It is really is shocking how many sales consultants we run into at dealerships who have 5,10,15 years experience in the business yet still get the bulk of their opportunities from floor traffic. In our experience, the closing ratio for repeat and referral clients is THREE TIMES that of new walk-in traffic. The key ingredient that allows these strong closing ratios is trust. The biggest roadblock you face with a new walk-in client is that they don't know you, like you, or trust you - YET. You have to work hard to establish rapport and trust. With repeat and referral clients that trust is already built - you have an existing relationship!
So why are so many sales consultants missing the boat with referrals?
Top Reasons Why We Don't Ask For Referrals:
We're complacent. We hope that the clients will tell their friends and family about the great service they received so why bother asking for a referral.
Scared. We are worried that the person you ask will not know of anyone or we don't feel confident they liked our service.
We think we'll sound pushy.
Why We Should Ask For Referrals:
It works. The odds of getting a referral go up in proportion to the number of times you ask for them.
If done correctly, we sound like we actually have some confidence in our profession and what we do. That confidence increases your client's confidence in you and your company (always a good thing).
How to Ask for Referrals:
When to Ask:
There are many opportunities to ask for referrals so don't limit yourself to what is mentioned here. The most logical and natural times to ask for referrals are:
1. During a follow up call or appointment.
2. During the delivery stage of the sale.
3. Whenever a customer compliments you on your level of service.
Prepare to Ask:
Setting up the best time to ask for a referral is important. Sometimes this can be done just by asking customer how they feel about the service they are getting (that is why asking for a referral during a follow up call is such a natural time). For example, "How is the new vehicle working out for you? And how was my service?"
Assuming the customer answers in the positive:
"That's great to hear, I try to provide a higher level of personal service than the competition. If you know of anyone thinking of changing their vehicle please pass on my card, I'd be happy to provide them the same personal service."
Making it Easy for the Customer to Answer:
You can make it easier for a customer to think of someone they may want to refer by narrowing down a group they might be affiliated with. For example:
"Mr. Customer do you know someone else that may be thinking about getting a new vehicle? Maybe someone:
You work with...?
On your sports team...?
In your family...?
In your neighborhood...?"
Final Word on Referrals:
Just remember the easiest people to work with are repeat and referral clients so start today. The key to getting referrals is to make asking for them a regular part of your day. Consistency is critical. If a customer does not know anyone that's ok - you asked, and "no" is a legitimate answer. Don't sweat it.
"Some will, some won't, so what, next!"