Have you asked for a referral lately? There are at least six times when you should ask for a referral.
1) When a customer voluntarily suggests that your product is incredible.
2) When a customer sends an unsolicited testimonial.
3) When a customer refers someone to you.
One time someone called me with a referral. After thanking them for the referral they offered, I said, “You know what? You must have 10 people that fit that profile. I bet they'd all be interested in using our service.”
The guy told me, “Oh yeah, I have another half-dozen people. I thought about giving you all of them at the same time, but I know you’re a small company. I figured I’d give you one at a time.”
My answer was, “Oh, no, no, no. Give all of them to me now. I’ve got a staff.” The guy gave me several more names. Now if I hadn’t asked for additional referrals out of shyness, embarrassment or politeness, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to sell to those additional people!
4) When a customer admits, you've saved their rear end. That's called psychic debt. They owe you a name.
5) When a strategic partner tells you about an association they've joined.
6) When you've completed a project with a customer.
Ask for a name right away. Now some people may say, “Wait a second. I completed the project, but isn’t it a little grabby to ask the person for a referral so fast? What if they don't yet believe in you 100% and they're waiting to see results that validate their gut feeling that you’re the real deal?”
First of all, don't overthink it. Secondly, assume a person comes to me and says, “Great. We did this deal. Who else in your circle of friends would enjoy having access to the same benefits?” At worst, I'm going to say, “Listen, you've been really good in the sales process and I have every reason to believe that what we bought from you is going to perform as promised. But you know what? I feel a little uncomfortable giving you referrals until I can see at least 60 or 90 days of actual operation... Are you okay with that?”
Now what does that mean? He's giving you the license to call him for referrals within three months! Not too shabby an outcome, right?
If you get the permission to call someone within 90 days and you don't call him, you're an idiot. You should put them in your Outlook calendar as a must-do call exactly 90 days from that day, because now you've got that one in the bag and the customer is going to remember the conversation.