You’ve closed the deal. Well done. And you’re reasonably certain your new customer is benefiting from your service. Who better to ask for a referral to new customers than a happy customer? Referrals work because people use their networks as heuristics for who to trust and where to focus time/energy. Basically a referral adds trust from the start, which means that the sales process will likely flow more quickly and with less hesitation.
When asking for the referral, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Timing → if they just signed up to your product, it’s probably not the best time to ask for their help. Wait until you see that they’re using it and more importantly, benefitting from it. A few months of customer stickiness is a great indicator.
- It’s OK to ask → there’s nothing wrong with asking for a referral. Sometimes your customers will voluntarily make them, but more often than not you need to ask. If you don’t ask, you won’t receive. And if after asking, your customer doesn’t want to, try to find out why. You might be looking at a customer who is about to churn and can be saved.
- Make it easy → as with all communication, we need to remove any friction. Identify companies that they’re connected to on LinkedIn and ask for specific 1-2 specific referrals. If you’re not sure, at least communicate exactly what kind of company/person you’re looking to connect with so they can narrow their search.
- Plant a seed early on → as you’re closing the deal you can always plant a seed about asking for a referral later on by saying something like: if in a couple of months X product lives up to everything I’ve told you and adds the value I’m confident it will, would you refer me to a couple of companies you think could benefit from this?
- Follow through → a referral is not a closed deal. The same persistence and value-based communication is required as with normal outreach.
Customer referrals are a great way to generate new business when it’s appropriate to do so. Many companies love to share value with their peers so if they’re happy with your product/service they’ll want to share the good news with others. Take advantage of it so that it benefits your company but makes the referring customer look great as well. They are putting trust in you, so don’t make them look bad with sloppy communication or laziness. It can easily turn into a Win-Win-Win.