Tip #3 – Get in contact with your customers
This is the third tip in our series about how to overcome ‘resistance’ to asking for customer references that you can use in your sales process (note: download our full worksheet with all the tips below).
When it comes to business, problems frequently disguise opportunity. If you haven’t been in contact with your customers, then this is a good time to change that. Because while you can ask for references out of the blue, it’s even better to regularly check in with customers, to gather their feedback and to see this as a great chance to see how they are and how you can best serve them.
First, schedule some time when you can focus on contacting customers. Don’t think of it as ‘getting references’ – think of it as having some great customer conversations.
We’d recommend assigning yourself at least an hour with no distractions. Switch off email, instant messaging and focus entirely on contacting potential references.
Then get in touch with your customers. It could be to just say ‘hello’ and seeing how they are; it could be to update them on a new feature or service you have; or to offer them some kind of help or support.
Note: When we say ‘speak to your customers’ we mean don’t just email them. Yes, we know that email is accessible and you may see it as non-intrusive. If you do insist on emailing them, then we would use this as a precursor to a phone call and an actual conversation – so you can use email as a request for a time in their schedule. But don’t just email them (or message them on LinkedIn) and leave it at that. This is a great opportunity to engage with your customer base – and then to ask for the really juicy stuff including feedback, references and potential referrals.
We’d also recommend thinking about how this could be something you regularly schedule and have as a repeatable activity – perhaps once a month. Add it to your calendar and commit to spending that time on your customers (after all your business is all about them).