If you are late to improve and accommodate these changing needs, you risk annoying customers.
On the flip side, if you stay ahead of the trends, you will exceed expectations and create happier customers. These happier customers will fuel growth because they will tell others about your product or service.
Improving your product and creating better experiences for customers is another essential ingredient to success. In our technology-driven world, If you’re not constantly improving, you’re falling behind. For instance a couple of years ago, you could have been forgiven for not having a mobile-friendly website, but now, you risk losing customers and new business opportunities if you don’t have one.
Another area is accessibility. It is a sad fact that in today’s fast moving and accessible world, one is expected to be available almost all hours of the working day. If someone cannot get hold of you by phone they will try by text, email or any other communication method that you might have.
If you run a business or service where you are not always available having a real or virtual secretary will vastly improve your customer’s experience. You might miss opportunities or existing customers might leave you even if your service is great but they cannot get hold of you when they want to.