Whenever I ask a group of salespeople why they do not always ask for sales referrals the response is usually one or more of the following:
- They are nervous, apprehensive and fear rejection
- They forget to ask
- They feel it is rather demeaning and they might sound desperate and are almost begging for business
- They do not know how to ask effectively
- It never seems to be an appropriate time to do so.
Here are my views on the first in that list…
It is perfectly OK to be nervous, apprehensive and a little fearful. Top athletes, top performers in every field suffer from nerves, apprehension and fear. I have worked with some top stage presenters. I have coached other presenters, politicians and chief executives of some well know companies on presentation skills and I can assure you that before they take to the stage, they are frequently nervous, apprehensive and fearful. Some even get physically sick. But they still go on, they still perform and so should you. It was Woody Allen who said ‘90% of success is just showing up’ and 90% of success in gaining an ongoing stream of referrals is just asking.
If you don’t like rejection – tough! As salespeople, we get paid to sell AND we get paid to be rejected. Have you ever been into a shop to have a look around and the assistant came up to you and asked ‘May I help you?’ You probably said something like “No thank you – I’m just looking”. You rejected them. Did they go off into the storeroom and sulk and vow never to ask anyone if they could help them ever again? No of course they did not. It is their job to ask that question. It is what they are paid to do.
You too are going to have to face rejection when you ask people for referrals. Ten to fifteen per cent of your customers or clients are never going to give you a referral. The only way you are going to find out they are never going to is to ask them, and more than once. Each time they will say NO!
BUT 85% to 90% will give you referrals if you ask for them effectively.
If you are apprehensive, nervous, fearful and don’t like being rejected, that’s OK. But if you are not prepared to overcome that and ask anyway, I will be blunt; maybe you should not even be in sales. It is what you are paid to do and no doubt very well paid indeed – almost certainly more than most shop assistants.
For my responses to the other four reasons, get my latest book Winning Sales Referrals – a complete step by step process to winning all the sales you could ever want – just from referrals. It’s available here and of course on Amazon. Just search for Winning Sales Referrals.
Here is what one reader wrote to us recently:
“I have just done a campaign based on your fantastic book ‘Winning Sales Referrals’ and it has had superb results with some people providing as many as 24 referrals.” Alex McBarnet. CEO The Bushcraft Company.