Just about every sales person is familiar with the power of referrals and the impact it has on selling and closing. But not everyone is so familiar with the referral's cousins: references and quotes. Both can help you build instant credibility and make selling easier.
A reference is a customer who is positively willing to attest about you, your product or service. When a prospect needs peace of mind or reassurance this is the kind of customer you want to have ready, willing and able. A good strong reference is as powerful as a referral because they act as an objective third part.
A client who gives you a quote is a real gem too. The written word is powerful. You can use the quotes on websites, letters, brochures, newsletters, e-mails faxes...just about anywhere. The more you have the more it is evident that you and your company are doing a good job.
How to Ask for a Reference or a Quote
The best time to ask for a reference or a quote is when the customer is still basking in delight with your service or product. At this point, they feel the need to reciprocate in some manner and are typically willing to help you. Here's what you say,
"Greg, I am really pleased that you've enjoyed our services. And I wonder if you can help me out? From time to time, could I use you as a reference for some of my prospects? Of course, I would give you a heads up so you're never caught off guard."
If Greg says yes, you've got it made. Just make sure you let Greg know that your name as been give out.
With quotes, the best approach works like this:
"Jeannette, I'm pleased that our product has worked so well for you. Jeannette, I wonder if you could help me out? Would it be possible to get a little quote from you that I could use on my letters or e-mails?"
If they are positively inclined then the next step is to make it easy for them. You do that by creating and providing a quote for them that they can endorse. This saves them time and it gives you the type of quote that works best for your situation. Here is what you say,
"That's great. Thank you. Jeannette, what I usually do is send over a quote for you to approve simply to make it faster and easier. If you like it just let me know. If you want to edit it in any way, shape or form, please do so. Or if you have something specific in mind, write it up and I'd be glad to use it. How does that sound?"
In this manner, the customer does not feel they have been painted into a corner with words that don't reflect their thoughts. Most however, use whatever you give them.
Get your happy customers working for you. Ask for a quote, or get a reference and your selling become easier and faster.
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