Avionics News April 2018 - 52

BUSINESS BASICS

Continued from page 51

Either way, understand that a referring customer
is always taking a risk. He may love you, but if
he recommends your service to a friend, and she's
disappointed - even if it's no one's fault - he's
probably upset his friend. Likewise, if he provides
a name but that prospect isn't ready to buy, he's
disappointed you. He's aware of both downsides, so
he may instinctively tread lightly. You can inspire his
confidence when you remind him that a big percentage
of your business comes from repeat customers and
referrals, according to Mary Flaherty of Rain Group
consultancy.
You also increase your odds of overcoming customer
reluctance when you know when to ask. There are
best times, such as the moment when your customer is
feeling the most satisfied and sees the biggest benefit
from your shop, according to Thull. That includes
immediately following a delivery, after they mention
you positively on social media, after they give you a
positive survey result, and after a positive customerservice experience.
Of course, you'll get the best results when you're
asking the right people. According to the Harvard
Business Review, repeat buyers can produce up to 80
percent of your referrals. Those who have previously
referred customers are also likely to do so again in
the future. Likewise, influencers in your community
represent a highly focused way to generate quality
leads, according to Kehrer, as do those customers with
whom you've created strong personal relationships,
especially if they have connections via LinkedIn, to
new customers you'd like to work with.
Ask, Ask, Ask
With so many options, you'll still need to know how
to ask for a referral. Not surprisingly, there are more
effective ways. Furthermore, you have several tools
to make providing good ones more valuable to your
referring customer, too.
If you're asking for the best leads possible, you may
want to avoid asking something broad like, "Do you
know anyone who would be interested in working with
us?" According to Thull, that's a demanding request
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april

2018

that requires the customer to speculate on another
person's buying intentions and level of interest. In
many cases, he probably doesn't know, and he'll have
to "think about it."
Instead, guide the conversation. Schedule a chat
after delivery or payment and ask the customer for his
review of the process, according to Thull. Assuming
he's pleased, explain the value of referrals to your
company, the kinds of customers and aircraft your shop
targets, and the range of solutions you offer. Help him
focus on a handful of potential prospects instead of all
owners. If you don't tell him specifically who you're
looking for, he can't help you effectively.
After the ask, provide him with support. At the
least, give him business cards, brochures or a link
to a referral landing page on your website that he
can distribute to pilots who ooh-and-ahh over his
completed job, according to Kehrer.
If he does offer you a specific name, ask if he'd
mind if you made first contact with the referral
or if he'd prefer to make an introduction - or just
pass your shop information along. If it's the former,
gather the right information. Go beyond a name and
contact information with a referral form, checklist or
web form that collects additional insights - such as
needs, aircraft type, and so on - that help you get a
conversation started.
If it's the latter, you can help him by providing
a script; any work you can do for him will help the
process move along faster. That might look like an
email that says something to the effect of, "Hey, Betty,
I just had some work done on my airplane, and I've
been working with a great shop. I should put you two
together to talk about your avionics needs. Meet my
sales guy. Can I leave the rest to you two? Talk to you
both later." Then follow up a week or two later to see
if he's sent it out - if not, don't bug him again.
Of course, there are ways to sweeten the deal - for
both your generous customer and his referral. Sure,
not every customer needs an incentive; he refers
out of loyalty and helpfulness. Others, though, may
need a push. For those customers, incentives may
span from a gift card to a restaurant or donation to a
favorite charity for a high-quality referral who sets a
sales meeting to a discount on future maintenance, or
a service upgrade, or some other easy-to-fulfill offer



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Avionics News April 2018

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Avionics News April 2018 - Intro
Avionics News April 2018 - Cover1
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Avionics News April 2018 - Cover3
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