Once you have made a sale to a customer, it is important to follow-up with a customer. As a Sales person it is important to deliver on the promises you make to customers. This means checking in with the customer throughout the implementation of your product or service and staying in touch with the customer after the sale. In this post, I am going to discuss how to earn referrals and testimonials.
During my time as an outside sales representative in New York City, making sales was the highlight of my day. Once I made a sale, I was itching to ask for a referral or a testimonial. In other words, I wanted to ask the customer the question Do you know of anyone who could benefit from my product and services? However, once I made the sale my inner voice told me not to ask for a referral. Now many people would want to ask because they feel that the customer bought their products or services and this shows a sign of trust. But what did the customer really buy? Yes the customer bought you and your products but the main thing that they bought was your promise to deliver value through your offering. How can you ask someone to put their credibility on the line when you and your solution are unproven? Yet many people do.
Asking for a referral right after the sale is a mistake because you have not delivered on your promise and you will seem ungrateful. The customer will think that you are not interested in building a relationship and that you just want to make a commission. Remember your job as a Sales person is to build relationships with customers and to make sales by demonstrating your products value to the customer. Once the sale is complete, it is your job to deliver on the promises that you make to your customer.
Now you are thinking well this is great but when do I ask for a referral? How do I ask for a referral?
I would ask the customer for a referral when you know the customer is happy with the implementation of your product or service. In other words, ask when you have delivered on your promise. If you offer more than one product or service try to cross sell or up sell the customer first. See if the customer will use more of your products or services or if the customer purchases more expensive offerings from you. Once the customer purchases more items from you, the customer is demonstrating that they like and trust you. This is the time to ask for a referral. I usually waited until this point to ask for a referral.
I would ask the customer for a referral by first thanking them for the business that they have provided and trusted me with. Then I would ask if they knew of anyone like themselves that would benefit from my offering. My experience has taught me that the customers were always willing to offer themselves as a reference. Customers who offered me a referral would let me use their names with other clients or pass my name along to their peers.
Testimonials are like referrals. Testimonials can come in a variety of forms. There is a testimonial letter and a testimonial video. The testimonial letter is when a customer writes a letter stating that you did a wonderful job for them and endorses you. The digital version of this letter is the recommendation feature on LinkedIn. The testimonial video is when a client speaks of your performance in a short video segment. When asking for a testimonial, offer the customer the option to choose the option they feel comfortable with. Also be sure to tell them what specific aspect of your service you want them to focus on. Once you receive a referral and/or testimonial, make sure to thank your customer. Should you get new business through a referral, provide great service otherwise your customer will not give you anymore! Keep your customer informed on the status of the relationship with the referral.
This is how to earn a referral and testimonial in a nutshell.
9 thoughts on “How to Earn Customer Referrals and Testimonials”
If the customer is truly receiving value, they should feel obligated to offer a testimonial. Yes, I realize that many customers feel they are giving up competitive information by offering testimonials, but there are various levels of testimonials, thus that hurdle can be managed. It is my belief that the requirement for testimonials should be in the original contract. We included it in our sales contracts. It allows the testimonial to be seen as something of value. If we could not deliver on our promises with a customer, we would not push them for a testimonial. They may have been satisfied, but not what I would define as loyal. If they are not loyal, you don’t have a credible testimonial that you can rely on.
Bill, thank you for your thoughts. You have some good insights. Feel free to subscribe!
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