5 Tips for Getting Direct Sales Referrals

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Whether you’re starting out in direct sales or have been running your own direct sales business for years, getting consistent referrals is a key component of your success. Referrals, or personal recommendations from others, is one of the best ways to build your direct sales business. A referral means that your friends and customers trust you enough to tell others about you. What could be better than that?

Of course, the goal then is to get as many referrals as you can. But how do you do that? Here are five ways that work:

1. Business cards will bring referrals.

In the world of online marketing, business cards are becoming almost extinct. But these little babies are still worth their weight in gold (and then some!). Have some business cards printed with your full contact information including name, title, company, phone number, email address and URL. You can include your physical address, but unless you have customers coming to your home, there’s really no need.

Begin the day you get the cards from the printer to share them with anyone who will take one. Drop a few in the teller’s box at the bank. Leave a couple on the table for your server when you eat out. Stash one in a book or two at the library. Staple one to a small sample or goodie bag and give them to day care moms, cleaners, cashiers, and anyone else you talk to. Business cards are a tremendous, low-cost marketing tool that will do a great job of getting your name out in your local area.

2. Reward anyone who gives you a referral.

Offering a small gift, a discount or a special service to anyone who gives you a referral, lets others know you value word of mouth marketing. An easy way to get referrals is to write something like “10% Discount for Every Referral” or “Free Gift for Every Referral” on the back of your business cards. Add a line that says “Referred by…” and give a few to everyone you know. Encourage friends and customers to write their names on the cards before they hand them out, and see how quickly new referrals start coming in.

3. Ask everyone you know for referrals.

If you approach someone to host a show and she declines, ask her if she knows anyone else who might be interested. The same is true for prospective customers, recruits or anything else. Make asking for referrals a habit, and the number of referrals you receive will increase dramatically.

4. Trade referrals with other direct sales consultants in non-competing businesses.

If you sell beauty products, trade referrals with a home decor representative. Or if you sell candles, trade with a pet products consultant. Be cautious that you trade only with consultants you know won’t abuse your customer contacts. Better yet, offer to send a letter to your customers referring your consultant friend and ask her to do the same thing for you.

5. Give referrals to others.

Know the adages, “Give to get,” and “You reap what you sow”? Those phrases contain a lot of truth! If you want others to refer business to you, begin to refer business to others. It doesn’t even have to be the same person, but the act of sowing generosity by promoting others will return to you in the form of referrals for your own business.

6. Brag about the referrals you receive.

Let prospects and customers know when you receive a great testimonial or recommendation. Post it on your website, print it in your newsletter, include it on a flyer. Authors do this when they print those blurbs on the back of their books. No reason a direct sales consultant can’t do the same!

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