How to Get Quality Customer Referrals

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New sales leads can come from anywhere, but it’s been demonstrated time and again that customer referrals often generate a higher conversion rate than other types of leads.

Why? Because generating leads “through word of mouth is basically about having customers, past and present, along with fans and ambassadors of the brand, out there spreading your message for you,” notes Lead Forensics. And, from the prospect’s point of view, “getting a referral … takes the hard work out of finding and vetting potential suppliers and provides them with a genuine account of what a product and its delivery has been like.”qualitycustomerreferrals

The hardwood industry is well known to be an industry that’s very much rooted in relationships. Over time, we’ve found that one of the best ways to establish new customer relationships is through referrals. If achieving this goal is on your 2022 to-do list, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

Be prepared to ask. Your sales team should always be ready to ask for a referral. This generally involves a personalized message "script", depending upon the targeted referral and other circumstances.

But first, make sure you’ve got all your ducks are in a row. Product quality and a high degree of favorable customer service is just the starting point. As we have said before, “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.”

Whether it be looking for an introduction to a hardwood landowner, an introduction to a sawmill focused on sawing walnut, or a truck flooring company that uses large quantities of Red Oak boards, asking for a referral has never hurt.

Provide materials to referring customers. A loyal customer is more likely to refer someone to your business if they have supporting materials and persuasive data on hand. Look into producing a small packet of information that you can provide to these customers, or perhaps links to pertinent website pages and materials they can forward, making it easier for them to pass along to their own referrals.

Pick the right time to ask. Obviously, the process of asking for referrals is dependent on timing. If, for example, there’s been some mix-up in a product order or delivery and your customer is (temporarily) dissatisfied with your business, it’s not a good time to make that request of the customer.

A more favorable moment “is when there’s a triggered action that shows they’re using the product and seeing success,” notes LeadIQ. Sometimes, “if you wait to ask for a referral, make sure [customers] are in the stage where they are starting to see success.”

Keep asking. A happy customer might be open to making referrals, but for a variety of reasons, the current time isn’t ideal for such a request. That’s OK! Encourage your sales team to ask for referrals on an ongoing basis.

When referrals are shown to be a viable element of the sales process, “ensure everyone asks every viable client at least four times a year” for referrals, says Cience. “Ask a minimum of once every quarter, and more often whenever the opportunity arises.”

Finally, if you want to get referrals, make it a priority to give referrals. This approach fosters goodwill among customers and other businesses, while also genuinely helping a client to a business you know will benefit from their goods and service. As time passes, your company will gain a reputation as a dependable source for recommendations, which makes asking for them both easier and more integrated into your company culture.

At Baillie, we strive to be a resource for our customers and are 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!

Have you had success in generating customer referrals? What techniques have you found effective?

Brett Del Prince
Baillie Lumber Co.
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

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