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A Happy Customer is Your Best Salesman

Posted by Philip Kreindler on 08-Sep-2014 17:02:00

 Using referrals to gain new business

customer_best_salesman_blog_image“That coat looks great, where did you get it?” “Do you have the number for that builder you used for your house extension?” “I went to that new bistro by the station yesterday, you should try it”. Referrals are part of everyday life, we ask friends for recommendations and recommend places to our friends. But do you make the most of referrals in business?


Business is like the rest of life

You are happy to recommend a builder, a restaurant or a film so why not a supplier in business? The truth is most customers you have done a good job for are more then happy to make recommendations, but you usually have to ask. And you have to make it easy for them.


Old school methods and how to use digital

Digital referrals especially using LinkedIn can be very powerful but first of all let’s look at a more traditional way of getting a referral. What you want is for your customer to refer you to a specific prospect saying what a great job you have done for them. 

The first thing to get right is the timing. You need to wait long enough for the customer to see what you have actually done and be pleased with it, but if you wait too long they may be less motivated to do you a favour.


Make it easy for them

Here is the process I follow and recommend to you.

  1. If possible, ask them in person (at a meeting for instance) or by phone if they will recommend you – it’s easier to ignore an email than a personal call

  2. Then write them a letter or email asking them to recommend you to a specific contact

  3. Include in the letter the text you want them to send – make it flattering to you but don’t exaggerate


Below is the kind of letter I mean to ask for a recommendation, but this is just an example.




Dear Richard

I was delighted to receive your feedback about the positive effect Winning Complex Sales is having on your business. You can contact me anytime to review an important proposal or help you prepare an executive meeting.

I was wondering whether you might know other sales leaders in your network facing similar challenges in B2B selling. Ideally, they should be people responsible for revenue or who would benefit from a sales improvement program. 

Does anybody come to mind? To save you time I would be pleased to draft a recommendation.

And as a small thank you for each referral, I offer you a Deal Review for an important opportunity, free of charge. This would maximize your company’s return on investment from the sales training.

I am looking forward to receiving your feedback to my suggestion.


Yours kindly





Digital recommendations

The Internet is becoming increasingly important in all parts of our life and certainly in selling.  The sites that matter may vary depending on your business but for most people, at the moment, LinkedIn is the most important site. 

First get your own profile sorted. I will probably write a whole blog on just this before long but for now just make sure your profile is up to date and relevant to the target customer you are hoping to be referred to. While you are at it, take a good look at the prospects’ profile.

Then, this is the process for targeting people who are outside your existing network.




The number of times you can do this depends on your LinkedIn membership. It is very limited if you have a free membership but you can pay to upgrade and increase the number of introductions you can send.

You can also ask your network for recommendations which you can publish on your profile. You can send up to 200 requests for a recommendation via LinkedIn emails and you can read them and choose to publish on your profile or not.


What’s in it for them?

The best way to get recommendations is to give them – this applies especially to LinkedIn. I would strongly recommend writing a recommendation for someone on LinkedIn before you ask for something back. As for off line recommendations, you are asking for a favour so make it clear you are happy to do a similar favour in return.


Recommendations on what to do next

  • Review and refresh your LinkedIn profile

  • Make sure all your satisfied customers are invited to join your network

  • Look at who is in their network and identify potential target customers

  • Decide if an approach through LinkedIn or by email is the most likely to succeed

  • Go get that introduction!



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