If you want leads that have a high chance of converting into customers, referrals are the way to go. Yet, most startups do a terrible job at really unlocking the power of referral sales.
The best time to ask a customer for a referral is just after they bought. You don't need to wait for them to use your solution for 6 months before you can ask them for a referral.
When they've just become a customer, they're excited about the possibilities, there's a positive momentum in your conversation. Capitalize on that by asking them right then and there.
A lot of customers will almost reflexively postpone or refuse to give you a referral. Do you know why? It's not because your product isn't good enough, but just because they're already busy, and you're asking them to put another item on their to do list.
If they postpone, just say: “Sure, I understand, I'm sure as time goes on someone will come to mind who would be a great fit for our solution and then you can always let me know. And right now, let's take 2 minutes to think of someone who could benefit from this”.
If they still refuse, just apologize and accept it. But my experience is that almost half of the people you ask for the second time will give you a referral even after they first didn't. That's almost a 50% conversion lift for saying two simple sentences!
Ask them to introduce you to the person - but make it easy for them. Don't make them think up the wording of an email - remove as much friction as you can. Give them a succinct email template that they can just send from their inbox.
If you've reached out to the person they referred, and that person also became a customer, have them send a thank you note to the customer who referred them in the first place. This way your customer will feel encouraged to refer someone else to you.
For more details (including scripts and templates) check out my blog post on how to do referral sales. Find out how our sales CRM can help you grow your startup! Visit Close.io and sign up for your 14 day free trial, or claim your free Startup Sales Course to improve your sales skills.
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