Top 12 tips to gain incredible referrals in telesales

Telesales people know that to succeed in their industry, it takes a lot of time and energy to build a customer base. This can involve the development of great marketing material, strengthening communication skills and doing whatever it takes to provide products and services that set a company apart from the competition. Once a prospect has been converted into a customer, it’s always a good practice to do whatever it takes to keep them.

Two workers engaging a customer through screen-sharing on a laptop

Finding new customers is always necessary, but the customers a salesperson has already landed will yield better results when it comes to investment vs return. It takes time and energy to get a new customer on the books; keeping one doesn’t require the same amount of attention. Maintaining and developing existing customer relationships not only helps to ‘keep the lights on’, but it also creates repeat business and increases the likelihood that word of mouth will work in favour of an enterprise.

It can also be a great idea to encourage existing customers to refer their friends, acquaintances and business contacts if they believe in the product or service they have purchased. Referrals can have a huge impact on sales, but what at the best ways to get existing customers to make them? Below are 12 top tips to can incredible referrals in telesales.

Top Tips to Get Referrals From Telesales:

  1. Always Start With a Plan
  2. Have Your Value Propositions at Hand
  3. Know Your Audience
  4. Speak Slowly and Clearly
  5. Encourage a Conversation
  6. Provide Sales Aids, Recommendations, and Testimonials
  7. Remain Polite Throughout
  8. Create Follow-Up Actions Agreed With the Customer
  9. Practice Before Engaging Customers
  10. Train All New Staff
  11. Always Try to Simplify The Process
  12. Make a Due Diligence Checklist

What Makes Referrals in Telesales so Effective?

A salesman at his laptop with a fresh coffee

One of the main reasons that referrals are so effective in telesales is that they capitalise on the concept of social proof. This is a psychological principle that explains the human need to seek advice from others that we know and respect before making decisions. It’s so effective that studies have found that 9 out of every 10 purchasing decisions are made after receiving recommendations from peers.

The concept of social proof also shows that people are more likely to trust the opinion of someone they know than someone they don’t, and in telesales, the strengthening of this trust can have a huge impact on new customer growth.

If a business has a strong base of customers who are happy with its services, the power of them referring that business to their friends is worth its weight in gold. You can spend a lot of money on marketing, but the valued opinion of a friend will always trump the first page of a google search in the eyes of a customer.

Top Tips to Get Referrals From Telesales

A red landline office telephone for sales calls

Referrals can have a great impact on gaining new customers in telesales, but what is the best way to go about soliciting referrals from existing customers? Below are 12 tips to keep in mind when you’re looking to capitalise on this lucrative funnel of potential business.

1: Always Start With a Plan

I don't know why I'm here but I promise it won't be boring in a neon sign

An effective plan will help telesales agents to establish when and how to procure referrals from existing customers, and it will also help to ascertain any areas in the sales process that might need extra attention.

When creating a plan, it can be useful to take the time to look at the current customer journey and reflect on areas that might need some improvement. This can give all sales agents a better perspective on what the sales experience is like for customers.

A plan will make sure that no elements of the sales process are neglected, which will enhance the customer experience and greatly increase the chances of customer referrals.

2: Have Your Value Propositions at Hand

A person holding a lit lightbulb to signify a new idea

Value propositions are possibly the most important pieces of information when it comes to converting leads into sales. They are the ‘why’ for a customer when they consider making a purchase. Value prepositions help you to stand out from the competition, so it’s essential to know every potential proposition you can offer. Is what you’re offering more convenient? Are your products or services more competitively priced? Is your service what sets you apart?

Understanding exactly what kind of value your products or services offer will help you to build a level of trust and loyalty that will help to foster the kind of business relationship where your customers can’t stop recommending you to their friends and associates.

3: Know Your Audience

Audience written on a whiteboard with arrows pointing towards it

It’s one thing to provide great service to your customers when it comes to telesales, but it’s another thing altogether to know exactly what makes them tick, what their possible concerns could be and what factors ultimately motivate them when making decisions.

Even without looking for referrals, knowing the customer is imperative to success when working in telesales. It’s important to remember that the marketing funnels, messaging, and language that is used with one customer won’t necessarily work with another.

Building a customer profile based on the current customer base can help salespeople to understand what kinds of people are attracted to you. The elements that help to categorise customers can be broken down into two different groups, Demographics and Psychographics.

Looking at demographics is the more traditional method of categorising people. Demographics look at shared traits between potential customers like their age, gender, location, marital status and income. Demographics can give salespeople some great insight into the customers’ lives and living conditions, but psychographics looks more at how they think and behave.

A good combination of both of these metrics will assist greatly in creating trust. Customers will more likely feel that you ‘get them’, and that goes an incredibly long way in telesales.

4: Speak Slowly and Clearly

A green chat box made out of paper against a yellow background

Speaking too fast is one of the most common speech problems that people can have, but in telesales, when the words come too quickly and aren’t clear enough, it can lead to a complete disconnection by the potential lead.

The excitement, energy or stress of the telesales process can often lead salespeople to sound like they’re commentating on a horse race without even realising it and, to a customer, this is one of the quickest ways to get them to jump off the race track, and head in the opposite direction of you.

If you’re using a landline phone service, a customer won’t see your body language. You need to be calm and personable to guide your prospect through the sales process.

Whatever language you are dealing in, it’s important to remember that not every speaker has the same level of understanding and comprehension. For example, in the United States, the average person only has an eighth-grade reading level. This means that many people in the US only have the reading ability of a 14-year-old. Their vocabulary and comprehension will naturally reflect this.

By speaking slowly and clearly as a salesperson and taking the time to establish a baseline of a customer’s understanding, you will naturally convert more leads than you would if you allowed the excitement and stress of the sale to take hold like an over-enthusiastic jockey.

5: Encourage a Conversation

A white neon chatbox to symbolise engaging with customers

Conversation is a very valuable tool in the telesales process. During the initial contact with a lead, it’s integral to learn a lot about a customer. You need to establish their concerns, problems, needs and method of communication so you can better serve them. They might not always be so forthcoming with information if they haven’t already got an established relationship, and the easiest way to facilitate this is through conversation.

It doesn’t mean that you need to start every phone call off with a long introduction about them or a conversation about the weather; it just means allowing space for organic conversation to develop.

As a salesperson, you need to get the answers to certain questions and if the customer’s answers aren’t really complete, give them prompts to allow them the space to give you more information in their own way. Make statements and pause to give them breathing room; ‘I’m not sure I understand, can you tell me a bit more about that?’ Paraphrase what they have told you to establish that you understand their situation. Use verbal and non-verbal cues to help guide the conversation and, most importantly, let them speak.

Effective conversation skills can often be the difference between a potential lead thinking you’re just another salesperson and discovering an agent who finally gets them, which is a sure way to land referrals from their networks.

6: Provide Sales Aids, Recommendations, and Testimonials

A screen projector displaying a customer presentation

Never underestimate the power of a good visual representation of what you are offering. Sales aids help customers to contextualise information and can be very effective in converting leads that might be on the fence. Recommendations add to a salesperson’s value propositions, and testimonials can often be the final factor in the decision-making process that will get a customer on your books.

Great salespeople are good at customer service; this helps to gain referrals which helps to convince more customers to choose you, which, in turn, starts a great customer satisfaction/referral cycle.

7: Remain Polite Throughout

Say thank you spelled out in scrabble pieces

Manners go a long way in most life situations, including telesales. Some of the biggest complaints the general public has about salespeople are that they seem to be pushy, aggressive and don’t listen. The world of telesales can be fast-paced and thrive on adrenaline, but it’s not advisable to noticeably bring any of that into a call.

Remaining polite throughout a sales call will help to build better trust from potential customers. They might not know everything, but most people can detect a ‘hard sell’ a mile away, generally because when this happens, politeness seems to disappear.

Remember to do things like ask for permission; ‘Do you have time to talk now, or should I call you later?’ When you ask questions, wait for them to answer and listen to their responses. Don’t forget to thank customers for their time, even if they aren’t a converted lead. Remaining polite will always put a salesperson above their competition which usually leads to some great word-of-mouth referrals.

8: Create Follow-Up Actions Agreed With the Customer

The journey is on in white neon lights

If you’ve put a load of time and energy into making a sale, you don’t want that all to be wasted simply because too much time passed and the customer lost interest. The old saying that it’s important to strike while the iron is hot is true, but the iron can be warm for a while after the initial fire is sparked.

When looking to close a sale, it can sometimes be helpful to make a plan with the customer that you both agree on. Perhaps they need to discuss things with their partner or want time to think it over. There’s no problem with this, but make sure you establish a timeline. If they want to take a few days to think about it, establish together when you will make contact again, and do it at a time that is convenient for them.

It can be equally important to also set up follow-up actions for already converted leads. Set a timeline after the initial sale that you will make a follow-up call to see how they feel about it all. This helps customers to see that their value means something to you even after money has crossed palms.

9: Practice Before Engaging Customers

Practice spelled out in scrabble pieces against a white background

It takes time to master any skill, and dealing with customers is no different. No salesperson was perfect without ever dealing with customers. It’s incredibly beneficial to take the time to practice your pitch, refine your conversation skills and find your own rhythm in telesales.

Don’t just practice with other salespeople; find as many different connections as you can. You might be surprised what comes out of practising a sales call with a partner or family member who doesn’t work in your industry. They might pose questions you’ve never thought of or offer insight into how you can finetune your pitch based on their own experience.

10: Train All New Staff

Notes, a laptop, and a coffee on a desk for a remote sales person

Anyone can achieve greatness in telesales, but not without efficient and effective training. Even the most natural of salespeople will always benefit from structured training to maintain and strengthen their core skills. Good sales companies also invest time and money into continued support and education of their salespeople.

11: Always Try to Simplify The Process

Keep things simple spelled out in scrabble pieces against a white background

One of the biggest turn-offs for any potential customer is things being more complicated than they would like, and the same can be said for salespeople. A great sales process is a simple one for all parties. Take the product or service that is on offer and try to ensure that what you’re offering is simple to understand and easy to access.

In an ideal world, every company would be able to solve every problem a customer has and cater to every perceivable need, but this isn’t really likely in practice. Stick with what you know how to do, and do it well; then, over time, as business grows, other products, sales or processes can be added

12: Make a Due Diligence Checklist

A salesperson checklist written in a ournel

Once you have a well-established sales formula and processes, take the time to make it into a physical document that can be updated, revisited and revised. Not every single customer is the same, and although the goal is to try to take them all on a similar journey, it’s totally possible to skip a step because their situation is different. If you have a due diligence checklist, it’s easy to see, at a glance, if any steps were missed or what might need to be adjusted in the future to convert more leads and gain more referrals.

What Are the Common Mistakes When Trying to Gain Referrals in Telesales?

A red wrong way sign on the side of a road

Getting decent referrals in telesales can be a game changer for a business, but there are a few things to keep in mind before you start asking your customers to give you access to their networks.

Never wing it. Improvisation can be a great asset in sales but make sure your approach is thought out before asking an existing customer for a referral.

Sales is a numbers game, but it’s important not to ask your customers for too many referrals. The bottom line is that your customers could give you their entire address book, but if you haven’t vetted the connections they have that might actually consider giving you business, you haven’t really reaped the rewards of referral at all.

Your customers don’t owe you anything, so, although it would be nice to get them to give you some contacts if they feel you’ve been helpful, it’s not a good idea to just demand it. Customers want to help their friends, so if you frame the request for referral as more of a way that you can provide the same great service to people they know, you will be more likely to grow your business from word of mouth.

Be clear about what a referral means. Sometimes a client isn’t sure what will happen if they give you access to their networks. Nobody wants to be responsible for unsolicited cold calls, so they need to know what will actually happen if they give you a friend or associate’s details.

Always make sure you’re actually in a good position to ask for a referral. Don’t ask if you’re not sure that the customer is happy, and definitely don’t lead with it. Your goal is to get your next customer, but you need to ensure current ones are still happy; they also feel that they still have your undivided attention.

What Tools Can Help You Improve Your Telesales Referral Rate?

A Crank Wheel screen sharing infographic

There are many online tools available that can assist in enhancing the telesales experience, but one particular tool that can increase your referral rate is Crankwheel’s Post-Meeting Redirect Tool.

Crankwheel makes screen sharing and presenting online easier by removing the need for downloading and installing software. A recipient can connect directly to a presentation with an email or SMS anywhere in the world, and the post-meeting redirect tool allows a telesales agent to upsell services, collect reviews or even refer others. Check out this tool and get a free demo when it’s convenient for you.


A yellow telephone against a yellow background

Customer referrals are a great way to grow business and strengthen your foothold in the market. It’s another incredible tool to add to your sales arsenal that can not only expand your customer base, but it can also help make you a better salesperson.