Referral Marketing as a sales promoter: 7 tips for good references


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A recommendation often has more impact than any of the seller's arguments. Not infrequently, it makes the difference that a purchase actually comes about. The secret? Numbers and facts are one thing. But here comes a human in the game.

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Oliver Schumacher Oliver SchumacherOliver Schumacher is sales trainer and speaker.

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Referral Marketing: The personal aspect

A reference is an extremely effective sales tool. A recommendation is almost always made by a satisfied customer. It is not just that the “thing” fits that is decisive, but the personal aspect.

Namely the assessment and satisfaction of the customer. Through this “common cause” the seller and the new customer meet on the emotional level. This has a positive effect on a degree by supplementing the subject level with the human factor.

Trust as Sales Foundation

If someone trusts in something, he is happy to recommend it. The one who receives, hears or reads the recommendation trusts in it because he trusts the one who recommends.

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Be it because a personal relationship exists, a well-known one Company or a well-known brand behind it or simply serious services are offered. Compared to advertising such an assessment is perceived neutral or objective, since it does not come from the provider itself.

Instrument for customer loyalty and customer identification

No dissatisfied customer would give a positive reference to a seller. He would not confess to him, would not really suit everything. That is why references are a proven instrument for customer loyalty. When acquiring new customers, references for potential customers are important in order to build trust in the performance of a provider and in the quality of his service.

A recommendation can prove to be very helpful if a desired customer considers the reference provider to be credible. The consequential inference derived from this is that the positive business relationship between the seller and the referrer also translates to future collaboration.

Sales Manager: Trust in referrals

Sellers can already rely on a basis of trust with satisfied customers and use this as the basis for a reference request. It makes sense to ask the customer at the time of the transaction whether he can be quoted if everything goes as promised. Just after the "business" one eMail to send seems clumsy.

If the request is made after the fact, it should be done in a personal interview. That can also be by phone. Also previously announced online questionnaires are conceivable. The request for a reference can be made directly or only after the return and evaluation of the material.

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Sales Strategy: The customer must agree

Only curious and then rely on confidentiality acts unserious. Who a reference z. B. would like to publish on his website, should get permission for it. The customer must not be taken by surprise.

A wording hid in the contract that one may use, for example, the logo of the customer is to be viewed critically and not recommended. The Referee should by name confess to his statements. These should also be expressed in an authentic and personal way.

Use recommendations and references in a targeted manner

For convenience, the motto "Much helps a lot" is used, and sellers enclose as extensive a reference list as possible with their written offers. It is more effective to use specific references that suit the target group of the recipient of the offer.

Support is also provided by good video or audio references (eg with an interview) on the website. Via a link, they can also be in the eMail-Correspondence install. With a little instinct, the seller can thus provide his customers with additional information.

Keep references up to date as a seller

Big and small customers, long-standing and new customers - the better the reference providers correspond with the main target group, the more credible they appear. But whoever works with the same list for ten years should not be surprised if he does not arouse much interest. Recommendations from customers must be current, as well as content-wise and qualitatively attractive.

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The aspect that not only the seller benefits from a recommendation, can be used in the sales pitch as an argument. As the customer comments, he draws attention. With a link to his company homepage, this can still be supported. This is how the recommendation works in both directions.

Referral Marketing: 7 tips for a good reference

  1. The text should specifically describe what the success of the referent was. Ideally what was before.
  2. Complete first and last name, function and official company name make the recommendation serious.
  3. A photo of the reference provider personalizes the recommendation
  4. A company logo alone is anonymous. It should always be in conjunction with a statement.
  5. Too long texts are not read. Under no circumstances should references be reworded. Typos may be corrected. A highlighting of the main message makes very detailed references reader-friendly.
  6. References that sound too enthusiastic are implausible and rather the opposite.
  7. Decision-makers like to use numbers. In terms of effect, it makes a difference whether the reference for a sales trainer is "The seminar was very good and exceeded our expectations" or "The training enabled us to increase sales by 20 percent."

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  1. Holger Prieske

    Only in the B2B area is it a little unlikely that one company would give the other company the tip 'do it just like me'.
    The customers must not compete with each other.

    How references work can perhaps be learned from Amazon ... including the phenomenon of purchased references.

    • Simone Janson

      Thanks for your comment.

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