Of equal importance to your relationship with your client is your client's purchasing experience. Just because your client trusts you doesn't mean he or she had the purchasing experience they wanted. On the other hand, just because your client had a good purchasing experience doesn't necessarily mean they trust you.
To get the QUANTITY and QUALITY of referrals you want,
your client must trust you
they must have the purchasing experience THEY want,
not the one YOU want to give them
Although we prefer to treat all of our clients the same, each is an individual. Each has their own idea of what they want to happen during the course of the sale. Certainly it is easier on us to treat them all the same, doing the same things the same way for each client; but that's simply trying to make it easy on us rather than trying to give each client the experience they want. To generate a large number of high quality referrals, we have to change our perspective and rather than trying to make the purchase as easy as possible for ourselves, we have to concentrate on delivering the exact purchasing experience each individual client wants.
That's a tall order. It means getting out of our comfort zone. It means taking on more work for ourselves. It means really getting to know our client's wants and expectations rather than assuming we know what they are.
You earn referrals by
giving each client what they want,
not what you think they should want
To do this you have to talk to your client. You have to ask them to clarify exactly what they want to happen during the course of the sale. That is, you have to find out what their expectations are because meeting those expectations is how you earn their referrals.
This idea of asking clients to define their own purchasing experience is not only a foreign concept for many salespeople and business owners, it's a foreign concept for most clients. More than likely, you'll be asking a question that they have never been asked before. That alone begins to set their purchasing experience with you apart from any other they've had.
But more important than beginning to differentiate yourself from any other salesperson they've dealt with, by specifically asking them to design their own purchasing experience you:
1. Establish objective criteria for them to decide if you've earned the referrals
2. You have the opportunity to address any unrealistic expectations they may have right up front to insure those unrealistic expectations don't become issues later
But how do you deal with existing clients that you didn't have an opportunity to go through this process with during the sale? Naturally you can't go back and recreate the purchase; but you can make sure that they are happy and satisfied with your performance and their decisions. If they are, you have a relationship that can be leveraged to help build your business.
If, however, you discover they have issues with either you or your product/service, you have some work to do before you can expect to successfully leverage the relationship. Rather than seeking referrals or an additional sale, your job is to mend fences, to put your relationship and the purchase back in order. You must correct your client's issues before trying to leverage your relationship by:
• Discovering what the client's issues are
• Asking point blank how you can make it right
• Either doing exactly what the client wants or if that isn't possible, finding a resolution satisfactory to the client
• Implementing the resolution making sure that you know what your client expects to happen and that you do exactly that
Once you are completely satisfied that you've built the trust with your client and their purchasing experience meets their expectations, the third pillar comes into play-Your Client's Relationship With The Referred Prospect
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