Three of the best things you can have as a salesperson are also the three things that seem the most difficult to get ahold of. Referrals, testimonials and case studies have all helped a salesperson at one time or another either get a great first appointment, or to help set appropriate expectations. But, I still get asked time and time again how one can go about getting more referrals, testimonials or case studies. The challenge is, you, as the salesperson, are the only one who can make any of this happen!
I'm sure you have some great clients you work with, those you can count on and they can count on you—truly a partnership. You've built a great, trusting relationship where you have brought significant value to their business. So have you asked for a referral? Do they know someone else who could benefit from working with someone like you? Many times when I ask salespeople this question they say, "No." And I ask, "Why not?!" It may make you uncomfortable, or maybe you just haven't thought of it, but challenge yourself to make a list of those great clients and ask them for a referral, today. If you do, those referrals could be your next new business appointments!
Testimonials are much like a referral. In combination with your professional brand online, great client testimonials can help you get your foot in the door much faster. My co-worker, Alina Diaz, said it best, "Personal recommendations are a powerful thing. Good or bad, they have the power to persuade us in one direction or another. Think about it—when most of us have little to no knowledge about a particular company or product, we typically ask those whose opinions we trust: family, friends or coworkers. As we all become more and more connected, most of us have also begun to rely on digital reviews." So when thinking about testimonials, don't forget about the impression you need to make online, as well.
On a regular basis, I witness the power of a great success story, a story where your client can boast about success they had using your products and services. Case studies provide the ability to help you through the sales process more quickly. But I also continue to see how difficult is it to get sellers to share their great success stories or to document a case study. Even though it's a powerful tool for sales, it's like sitting in a dentist chair… no one wants to do it! Roll up your sleeves and start documenting the process you used to present a solution and the result your client saw because of it. Include metrics that support your client's return on investment and also consider using a template so all your case studies are the same format.
You probably have other items you feel are essential to your sales success readily available to you, like your smartphone or purchase agreements, so why not also have referrals, testimonials and case studies? Consider the investment of time it takes to secure these as an investment to increase revenue and sales performance.