6 Tips for Getting More Sales Referrals

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Like any other B2B business, hardwood lumber professionals are always seeking more sales opportunities and new customers. Whether you are a hardwood lumber manufacturer, distributor, wholesaler or importer, gaining additional customers is always a good thing.

We like to think that our industry is very much rooted in relationships. Over time, we have found that one of the best ways to establish new customer relationships is through referrals. Maybe you have found the same. If so, how do you approach gathering new sales referrals?

Here are six proven methods we believe help generate more B2B sales referrals in the hardwood lumber industry:joel bob

1. Be sure your business is ready to act on referrals.

Before you approach customers or others in your network, it’s important to make sure your business is ready to act on the referrals you’re soliciting. How would you assess the quality of your products? The degree of customer service? If any aspect of your business is less than excellent, make whatever improvements are necessary so that when you ask for referrals, you can approach the leads you receive with complete confidence that whatever a prospective customer asks for, you can provide.

2. Remember to ask!

It’s surprising how often businesses simply neglect to ask their customers for sales referrals. Sometimes that request gets buried within some other communications where customers may easily overlook it, and then nothing happens.

“Do not ask for referrals once and then forget about it,” writes Peter Geisheker, head of The Geisheker Group, a B2B marketing consulting firm. “It is important to keep reminding your clients to recommend you.”

When’s a good time to ask? One golden opportunity presents itself upon completing delivery of your products or services, and everyone feels good about the transaction. Other opportune moments include when you receive a complimentary email from a client or someone calls to tell you how satisfied they were with a recent exchange.

3. Make the referral process easy.

Sometimes a client or other potential referrer is happy to recommend your business, but lacks the time to prepare a message or craft an introduction on your behalf. B2B sales referral experts urge businesses to make the process as easy as possible by: A proven best practice is to provide your contact a “forward-able” introduction with relevant background and contact information that they can send along to a prospect on your behalf. (For example, you can request an introduction via LinkedIn or another social media community.)

The easier the process for referrers, the more likely they’ll follow through on your request.

4. To get referrals, give referrals.

A willingness to offer referrals, as well as ask for them, just makes good business sense. Not only does this foster goodwill, but you can genuinely help a client by introducing them to a business you know will benefit from their goods or services. After awhile, you’ll become known as a reliable source for recommendations, which makes asking for them both easier and more integrated into your company culture.

5. Look to social media for potential leads.

Social media is a great way to connect with prospective customers, but it’s also fertile ground for referrals. Refine the wording on your Facebook page, Twitter account, LinkedIn profile and other platforms to “guide a B2B lead steadily along a response path.” Look for popular industry-related groups and start taking an active role in discussions. Become known as a dependable and knowledgeable source of information.

6. Offer content of genuine value.

Speaking of information, rather than view your business website merely as an introduction to your company, work on providing blog posts and articles that serve a genuine need in your industry.

By remaining alert to ongoing and future trends—and by offering answers to the problems your customers face—you’ll establish the enviable reputation as a thought leader and a willingness to help others. Having such a reputation keeps you “top of mind,” enhancing the likelihood that your clients and others in their network will happily refer others to you.

At Baillie Lumber, we stand behind the professionalism of our employees and the quality of our products. We strive to be a resource for our customers andare known to regularly share our knowledge of the market with our customers. If you know of someone who could benefit from using Baillie as a hardwood lumber supplier, please let us know. We’d love the referral!

Tony Cimorelli
Baillie Lumber Co.
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

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