Referrals are the easiest sales you’ll make. It’s your job to tell a purchasing manager that Sunteck offers the best service available; that’s what he expects you to say. But when he hears it from a fellow purchasing manager then that’s something entirely different.
Always ask for referrals! Asking for referrals is the difference between middle-of-the-pack sales agents and star performers. And yet sales agents are usually terrified to ask for referrals. Don’t be timid. In our business, you have to ask for what you want. If there’s not a competitive reason for a satisfied customer to object to giving you a referral, then they will about 70% of the time. Always start by asking for referrals within their own company, on-site and at different locations. Then, (while on the same visit or in later calls) branch out and ask for referrals to businesses in the area where they might know a decision-maker.
When asking for a referral, try and get this information: company name, contact name, new contact’s title, what they ship, address, telephone number, and how your client is acquainted with the referral.
I always ask the customer if he’d mind calling the referral for me. Often your customer will decline, so at this point you should ask permission to use their name when making the call yourself. I’ve only been turned down twice in my career on that request.
Never pass up the opportunity to give referrals to your customers. When you refer someone, be sure your customer mentions your name as the source of the referral. Be explicit. Say, “Give Mark a call, and please tell him that I referred you.” In many cases, you should even call Mark and let him know that a referral will be calling him. Remember the next time you speak to Mark to ask if the referred person called and how the situation turned out.
You can use testimonials instead of referrals. When you call on a prospect who was not a referral, then use testimonials in place of a business associate of his who would have referred you. Use testimonials to support your claims. Pick out the testimonials you will use in your presentation prior to each sales call. Use testimonials that are from companies that have similar transportation needs, ship or receive similar products, and are close to the same geographical location.
After receiving a compliment from a satisfied customer for a job well done, ask right then for a testimonial letter—they’re worth their weight in gold.
Using referrals and testimonials in your presentations and qualifying calls sends and reinforces the message that it’s a good business decision to trust you and Sunteck. Others have trusted you with good results.
People like working with a winner. In many ways it makes them feel like a winner too.
When you demonstrate your successes you make the customer more comfortable with their decision to buy from Sunteck. Send letters and articles to your customers and qualified prospects announcing your successes, like winning an award for outstanding sales results. The purpose of the letter is not to brag on yourself, but rather to thank your clients for their business and to make it perfectly clear that the only way you achieved this goal was by helping your customers achieve their goals.
Ask every prospect you meet for referrals, and ask every satisfied customer for a testimonial letter. If they don’t have time, offer to type up their comments and then get their signature. You’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain – ALWAYS ASK!
Repeat business and referrals are the two biggest keys to long-term success in transportation sales. You can ensure long-term growth by paying more attention to service.
“You can’t build a reputation on what you’re going to do.” – Henry Ford