Your Customers Are Your Best Sales Channel

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By Emmanuelle Skala, VP of Sales at Influitive

As a salesperson, there is nothing better than when you hear a customer tell you that they were referred to you. Why is that? Referrals are more likely to buy from you. At Influitive, the core of our customer-base comes from referrals and we believe that referrals are central to the growth of our business.

Why is this important for you? Reality Check! Buyers are in control. Stats suggest that 67% of the sales process already happens before your customers speak with you. I think that we need to embrace the new reality that a lot of the sales process is out of our hands. Instead, learn how to get your customers to sell for you.

In software, buyers look at G2 Crowd, App exchange, Trust Radius, blogs, etc. to figure out who they should be looking at. Geoffrey Moore, who wrote Crossing the Chasm calls the act of obtaining referrals “advocate enlistment.” It’s one of the core elements of any successful sales process and is critical to efficient growth, but for many companies this is the slowest gear in their arsenal.

Surround Selling

At Influitive, we call our sales process “surround selling.” At its’ core, our process is centered on a culture of advocacy supported by three high-level concepts: to Delight, Connect, and Educate:

  • Delight
    • The Best Sales Experience
      • You want to have a sales process that delights people. This creates repeat sales.
    • Gifts
      • Offer something relevant to their business.
      • Could be relevant to their personal tastes as well (e.g. parenting book for a new parent, etc.).
    • The Best Post-Sales Experience
      • Focus on having a great handoff between sales and post-sales customer experience.
  • Connect
    • Build your network – connect with your customers
      • Social selling is important.
      • Get on LinkedIn, Twitter. Communicate and review different products.
      • Build your network by adding your existing customers.
    • Build your personal brand – get advocates to review YOU
      • Make sure that people are recommending you on LinkedIn and Twitter.
    • Be a matchmaker with your prospects & customers
      • If you know people in your network that can help one another, help to make the connection.
      • Be a matchmaker, not just a LinkedIn stalker.
  • Educate
    • Reviews
      • Make sure that your customers are doing reviews for you.
    • Blogs, Forums, Social
      • Be present on blogs, forums and social presence in areas that are related to your organization and what they do.
      • One example – you can connect others to valuable conversations that are happening in the social space.
    • Rethink references
      • We use references strategically at the beginning of the process.
      • Tackle objections and move prospects through your pipeline.

Here are 3 Referral hacks you can use to obtain more referrals:

  1. Ask Champions & Customers to refer you.
    1. If they say they’re not interested, then ask relevant follow-ups.
    2. Ask for referrals to other companies in the same city, or previous organizations they’ve worked for. If your customer is based in Atlanta, ask for referrals to other organizations in Atlanta that you’re targeting.
    3. Don’t assume that “no” is the end of the conversation. Find ways to continue to engage and support them in order to get a referral.
  2. Honeymoon Period – Check-in with people 30 to 60 days after the sale, and go for a referral then. Make sure to connect with your prospects while they’re your strongest advocates.
  3. Search Your Customers Connections – LinkedIn has great features to search amongst connections. Use that information to ask for specific referrals.

One last suggestion – make it fun, easy and rewarding to refer your company.

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