Sales Machine – Getting referrals from customers

This is a comprehensive book review of the book Hacking Sales by Max Altschuler.

To be honest, this is not a comprehensive book review…

Why I read in the first place

I do not read books with the mission of trying to remember every little detail that is in the book. I read books like how a treasure hunter searches for treasure on the shores of a beach.

They hunt the beach days on end in search of that single nugget. That single artifact that makes the entire hunt worthwhile.

But maybe Marc Cuban can say it best. Marc ones said in a video I found on the youtube that his best investment happens almost on a daily basis. What is that investment? It’s buying books.

In his words:
When I pay 30 bucks for a book that gives him just one new idea for his current businesses to test, that is a massive ROI.

And for me, that is the reason why I read. Like the treasure hunter on the beach, I do not remember every grain of sand on the beach. I just hunt for that single piece of content (the nugget). The single idea or single sentence like mister Cuban says that gives me inspiration, grant me a new insight or makes me think of something new.

When I read it feels like I’m hunting for treasure. It’s like I’m exploring the book I have in my hands. It’s me trying to get value out of an object that later sits on a shelf collecting dust. That is why I love reading. And this is what makes reading so fun for me.

So now that you know why I read, let’s get back to the review.

As you might have guessed by now, I will speak about some of the awesome nuggets I collected in this book.

Sidenote: For some strange reason – for me – this book had the most nuggets at the end part of the book. I don’t know why it just was like that for me. Someone else might experience it differently so don’t just read the last 50% of the book now. Try to go on your own little treasure hunt.

Let’s get on with the Nuggets

Nugget number one:

Asking for a referral customer

This is a great and useful insight to me. It’s so simple but so strong that I just had to write it down.

So what does asking your customer for a referral mean?

It means two things:
1) It’s asking a current customer¬† (who you know is happy with your product or service) about a potential company or person that might be interested to become a customer of yours.
2) It’s asking a customer with whom you’ve just closed a deal to refer a potential buyer from their industry that might also be interested in your product.

What’s so great about a referral from a current or new customer?
1) They know their industry and the probably will know many companies or people within their own industry that might be interested. So they have the clearest picture of who else might fit you as a customer.
2) Getting referred as a business is always the strongest way of getting in the door at a new customer. People trust customer referrals. I see its effectiveness every time I buy a product on Amazon. I go through product reviews and I look at the people referring a product. Word of mouth and referrals are the strongest entry points when trying to make a sale.

How to do this effectively?
For a current customer, you need a trigger moment to initiate the question when asking for a referral. Don’t just email a current happy customer who you haven’t spoken to for a long time out of the blue. This might even harm your relationship with the customer. Never ask for a referral out of the blue.

Do it in a smoother way. Send them an email that you are collecting feedback on your service and want to get in touch since you value the relationship with the current customer. Make it look like you want to have a catch-up conversation in which you also want to collect some feedback.

Most of the time this is a good enough reason for your client to get in contact. And then once you have your client on the phone try to smoothly get in the referral question. I try to add this in at the end of the call. 8/10 customers will come up with a name then and there. If they can’t think of someone from the top of their head, tell them you’ll ask them through the mail so they have some time to get back to you.

An even better trigger: a phone call when something positive happens in the news that concerns your customer. Pick up the phone or send a congratulation email to your customer. Again, once you have them on the phone try to add in the referral question in there somewhere at the end.

So how would you ask for a referral when the time is right?

I just say it out but be flattering in a way where you stroke the ego of the customer:

“[Name] I was wondering since you are a knowledgeable and well respected [company title] in your industry I would want to ask you a favor, well actually it’s a direct question. Who in your industry would you think might fit us as a client?”

It is a straight-up way of respecting the client and telling him that he has authority in his industry.

What now?

So after following the above steps, you hopefully have a name, potentially even contact information (if you’re bold). You could even have ended up with a fresh referral mail in your inbox if your client is very proactive.

But in many cases, you’ll have to remind the client of him/her to send out the referral email.
8/10 conversations where you ask for a referral you end up with a name of a person who might fit or the name of a business. After the call ended, try to ask for a referral through the mail.

Make it simple for the client. Have a pre-made email template that you send to your client on how to introduce you and your business. The client will appreciate the format since it will save them a lot of time and effort.

So now that you have the referral mail in your inbox be fast. You want to reply within 24 hours.
And lastly, always remember to thank your customer that made the referral.

Bonus tip: After your customer referred you, send them a handwritten card! This works like magic since no one these days thinks of the offline medium anymore. It will make you stand out.


Good luck amigo’s

(learning sales is fun:)

A dream job bleuprint

I have five minutes to write this, so I’ll have to be quick..

Why so little time you ask? Well, I’m going to ADE (Amsterdam Dance Event) with my girlfriend and her sister. I guess it’s going to be fun. But anyway. This was not what I wanted to talk about.

I wanted to talk about my dream job. Dream job?? WTF is that? Yes, if somebody would have said this to me I would have lolled as well. But I’m serious here. My dream job!

“But you are an entrepreneur, you have a fairly successful growing startup and you’re doing interesting shit, why is this not already your dream job.

This is not the case for two reasons:
1) I get bored extremely quickly. This is actually one of my biggest weaknesses. It is the reason why I hated school. It is the reason why I loved video games like World of Warcraft (constantly different gameplay and patches). It’s just in my nature to get bored fast. I learn something and then I believe I know enough and my mind just pulls at me to move on. Not moving on actually costs me a lot of energy. This does not mean that I hate it when I do something for a longer time span but still. I guess you get the point…
2) I have new ideas for projects, businesses, fun things to do constantly. This is also how my mind works. I just see stuff and ask questions: can this be done better, more efficient. Or I read a business book and get inspiration for a new business. My mind is just racing all the freaking time. And I can’t really do anything about it, it’s how I’m programmed.

So now that we know this, what’s the whole point of the story here?
Well, my dream job would be a job that fits point 1 and 2 like a velvet glove.

So what’s the job for real?
I see it like this: The job would be all year round. Every month of the year I literally pick a project from my brain-bucket (Evernote file) and do the project for that entire month.

There would be some rules attached to the project.
For instance, the project needs to have a specific goal. Most of the time this would be a business goal.

This could be something like: make an app that asks you three questions about how your day was at night. So the project needs a goal to work to. Or it could be something like: Learn how to make design an app from scratch using the sketch tool and actually win a design challenge on Or actually, build the nutbags business in a months time and get 10 customers to buy a nutbag pack.

So rule one: Pick a project (most likely setting up a new microbusiness or learn a skill) to do for an entire month and set some hard goals to reach at the end of it all.

As a caveat, the projects and the goals should be ambitious. So there is a high likelihood the goal will not be reached. I don’t mind this since I believe setting high goals is always effective. Even if you only complete 20% of a highly ambitious goal you’ll still have won anyway.

The second rule: the project needs to be performed using a set framework. What do I mean with a framework?

So the framework will be like a guideline for me to do projects by.
An example of the framework could be something like week one: Study the literature, Week two: Test an MVP proposition with a simple wordpress landing page or using a tool like Instapage or Unbounce, and week three: get a first paying customer on your mailing list etc..

So the projects would follow a set structure. The structure of how I attack projects would change over time and become more efficient I guess.

I will document the project and share it with the world on this blog. I would document the ups and down. My tweaks and my learnings will be spoken about on this blog.

The whole goal for me would be to do all the things I want to do and to learn how to learn new skills fast, use those skills and become even quicker and more efficient in the next project. And then, ones I learn share those learnings with an audience.

Sounds like a lot of fun for me. Hopefully one day I will be able to live on the basis of these rules described above. For me that would be an amazing life.
Who knows…

Have a good one!

Nutbags – A new business idea

This blog post is my first try at writing something with the Write or Die tool. The fun thing is that I have no idea what to write about while trying this tool. At first glance, I just thought: what the heck just go for it and see what comes out, so here it goes.

The stupid thing is that I have no idea what to write about while trying out this ridiculous tool. At first glance, I just thought: what the heck just go for it and see what comes out, so here it goes.

Scramble scramble scramble, boom I have an idea!!

So the topic of this 5-minute writing session will be a business venture that has been sticking in my head for a while now. What is it about? It is inspired by a business model the company Onnit uses: they pack a whole bunch of great vitamin and supplement pills in a daily dose package. They have a pack of pills that you take in the morning and they have a pack of pills you take before going to bad. I think it is a great idea and I have tried it out, it was awesome (but expensive). So this got me thinking. What else can you repack in a daily dose pack?

And then came what I thought was a brilliant idea, totally inspired by my mother. That is because my lovely mother is a healthy food lover. She did crazy stuff like making her health bars and crackers in a special oven she bought. She goes a long way when it comes to healthy food. So why did she inspire me? She knows a lot about nuts and healthy seeds. I know she does a lot of those into her food. We’re talking about the usual suspects like pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, and hemp seeds. These are some of the known ones, but she also introduced me to some I had no clue about. And the awesome think about these seeds is that they all pack a heck load of good nutrients for brain and body — it just really made me feel like the nuts and seeds should be in my daily diet.

I did my research and found that nuts and seeds are not always to great for you. Why is that? The quantity is essential here. Most people eat too many nuts and take into much fat. This is a bad thing. You might think by eating a lot of nuts you’re becoming a healthy human, but you could be mistaking and getting fat from them. I’m not saying this counts for everyone out there that eat nuts regularly; I just read that it happens a lot.

And here I saw an opportunity: What if you repacked 10 of the most healthy and powerful nuts and seeds into a small pack where every nut in the package is filled with it’s best daily dosage, so you don’t consume too much of them and then pack them, throw them all together and you have a sellable pack of 10 healthy nuts in a daily dose pack.

The packs are great for just eating straight from the pack, putting it in your breakfast meal, or maybe in a healthy salad. That is what I like about it so much, it’s the beauty that lays in the versatility of the solution. The bags and its content are multi-usable which is a great thing I guess because you are in charge on how you would like to include your daily dose of seeds and nuts in your meals.

So what is the simple business model here? You sell the packs in groups of 7 for a seven day week. So every day you open a pack and toss it in the foods you’d like or eat it straight from the pack. And BOOM, you get your daily shot and the preferred dose of nuts and seeds.

I like this idea, and I want to pursue it I guess. Oh, and if I would name it, I would call it Nutbags. And also, it should be a business where a substantial amount of the profits goes to charity. A charity that is about feeding the poor. The slogan would be: Go nuts, and feed the world while doing it!

Haven’t made a plan on how to implement it, but that will come later.

Also: you could make it into a subscription model. The packs are so tiny that you can pack them in an envelope and just send them to people – how convenient is that??

The idea keeps me up so therefore one day I will pursue it. Will keep you posted on the progress.

Using the Write or Die app was fun. I passed, and my text did not get deleted, which is a plus I guess.

See you soon!