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One of the best sales techniques is to ask for referrals from your happy customers.  As much as I want my sales people asking for referrals, I would much rather have my happy clients refer business to me without having to ask. Wouldn’t you just love for that phone to ring with a constant stream of new business that comes as a result of your happy customers or clients voluntarily spreading the word about you?  Of course you would! Recently I worked with one of my clients at a sales rally that celebrated their success and also emphasized their newest theme, which is based on Fredrick Reichheld’s book, “The Ultimate Question.”  In my preparation, I read this book for a second time, and it was time well spent. (If you haven’t done so, get the book and read it – tomorrow!) The ultimate question is exactly that, the one single question that will tell you if you are doing a great job by your customers and/or clients.  You can ask all types of questions, but at the end of the day, this is the only one that matters.  It is simply that on a scale of one to ten (ten being best), how likely are your customers to recommend you to their friends and colleagues? A nine or ten puts you in the zone for creating advocates, the people who will refer you without asking.  This is a survey question that happens after you’ve done your business with the customer.  While I always like good feedback from customers, what strategies might we implement to help get that nine or ten? At anytime during your interactions with the customer ask yourself two questions. 1. “Is what I’m doing right now going to make that customer come back to me the next time they need what it is that I sell?”  You may remember from my past writings that I believe loyalty is less about a lifetime and more about the next time.  This is the question you ask yourself over and over. 2. “Is what I’m doing, or about to do, going to make the customer feel good enough to recommend me to a friend or colleague?”  While this is a good follow-up to the above question, it can also stand on its own.  If what you are doing is good enough for one of their friends, it is surely good enough for them to come back. So, it isn’t just about loyalty.  We have added another layer.  Loyalty plus advocacy is a winning combination!

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