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7 Steps to Asking for a Sales Referral + Script Examples

Posted by Sean Huckstep | May 6, 2021

Leverage customer referrals for faster and easier lead generation

Sales thrives on lead generation. There are many ways to get new customers but one of the most overlooked methods is referrals. If you don’t get referrals easily it’s probably because you either have a fear of asking or there are some technical mistakes you are making when you do ask. To learn a better process for starting the conversation and what to say to your referral after getting their information, check out our 7 step process and script examples now.

Why Ask For Referrals?

What “referral” means in this case is when you as a sales rep or rep for your company asks a current customer if they know of any friends, family, or neighbors that would be interested in talking to you or wanting to know more about your service. This lead gen method is overlooked sometimes because reps either don’t think to ask customers for referrals or they’re scared to ask.

Sales referrals work because they help bridge the trust gap between you and the referred prospect. According to Sales Readiness Group, people are four times more likely to buy when referred to by a friend. Moreover, 92% of people trust referrals from people they know. 

The 7 Step Referral Process

Now that you know referrals lead to trust and more sales, this is how you start the conversation:

#1 Transition Statement:

  • First things first, thank them.
  • Build them up: “Thank you for who you are and making an investment in your future. 
  • Transition: “Maybe you can help me in another way.”

#2 Clearly ask for a referral (without using the word referral):

  • Relate with them: “Like you, I really prefer to do business with people who are friends or friends of friends. I’m looking to be introduced to people who might share similar values and beliefs as you.”
  • Create a buying atmosphere: “Based on who you are and who you know, who would be a good person for me to talk to? My goal is to speak with every person who needs to know about who we are and what we do. If they decide to work with us, great, and if not, that is okay.”

#3 Paint the Picture:

  • Put them in your shoes.
  • Tell them specifically who you are looking for: “If you were me [insert elevator pitch/what you do], who would you go see?

#4 Isolate the Options:

  • Start broad.
  • Identify their circle of influence.
  • Get specific.
  • Example: “Basically, I’m looking for anyone who… (list out as many specific criteria as possible). I know you are really involved in your [Circle of Influence] group. Who is the person you are closest to in the [Circle of Influence] group? Who did you sit next to at the last meeting?
  • Write down the referral.

#5 Write Down the Referral:

  • Don’t talk until they give you a name.

#6 Ask “Who Else”:

  • Do not get a pre-approach immediately.
  • Write down as much information as fast as possible.
  • Thank them for giving you a referral.
  • Ask “Who else?”: Thank you so much. This is really how I do business and this helps a lot! Who else might be a good fit to talk to?”

#7 Get Pre-Approach:

  • Decision maker’s first name?
  • What time are they home/in the office? “If you were me, when would you go to see them?”
  • What is their cell phone number?

Script Examples For Calling Past Clients to Get Referrals

Opening:

  • You: Hey is this [Prospect’s Name]?
  • Client: Yeah this is [Prospect’s Name]
  • You: Hey [Your Name] here with SalesRabbit, how is everything going?
  • Client: [Let them answer]
  • You: Great to hear. I was calling for two reasons, the first one was to get feedback and make sure everything is going well with your team using SalesRabbit. How is everything going with that?
  • Client: [Let them respond]
  • You: That’s great, what has been your favorite part so far?
  • Client: Helps keep track of things on a daily basis.

Transition:

  • You: That’s great to hear, you know out of all our customers that is a common piece of feedback that we get is [their response]. I’m glad to hear you are getting that benefit. Please continue to keep me posted with any good news you have. The second reason I was calling [Prospect’s Name] is it has been so fun getting to know you and your team over at [Company Name] and we love working and partnering with like minded people, I wish I had 10 people like you to work with everyday. I was cruising around on LinkedIn the other day and noticed that there would be several people that you are connected with that would be perfect for us to call on and one of those people is [LinkedIn Name] at [LinkedIn Company], how do you know him/her?
  • Client: [Let them respond]

Asking for Referrals:

  • You: That sounds great, it sounds like he would be a good one for us to reach out to and contact. Do you by chance have his phone number. What I’ll do is I’ll send you an email that you could send to him providing an introduction to me so you don’t have to do any work, would you be able to forward that email over to [LinkedIn’s Name] for me?
  • Client: Yeah, I can do that.
  • You: It also looks like you know [Next Referral you want to get].
  • Continue to get more referrals out of the same person.

Ways to Introduce Yourself to Referrals

  • Once you have the referrals and you want them to notify their friends for you. Read the person’s age and make your best guess at their preferred method of communication.
  • Choose 1 of the 3:
    • Call: Thank you so much [Client’s Name]! That really helps me out. One thing that I have found that most people appreciate, and that most of my customers prefer doing is giving a quick call over to the person that they are introducing me to. They like to do that so that their friends have a heads up that I’ll be touching base. Would you mind doing that?
      • Call Ideas: “Hi, is this [Referral’s Name]? Hi, my name is [Your Name] and my name might not ring a bell for you because you and I haven’t met yet. But the reason that I’m calling you is because you were recommended to me by a mutual friend we both know, [Client’s Name]. By chance, did he give you a heads up that I would be calling?
      • (Regardless of what they say) Well, he had the nicest things to say about you! [If possible, insert golden nugget/pre-approach for example]. He was telling me that you’re really into [….].
      • Great! Also, I’m just curious, how did you originally meet [Client’s Name]?[Let them tell the story]
      • That’s great. I have gotten to know him since he started using SalesRabbit for the last [Time they have been a customer]. I’ve been working with him to [insert elevator pitch, i.e. track his reps, help them define their sales process, create better lead distribution, etc.]
      • He mentioned that it might be worth it for me to give you a call and chat for a couple minutes. I know you work in the [Referral’s Industry] industry. How are you currently doing managing your sales team and the processes? [Let them talk]
      • Great, I would like to set up a webinar with you to walk you through what we do for companies like [Referral’s Name] and your company. Would this week or next week work better for you?[Schedule the appointment]
    • Text: Thank you so much [Client’s Name]! That really helps me out. One thing that I have found that most people appreciate, and that most of my customers prefer doing is shooting over a quick text to the person that they are introducing me to. They like to do that so that their friends have a heads up that I’ll be touching base. Is there any reason why you couldn’t do that in the next 24 hours?
    • Email: Thank you so much [Client’s Name]! That really helps me out. One thing that I have found that most people appreciate, and that most of my customers prefer doing is shooting over a quick text to the person that they are introducing me to. They like to do that so their friends have a heads up that I’ll be touching base. If I send you a little email that you can edit, would you be open to forwarding it along to your friend?
      • Email Template: Hi [Client’s Name], It was good to talk with you the other day. Thank you for the referrals. Would you please copy and paste the message below and email it to the referral(s) you gave me? That way they have a little heads-up when I call.
      • I hope you don’t mind, but I recently gave your contact information to [Your Name, Title] of SalesRabbit. [Your Name] is [one sentence summary of who you are and what you are doing to build credibility].
      • He is one of the best [insert what you do] in the world and I have found that a quick chat with him is, at minimum, educational and interesting.
      • [Your Name] will be calling you within the next week.

Start Asking for Referrals Now

If you still have any questions or worries about how to get referrals from your customers, talk to us today and we’ll help guide you to getting the referrals that’ll boost your business. This template might need an adjustment based on your company and services, but this is a basic way to start the conversation about referrals and start connecting more with your customers.

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