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ROADS to Sales Success

Need More Sales? Ask For More Referrals!

By Dusty Rhodes

Developing more sales or enough sales is never easy. It is hard work. Planning, organizing, appointment setting, paperwork, reports, proposals, letters and notes and much more is required for sales success. The question is; why do we not ask for more referrals if more sales is the goal? Perhaps it's because the referral habit has not been developed. Perhaps the perception is that it's not part of the job and because it's not done consistently, results are minimal and so asking for referrals doesn't work. Wrong! Asking for referrals does work! The most successful people I have ever hired were the best at asking for and getting referrals. One salesperson asked for referrals on every call, especially when recruiting staff associates. He would ask everyone; the receptionist, the order placer, people on elevators, in line at the grocery store and at the health club. Everywhere he went he asked for referrals. What does asking for referrals for staffing personnel have to do with getting more sales? The answer is obvious: NO PEOPLE = NO SALES MORE PEOPLE = MORE SALES

In today's low unemployment market, asking for referrals and recruiting are as important as selling. If you want big increases in sales, try asking for referrals. Get your staffing team members involved. That also means your staffing associates (temporary employees), who represent the greatest potential for finding qualified people. Remember, more referrals = more people = more filled orders = happier customers = more sales = bigger paychecks, and so on! A committed program of asking for referrals will produce the results you are seeking in spite of a very tough recruiting environment. Start now and reap the rewards you deserve. In another situation, a salesperson I hired came from the insurance industry. In the insurance industry they are taught to ask for at least three referrals on every call, and, they always ask if they can use the person's name when they call the prospect. This is important because some people are reluctant, at times, to give referrals for that reason. Get permission first. Then, if the referral looks promising, follow-up as soon as possible. It's amazing how well this works. The point is simple. If you get a call from a salesperson who says someone you know referred them, they often gain instant credibility. Conversely, when just cold calling and you have not been referred, you are often perceived as an intrusion and just another salesperson from another staffing service with little or no credibility. The bottom line benefits of asking for referrals are more appointments, more opportunities to see and more sales success meaning bigger commissions. What could be sweeter than that? Being the best at asking for referrals is one of the many habits you need to learn on your journey as a sales professional. The key to success and greater sales is simple:

  1. Ask for staffing referrals everywhere. Don't be shy. Ask everyone you know or see.
  2. Ask for at least three referrals from your clients or prospects. What better way to achieve faster results?
  3. Don't forget to ask your staffing associates for referrals for both accounts and other potential staffing associates. This can be done in the interview and orientation segments of your acceptance process.

Asking for referrals is a component of sales excellence that can be a gold mine for you! Start digging in! Remember, the mother lode is in referrals. Ask for them!



I'm Satisfied . . . But I Won't Be Back!

By Richard J. George and John L. Stanton

Consider the following:

60% of so-called "satisfied" customers regularly switch companies or brands.

Last year, over 200 million Americans stopped doing business with companies that they were "satisfied" with.

90% of Americans "don't trust" business.

Failure to "delight" customers can have a disastrous effect (33% or more) on your profits. Clearly, the efforts-to-date to improve customer service have failed. Previous rules and metaphors have done little to halt the flow of buyers wandering aimlessly in search of real relationships with sellers.

Customer Delight, Not Customer Service

"Customer service", one of the most often mentioned marketing phrases, is also one of the most misunderstood concepts because it is usually viewed as an addition or complement to what the business is about. Customer service can either be viewed as a philosophy of doing business or a business tactic to correct bad service situations. Our approach is that of a philosophy, in that we want to make delighting the customer the objective of all our activities.

More Than Fixing and Satisfying Despite good intentions, most organizations do not know how to get and stay close to the customer, let alone know how to delight customers. In fact, when we talk about customer service, many managers indicate that this is not their concern because they already have a department devoted to providing customer service. Someone had to insure that the customer was satisfied. However, satisfaction has been viewed in the context of neutralizing or fixing a situation in which the customer gave some indication of dissatisfaction. It appears that for many customers, the term satisfaction represents nothing more than not being dissatisfied. It represents the absence of a negative state, rather than a positive affirmation. A recent large scale study (480,000) by Xerox as reported in the Harvard Business Review, demonstrated that the retention (repurchase) rate for so-called "satisfied" customers was only 40 percent. In addition, the customers who said that they were "very satisfied" indicated that they would be six times more likely to repurchase than those who indicated that they were simply satisfied. Can you cite an example of switching from an organization that delighted you? We can't. So let's change the classic definition of marketing and the formula for business success from customer satisfaction to customer delight. When do you delight a customer? Simple: when you exceed expectations. Keep in mind that we are not recommending that you delight customers because you want to win humanitarian awards or even to be liked. Truly delighting customers based on their expectations and standards should produce for you one or more of the following results:

  • more new customers,
  • increased customer retention,
  • increased spending per customer,
  • more understanding of your mistakes,
  • more tolerance of higher prices, and
  • less susceptibility to competitive enticements.





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