Referral strategies abound. There are volumes of pages on the internet and books to read on how to get more referral leads.
Put them all together and you can sum up lead generation strategies in one word. That one word is – ASK!
Can it be that easy. Yes!
If it can be that easy, then why is asking for referral leads not something every salesperson does?
Some salespeople do ask.
They ask on every prospect interaction. They ask at networking, community, and social events. In fact, I even had a friend who visited for the weekend ask me for referrals just before leaving. He is representative of the top salespeople in his profession.
Reality is my friend, and others like him, are the exception.
Why is asking for referral leads is not so easy?
Salespeople have many excuses, oops reasons, why they don’t ask for referral leads as part of their sales process.
Some feel asking is like begging.
For others it is vanity. “Wouldn’t want the new customer to think I am not doing well”. That kind of attitude will keep your commission vouchers at the poverty level.
Another reason salespeople don’t ask for referral leads is fear.
Fear is actually a big reason why salespeople don’t ask for referrals. And that fear is not so much about knowing how to ask for referral leads. It is more about fear of rejection.
Like asking for the sale, asking for a referral lead might come back with an answer “I don’t give referrals.” Ouch. Yet, being told no is part and parcel of the sales profession. It happens. And it will continue to happen so long as you are in sales.
Rejection happens; even when asking for a referral lead. But like learning how to ask for the sale, there are referral strategies that can also be learned.
Remember, selling is an art and a science.
The art is the finesse. That comes with experience.
The science is process, system, and strategy. Similar to any science, the ‘how to’s’ can be learned.
So why do more sales people not ask for referral leads?
The following 3-reasons summarize the reluctance to ask. They are primarily the responsibility of management. That is, sales management is responsible for the implementation and overseeing of a sales lead generation process.
Why salespeople fail to ask for referral leads boils down to:
In any work environment, sales included, what gets emphasized gets done. If management never talks about the importance of lead generation, then why should a salesperson?
Although it is the salesperson who is responsible for asking for referral leads, it is management who is accountable for the lead generation process, assuming there is one.
And in sales environments where there is no dealership formalized lead generation strategy, salespeople should implement their own.
There may be many reasons why the owners have yet to implement a referral lead process. Don’t let that hold you back. Don’t let not having one place any less value on the importance of a lead generation strategy.
Implement your own. Don’t wait. Take action.
Similar to asking for the sale, how to ask for a referral is a skill. Like all skills, it can be learned.
You don’t ask for the sale as soon as you greet a prospect. Nor would you ask for a referral lead in the midst of closing the sale.
As in all things about selling, timing and tact are important.
When you should ask. How you should ask. What you should say. Each is learnable. Each is something that will become easier each time you ask for referral leads.
How can you learn about lead generation strategies if there is no system in your dealership?
The internet has numerous articles. Bookstores have shelves full of books on selling, many specifically focused on lead generation strategies.
Plus, there is training and coaching by experienced belly-to-belly salespeople. As in anything you want to learn, it is best to learn selling skills from someone who has actual hands on experience.
The importance of tracking is not about wins and losses. It is about identifying what worked and what didn’t work.
Wins and losses are about percentages. Real tracking provides insight into where changes need to be made.
Choosing not to track every step in your sales process is like throwing spaghetti against the wall. Some will stick. Most will fall to the floor. Question is, why did some stick and not all of it?
The analogy holds true for selling. Why are you able to close some deals and not others? Where in the sales process did you lose the prospect?
By not tracking each and every step in the selling process, you are leaving your future to chance.
And, what is often overlooked by less successful salespeople is their return on investment. For commission salespeople time with a prospect is an investment. Unlike an hourly job, you only get paid for production. Production is closing deals.
Time spent with a prospect whom you do not close is lost production. Lost production equals missed income.
It is that simple. If you don’t produce, you don’t eat. Tracking is essential to hone your skills and close more deals.
Referral strategies start with asking for referral sales leads. That’s easy, but not so easy. Salespeople need to implement asking for referral leads as part of their selling process.
If there is no emphasis on asking for referral leads in your dealership then lead generation is deemed to be of little importance. If that’s how it is in your store, you need to implement your own lead generation strategy.
Tracking is one of your most important selling tools. If you are not tracking your selling process, you have no idea where you can improve.
Tracking equals better time management. How? Because you will close more deals by making changes where your tracking identifies a selling process weakness.
JANUARY through DECEMBER
TRACKING FEATURES INCLUDE:
* CHARTS, GRAPHS, QUARTERLY SUMMARIES
* SALES ACTIVITY & SALES PROCESS ANALYSIS
* COMMISSION TRACKING
* BUSINESS OFFICE, SPIFFS, & BONUSES