How To Generate Leads And Referrals From Existing Clients

Generate leads from existing clientsIn every relationship there is a way for both parties to benefit from the other individual. The world of business, especially in sales, is no different.

A sales management team should teach their employees to use their relationships with clients as a leveraging point for obtaining leads and referrals for potential new business. Having a reference from a fellow professional is one of the easier ways to bypass the formalities that exist between salespeople and customers.

Partnerships are a way that representatives can get ahead in their specific vertical or sector. Salespeople can leverage each other’s databases and knowledge, along with participating in joint calls together, according to Heather Kivett, President of Resolution Systems, Inc., a sales training and consulting firm.

A salesperson can obtain some of the most qualified leads through this type of transferal and correspondence. The gap that exists between a representative and a potential client is more easily bridged through this type of introduction, noted the executive.

“Find people who are serious about these types of relationships and relatively exclusive in their area and provide complimentary services or products,” noted Kivett. “A high level of trust is required, but that core synergy is going to be one of the strongest referral opportunities that you’re going to get.”

Generating referrals from existing customers is something that can easily be done in an incorrect manner, and may even go as far as to jeopardize the relationship that a representative already has. It is better to not approach the client for the contact information and a recommendation for one of their peers than to go about doing so in the wrong way, said the executive.

Kivett noted that in the Resolution Systems Incorporated sales training program there is a very specific and rigid method for gathering referrals from existing clients or partners.

“My rules for referrals are never ask for a referral until you’ve earned the right to do so,” noted the executive. “Even though you’ve developed trust through the sales process and they’ve signed on the dotted line, the relationship is based on a promise versus deliverables.”

There should be an initial conversation that is both specific and open, as representatives who are asking for a referral need to be up front with their intentions. It should not be an off-hand thing that appears to be an ill-conceived attempt or an unprepared effort, according to Kivett.

It may also serve the representative and the company to couple the request for a referral with an update of the relationship that already exists, as bringing the client into the conversation is helpful in maintaining a sense of professionalism.

“When someone gives you a referral, qualify the name with your customer,” said the executive. “A lot of times people will give you the name of someone as a referral, but that doesn’t mean they want to buy, they’re qualified, or they know who you and your company are.”

If the referral is to a small business, the owner is likely to be busy and will be upset with receiving a sales call that they aren’t expecting. This type of correspondence could erase any chance of securing their business, regardless of the referral, according to Kivett.

“Spend time with the person who provided you with the referral to find out everything – who are they, do they know you/company/products, what is their position, what do they do and any other relevant information,” said the executive. “Go in armed with all the information.”