In my experience, there are two key elements that intimidate sellers and keep them from asking for a referral: ego and fear.
I think you’ll agree with me, salespeople have big, healthy egos. This isn’t a bad thing, because we are trained to believe that we can sell even in the face of adversity and when the odds are stacked against us. In fact, in order to really thrive in sales, you must be able to sell even when it seems as though the chips are down. <– Click To Tweet
On top of that, we prefer to sell by ourselves. Each of us consider our own methods to be the most effective. We also don’t want any help when it comes to executing these methods.
This lone wolf mentality is what makes it difficult for many salespeople to ask for referrals. When they ask for a referral, they feel as though they’re asking for help, which can be perceived as a sign of weakness.
I know this situation all too well because as a junior sales rep, I fell into the exact same trap. I used to hesitate while asking for referrals because I didn’t want to give off the impression that I was in any way desperate for business. The funny part about all this? I actually was desperate for new business.
Hurdles like these are important to overcome with your sales team in order to get them into the habit of referral selling.
Don’t forget, fear is another huge element that comes into play when discussing referrals (or lack thereof). While it’s true that salespeople face rejection on an almost daily basis, and therefore may build a sort of immunity to it, the last thing any salesperson wants is more rejection. Asking for a referral also opens up new doors for negative feedback. As a result, salespeople often avoid asking for referrals to keep their relationships running on a positive note and to deflect any additional rejection.
Selling to referred leads will allow your team to increase the number of their sales by large margins without adding a single minute to their work day or yours. It’s by recognizing and understanding where the problem begins when it comes to asking for referrals that you are able to search for a solution.
Encourage your team to push their egos aside and to recognize that rejection is a natural process in the sales world. By doing so, you allow your team to move past the two major obstacles that stops many sales people from asking for that all important referral.
In what ways do you encourage your team to ask for referrals?