Monday, October 31, 2011

Get Old Fashioned Referrals



Franklin Lyle (Frank) Bettger (1888 – 1981) was a salesman and self-help author. He was the father of longtime actor Lyle Bettger. He played Major League baseball with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1910 under the name Frank Betcher. He was demoted from playing time. Very disappointed, he went to the manager and asked why he was demoted.

The manager told him "You have no enthusiasm"
Bettger told the manager: "I'm just trying to hide my nervousness."
The manager replied: "Try something else. That's not working."

Frank Bettger was an interesting fellow. In 1947, after some prompting from mentor Dale Carnegie, Frank Bettger wrote How I Raised Myself From Failure to Success in Selling.  An old fashioned book that is in concept as fresh today ever it was. 

He got right to the bottom of selling. 

He said:
You can’t collect a commission until you make a sale. 
You can’t make a sale until you write the order. 
You can’t write the order until you have an interview. 
You can’t have an interview until you make the call. 

The call is the whole foundation of the business of selling. 
 
 Frank Bettger's  13 Secrets To Success In Sales:

1  Enthusiasm
If you don’t FEEL enthusiastic, ACT enthusiastic. Soon, you’ll BE enthusiastic. Double your enthusiasm and you’ll probably double your income. 


2  Order (self-organization)
Set aside time to plan how you will spend your time. Think about what’s most important. Then do those things first.


3  Think in terms of others’ interests
Find out what your prospect wants. Show him or her how to get it.  


4  Questions
Questions get you further than comments. Let your prospect talk while you discover his or her wants. 


5 Key issue
Find the prospect’s basic need or main interest. Then focus solely on it! Ask “why” and “in addition to that” to discover the key issue. 


6  Silence (listen)
Good listening works magic in selling. Listen intently intentionally!


7 Sincerity (deserve confidence)If you don’t believe in what you’re selling, neither will your prospect. Give your prospect the service you would want.


8  Knowledge of my business
Keep your mind young by continuing to learn about your business. 


9  Appreciation and praise
Show people you believe in them and expect great things. Don’t go overboard – just give them your honest appraisal.


10  Smile (happiness)
Smile your best smile at everyone you see. Think about all the things you have to be thankful for … and smile. The world will smile with you. 


11  Remember names and faces
Take a mental photograph of the person’s name. Repeat it immediately in the conversation and then silently to yourself. Associate his or her name and profession. 


12  Service and prospecting
Take care of them and they will take care of you. Follow-up on all leads immediately.
Set up for your next contact on this contact. 


13 – Closing the sale (action) In modern language this is really helping the customer to get their solution.
Proceed through the sales process – Attention, Interest, Desire, Close. Conclude your presentation with the magical question, “How do you like it?” Welcome objections. Don’t be afraid to ask for the money. 

Why Don't People Give Referrals Easily?
Most people don't hold back from referring business to you because they are mean spirited. Mostly people just don't think about it. To be frank, most people really don't think of your business at all in any way beyond thinking do you have something they want to buy or access. 

Nobody cares about your business. If you want referrals you will have to make it part of your process to make it easy for customers to refer you. As an old wise insurance salesman that worked with me once shared - to get referrals you must be referrable. Indeed, as I recall it was this same gentleman who first introduced me to Frank Bettger's work.

Ask For Referrals
If you want referrals to someone you should know that people don't refer 'up'. They will only refer to someone on their level or below. So if you want quality referrals you need to ask people who are the kinds of customers you want. 

Of course if you want A Grade customers you have to be A Grade at what you do!
If you are working with a good client then you want to let them know you appreciate their success and a good way to open the discussion for referrals is to ask them:  "Of the people you know in business, who do you admire most and why?"  Then after you learn who that person is, ask to meet them. Have lunch with them both and learn more about the person and do not attempt to sell them anything! If you find you develop some rapport with them, then you can feel out if there is any way that you can be of service. Never pull out the desperate high pressure sales pitch on someone you meet this way!  After the lunch you can follow up with an appropriate card in the mail to say thanks. And another to your client for the opportunity. 

For general referrals you may want to talk to the client about work you' ve just done and ask them "Who do you know (like you) who needs this kind of work too?" 
But back to  Frank. Frank Bettger not only asked for referrals. He also followed up and if the referral was slow coming he had a strategy for that too.


He Who Hesitates ... Needs A Hand

If the customer hesitated to give a name, he'd help them this way.  "That's all right, Mr. Wright. I think I understand how you feel. Give me the name of someone you know, under fifty, who is making money. I promise you I'll never mention your name." 

"Mr. Wright, my name is Bettger. I'm in the life insurance business. A mutual friend gave me your name with the understanding that I wouldn't mention his name. He told me that you have been very successful, and that you would be a good man for me to talk to. Could you spare five minutes now, or would you rather I stop by some other time?"

 Times have changed in so many ways since 1947 when Frank Bettger wrote his book. But some things that have changed have been unfortunate. Like the tendency for people in business to forget about listening to what customers want. About taking an interest in the client and coming to the sales process with an attitude of serving the needs of the customer and developing rapport and relationship.

Work through a reliable process.

If what you are doing isn't working remember Frank's manager's words...

"Try something else. That's not working."


And get enthusiastic about it!


 Need help developing a referral strategy? Let's talk.

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