Getting Referrals: The Seventh Step in the Selling Cycle

By Tom Hopkins

The seventh and final step in the selling cycle is to get referrals. After you close the sale, take a moment to ask for referrals. This can be as simple as asking, “Because you’re so happy with this decision today, think about your extended family and business associates who may also be interested in learning about this product. Who comes to mind?”

In a corporate situation, ask about other departments within the company that may need your same service. Then ask about other office locations the company has. Finally, ask about associates of the purchasing agent who work at noncompeting companies.

When you’re given the name or contact information of a new potential client, always ask for an introduction to the new party — by phone, email, or in person. If the client seems uncomfortable with doing that, at least get a quick email or letter of introduction that you may use when you contact the person.

If, for some reason, you and the prospective client find that this isn’t the best time to go forward with the sale, instead of just walking out the door and saying goodbye, make the contact a part of your network of people who can help you find other people who may benefit from your product or service. For example, another department in your prospect’s company may have people who could benefit from your product or service. Or the prospect may know of other companies needing your product. Don’t ever walk away from an opportunity to network.

Immediately upon leaving the premises or ending the call, drop a thank-you note in the mail or send a quick appreciative email to the person. This guarantees that your discussion stays fresh in her mind for at least a few days. During that time, the right lead for you may come her way, and if you’ve left a good impression with your thank-you note, she’ll be more likely to give you the referral.