5.6 Case study: effective use of referrals and salesperson management in Cambodia
After recruiting and training a staff of ten salespeople, a social enterprise in Cambodia named Hydrologic sent them out to rural households to sell its flagship product, the Tunsai and Super Tunsai ceramic water pots. The sales manager met with salespeople on a weekly basis to review Daily Progress Reports and provide them with feedback on their performance. As he encountered difficulties in getting salespeople to consistently and correctly complete these reports, the sales manager noticed that one person reported a high rate of converting household visits into sales for each sales call immediately following a service call. He also noted that her service calls were often early in the day, rather than at the very end of the day, like most of the other salespeople.
The sales manager asked the salesperson about this and discovered that she had been visiting existing customers to ensure that they were happy with their purchase, offering assistance with any problems, and then asking for referrals to others in her sales territory.
Her next visit was then to the referred household, where she mentioned she had been referred by their friends. As a result of this endorsement, closing the sale was much easier than on regular sales calls.
The sales manager then asked the other salespeople why all of their service calls came at the end of the day and discovered that the other salespeople saw the service calls as a burden, since they had already sold that customer a product. So they did them at the end of the day and did not ask for a referral, even if customers were happy with their product. Thus, they missed an opportunity to get referred to an easier sale.
The sales manager showed the team how the first salesperson was making a lot of sales by doing service calls early in the day and using the referral to generate leads and endorsements. This became a learning opportunity and best practice for the rest of the team that could now be used to help them all make more sales.