BY SEAN MCPHEAT Good referrals can make the career of a sales professional a thousand times easier and more profitable. Everyone knows the value of a good referral, yet so many sales people have problems getting referrals. Following are three very effective tips to help you get more referrals right now. Ask Before the Close Most sales people have a real problem asking for referrals from prospects who do not buy. Once the sales person attempts to close the sale and gets objections, the “battle” is on. The sales person does everything to try to get the business right then and fails. At this point, the sales person is not very happy with this prospect and does not feel comfortable or confident in asking for referrals. In addition, the prospect may now feel uneasy due to the persistent closing attempts of the sales person. The prospect does not want to put that same “pressure” on friends or associates. The Solution: Ask for referrals during the sales interaction and long before you ask for the order. Once you ask for the order, a certain amount of tension ensues, no matter what–it is natural. So ask early in the sales interaction. Ask for the referrals when the prospect still has a great and positive impression of you and visa versa. Plan a time to get referrals early in the sales interaction before the pressure of closing the sales comes into play. Just an Introduction Remember that when you ask for a referral, you are only asking for an introduction. You are not asking the prospect for people who they think will buy your product or service. However, that feeling of a referral being a willing buyer, always surrounds the referral obtaining process. The Solution: One way to help the prospect relax and understand that all you want is an introduction is to phrase the referral questions something like this: Sales Rep:”Mr and Mrs Prospect; if your neighbours walked in the door right now, would you introduce me to them? I mean would you say, “This is Steve with ABC Widgets…” and allow me to shake their hand? Prospect: “Of course we would.” Sales Rep: “Well, that is actually how I make a living, Mr and Mrs Prospect. I meet people and shake their hands. From that, some people buy widgets and some do not, but it really doesn’t matter who does and who doesn’t. My main job is to meet and shake hands. So, not knowing how many of your neighbours might walk in the door tonight, while I put this proposal together, could you take a few minutes and jot down the names of a few of those neighbours who you would introduce me to, so I might shake their hand?” Pay the Prospect for Referrals Getting referrals is the perfect way to offer a discount. Offer to pay for referrals. You have been trying to close as the prospect continues to object. However, you feel that if you reduced your price by a small amount, it would clinch the deal. Do not just give away the money. Add value to your product or service and pay for referrals to lower the price. If you’ve already obtained lots of referrals obtained many referrals during the sales interaction, then offer the discount for the prospect to call and help you secure an appointment with one or more of those referrals. Ask for referrals and you will get them..