April 18, 2012

The Most Powerful Tool in Your Sales Toolbox

By Patrick Mahan

Best-selling author, sales trainer and Customer Service guru, Jeffrey Gitomer, says: "Why are you inside making cold calls instead of outside earning referrals?"

Think about this. Cold calls are the lowest percentage sales technique. Referrals are the highest. So play the percentages! Invest more of your time and energy into actions that are most likely to earn referrals.

Hint: That usually means
nurturing current customers rather than soliciting strangers.

And keep this at the top of your mind... when approaching a new prospect,
always try to go through a mutual friend. The more you have in common, the more likely they are to accept you as someone they like, trust and would consider doing business with.

Above all, a loyal customer is the most powerful tool in your sales toolbox. Work hard to earn their trust and respect. Help them achieve their goals, satisfy their wants and fulfill their needs. In fact, engineer your entire relationship around doing things for the customer that will ultimately lead to a referral. It's like mining for gold - getting a referral is the gold nugget and it is the result of your hard work and sincere efforts.

If you have what you consider a loyal customer, but have never gotten a testimonial or referral out of that person (one that has lead to new business) then you might want to ask yourself a few questions... Have I nurtured this customer enough? Have I earned their trust? Have I helped them fulfill their needs and wants? Have I ever provided THEM with a referral? Have I ever asked?! 

Loyal customers are your greatest resource. They are the key that unlocks new customers. But remember... it's always about you helping them FIRST. You must give them something of substantial value BEFORE you ask them to reciprocate.

Ultimately, your long-term success as a salesperson is based on the quality of relationships you build, not the quantity of transactions you make. See yourself as a problem-solver, not a product-pusher.

And don't be afraid to ask! If you are afraid to ask for a referral, then that means one of four things... you lack confidence in either yourself, your product, your company, or your service. But when you believe in yourself, your product, your company and your service, then it is only natural that you - and your customers - would want to share that value with others.

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