Everyone loves a mystery. Whether it be a Sherlock Holmes story or a police drama on television, they captivate us. What holds our attention is what we don’t know. If the writers have done their job, they plant the fear in you early. That fear keeps you wondering how it is all going to turn out.
The mystery of how clients feel about your products or services is often one we don’t want to figure out. As a sales and business development analyst, I’m often asked, “How do I drive new business opportunities from my client base?”
And the answer is really simple. Just ask your clients. Many Sales Leaders and Sales Professionals are fearful of this and they have a bunch of excuses as to why they shouldn’t do it:
- They don’t want to bother their clients.
- They feel if their clients like what they’ve done for them and appreciate it, they will refer them business.
- They don’t want to make their clients uncomfortable.
Those questions are just the beginning; I could go on. Remember, your clients are busy. They have to run their businesses and thinking about referring business to you doesn’t always enter their minds, even if they would make a referral in a heartbeat. Most times, all they need is a little prompting from you and they are happy to see who they can refer to you.
How Do I Ask?
First, you need to set up an appointment. This must be done in person! Don’t send an email or put it in the envelope with their bill. Ask the question the next time you’re in front of them and say, “Is there anyone else you know that could benefit from our product or service?” And you’ll be surprised the answers that you’ll get and the number of referrals you will receive!
What is the Value?
The best part about those referrals is there is no gate keeper, no rfp or long relationship cultivation cycle. You are referred in as a trusted advisor and now have the inside track to closing new business. The sales process will be faster, the value will be maximized and the chances you will have another source of referrals will be high!
So don’t be afraid to solve this mystery. If you get past the fear you will deepen your client relationships and close more business, pushing you well above quota and continuing to elevate you as a Sales Pro!