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Monday, March 26, 2012

Three Steps to Get Referrals from Your Clients

This is one of a series of articles by Mónica Arias, Excellence Expert specialized in Sales & Customer Service for luxury brands based in Buenos Aires, Argentina. These articles will focus on ways that sales and marketing professionals in the jewelry and luxury industries can improve their techniques.

Have you ever made an “all of a sudden,” unexpected sale just because you were referred to by one of your clients?

If you never experienced this exciting emotion, I highly recommend you take into account and put into practice these three simple steps that will add value to both your work and your income.

I cannot stress enough the importance of counting on a strategy like this in today’s business environment. It is crucial because there will always be moments when, for whatever reason, you just cannot reach your established sales goal. Yes, I have been through that, and I know how frustrating it can be: no matter how hard I tried, how much energy I devoted to my work and how connected I was with my clients, my efforts were sometimes not showing any results … or so it seemed.

So one day I decided I wanted to change that. I knew I loved what I did and was pretty good at it, I also knew my clients trusted me and the products and services I offered, so I concluded I needed to ask them for referrals.

But, how do you start doing this without sounding like it’s a burden for them or without making them feel obliged or uncomfortable?

You can do this by applying these three techniques:

1)    As soon as you have closed and cashed your next sale, invite your client for a brief informal conversation where you can talk about the great times he/she is going to enjoy with the piece/s they have just purchased from you. After the talk, ask them the following question: “I am so happy you are already enjoying your new XXX, and, as you know I really love to offer this beautiful pieces to as many people as possible, is there any person you can think of that I could send an invitation to come over for a drink? It would be lovely to receive them and of course you could also accompany them….”

2)    Call up your clients every so often and ask them for referrals (you can use a similar question as the one above). Hard as it seems, if you have worked out your relationship as I have shown you on my past articles, this will be a natural step to make and, more often than not, your clients will be delighted to give you some contacts. Be ready to get eight “No, I am sorry” answers out of 10 calls (on average). It doesn’t matter, thank your clients anyway and follow up with the two new contacts collected.

3)    Go out, mix and network. Ahá! If a bell is ringing, it means you never considered events (social or business) as an option for getting more clients. Trust me, it is a fantastic source of acquiring clients and therefore, future referrals. Check on your local chamber of commerce, chances are you will find an event or two where you could find some possible ideal clients to interact with.

Today´s world is evolving towards a new understanding of the nature of human communication. It is really a must to be able to do it frankly, adding value and offering help as much as you can. Your customers will be your best allies when you need them if you have planted the seeds of excellence in your relationship with them throughout the years.

Learn to develop this strategy and enjoy a stable forecast of your sales conversion, no matter how difficult or complicated the economy around you may be.

Mónica M. Arias
Excellence Expert: Helping you discover how to reach your next level through excellence.
Copyright 2012

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