Sales and Sales Management Blog

November 14, 2006

Trust Isn’t Enough

Filed under: prospecting — Paul McCord @ 12:20 pm

Reggie wants to know why establishing a relationship of trust with the client isn’t enough to get them to give quality referrals. Trust is the foundation of any referral generation model you have, but trust simply isn’t enough.

Clients are reluctant to give quality referrals because they are putting their reputation and image on the line with the person they referred you to. Clients assume that the person they refer you to will be more critical than themselves. Consequently, they must become comfortable not only with you, but with the idea of commiting their reputation with another person. This process of becoming comfortabe isn’t an immedate thing–it takes time and it takes observation. One of the key reasons you bring up referrals from the beginning of the relationship and why you establish up-front the exact criteria in order for you to earn referrals is to give the client the time to become comfortable and to them exact points of observation of how you work. Once they have are comfortable with the concept of giving referrals and you have proven your ability and commitment to live up to you promises, clients will give good quality referrals. Unfortunately, without going through the whole process, the client doesn’t have a basis to feel comfortable with providing referrals. The referral generation process acts as the trigger for bringing the client to a comfort level where they will provide the referrals you’ve earned.

Don’t skip the process. Often, salespeople who have learned the proper referral generation process fall back into their old habits. Referrals begin to come in, they get lazy and soon the referrals begin to dry up again. Why? They have lost sight of the process and have reverted back to their “do a good job and ask for referrals” methodology that doesn’t work. Every new client must go through the whole process in order to create that comfort level. Don’t get sloppy. Keep vigilent and the referrals will continue to flow.

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