The above phrase makes me cringe every time I hear it. I shudder when I see a salesperson use the phrase, 'The kindest compliment you can pay me is a referral.' I was never able to say the word 'referral' on a sales call without being really awkward about it. It just never felt good.
The problem with a referral is that it is, by nature, selfish. 'I took your money, so please give me more people who'll spend their money with me.' If you can figure out how to ask that and make it sound good, I'm all ears.
The salespeople that do the best job getting referrals will always be the ones who believe they have to EARN referrals. The way that they treat their clients will always be the best way to earn their trust. When they have their trust, they will earn other business from it. That's a pretty abstract concept, I understand that, so here's a few ways to help goose referrals from your clients.
Who do you know that you might want to sit next to? This question is a terrific referral question because it's asking for referrals in a way that improves that client's experience at the games. It's a win-win.
Be the Ticket Insider: We live in a velvet rope culture. Everyone wants an insider, everyone wants access...and pro sports teams are really cool! People want 'insider access' to a pro sports team, so position yourself that way. 'I'm your ticket insider,' 'I'm your ticket guy,' 'I'm your ticket gal,' are all ways that you'll make yourself appear to be an insider...and people love to get other people access.
Care to Learn More: Who else do you know that likes basketball? Where do you work? What groups are you a part of? What charitable organizations are you involved with? Who else do you know that you'd like to share this experience with? All these are questions that drive a potential client to give more information INTO the conversation that can lead to referrals in real time, or down the line after you've shown value.
The lazy way to referrals is asking for them. It's also the most ineffective way. The best way to referrals is doing your job so well that people want to share the experience of working with you to others. That's what great salespeople do. Be great, get after it, and the referrals will come!
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!