When it comes to landing more sales meetings and closing more deals, it’s hard to top client referrals. When you start a conversation through a referral, you automatically have trust. This allows you to speed up the sales process since the prospect will likely come to you already predisposed to working with you.

Lisa Leitch, CSP2, founder of Teneo Results, says that referrals are one of the most powerful tools you can use to show exactly why someone should work with you. While you may know the importance of asking for referrals, you may not feel comfortable requesting them.

In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we share Leitch’s four-step guide to asking for more referrals and boosting your prospecting efforts.

Step 1: Make a list of clients to potentially ask. The first step to getting client referrals is determining who you should ask. Think about the clients with whom you have a great relationship. Maybe you have worked with someone for years or you have a customer who always raves about your service. Do you have a phenomenal success story with one of your clients? These are the clients you should put at the top of your list for getting a referral or testimonial.

Step 2: Establish a referral strategy. When it comes to getting solid referrals, you shouldn’t wing the process. Instead, Leitch recommends creating a habit of regularly asking for referrals. A yearly check-in could be just what you need. You could even reward clients for their referrals. Whenever you get a referral, be sure to show your appreciation, whether that’s with a handwritten note or a small, personalized gift.

Step 3: Specify your target audience. Keep in mind that your referrals should help you land meetings with your target clients or industries. You should never want to be referred to everyone, notes Leitch. Narrow down so you know who you want to target before asking your clients for a referral.

Step 4: Reach out to your referred prospect. Cold calls are tough, but when you have a referral, it’s a totally different experience, says Leitch. When you call or email the prospect, be sure to reference your referral’s name early in the conversation or in the beginning of your email. You might feel like you are name-dropping, but remember that this is necessary to gain the attention and credibility of the prospect.

Asking for referrals might seem intimidating, but if you have provided truly exceptional service, your clients likely would be happy to put in a good word on your behalf. Leitch notes that people are four times more likely to buy when referred by a friend or colleague, so don’t be shy in asking.

Start by considering who you want to task, get in the habit of asking regularly, note your target audience, and then confidently contact referred prospects. By putting in the work and following through, you are bound to get new leads from your efforts.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Lisa Leitch, CSP2, is a Certified Sales Professional with Distinction and is one of six accredited principal training partners with the Canadian Professional Sales Association. She is the founder of Teneo Results, a sales training organization.