Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Finish Line in Sales

When I visit with many sales professionals and ask them, "What is the finish line or goal of your client transaction?" I hear the same response nearly every time. "To write the order."

While writing the order by definition separates sales professionals from professional visitors, there is one huge missing piece that is worth thousands or even millions of dollars. The referral.

Many people think that by asking for a referral, or introduction to someone who may enjoy your product or service; they will jeopardize the sale that was just made. If you did that poor of a job demonstrating the need for your product or service, then you deserve to lose the deal. There is no stronger form of advertising than third party recommendation. Here is how one of my friends in the flooring industry asks for referrals.

"Thanks for your order, Mrs. Jones. Could you help me out? I like meeting nice people like you who have floors in their homes. Do you have any friends or neighbors that you could introduce me to who have floors in their homes?"

The customer usually laughs and mentions a few people. Many weak sales professionals will hand the new client a stack of cards and say something like, "If you can hand a couple of these out and tell them to call me..." If you listen hard enough, you just may hear the cards hitting the garbage can on the way out the door.

The most effective way to capture those leads is to follow up with something like, "If you could just write down their name or address in my client log book, I'd love to just drop them a note and introduce myself."

You want to be the person in charge of your referrals. If you are leaving referrals in the customer's mind, you are leaving money on the table. The worst thing they can do is tell you "No". They can't shoot you and eat you.
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