The Right Way to Ask for Referrals

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Too few businesses ask for referrals. Referral business can be a powerful source of revenue. It costs little to obtain, and the possibility for earning more referrals is almost limitless.

Now, there will be some customers who give referrals without any prompting, but most people aren’t that proactive. Unfortunately, most businesses are too scared to ask for referrals. They feel like it looks desperate, and they don’t want to pressure their customers. These are understandable concerns, but if you ask for referrals in the right way, it’s not obnoxious or desperate.

Remember, satisfied customers enjoy helping your company. If you’ve provided them with a positive experience, more times than not, they will be happy to tell others about your business. And even if that isn’t the case, what’s the worst that can happen? They can say “no, I won’t refer you.” That’s not the end of the world, is it?

Asking for referrals

Now that you feel a little more comfortable asking for referrals, let’s go over the specifics of doing this important marketing task.

  • Ask your best clients—I’ve found that my best clients tend to refer people that are much like they are. So, if you want more profitable, stress-free clients, ask your most profitable, stress-free clients for referrals. And yes, that means you shouldn’t ask your pain in the @$$ clients for referrals because you’ll end up with more clients just like them.
  • Wait until the client is happy—Who do you think is likelier to give you a referral: the client who just called to complain about your service or the one who just sent you a thank you note saying how great a job you did? You need to ask for referrals when the client is happiest.
  • Don’t ask for a referral when invoicing—It’s tacky to ask your client for a referral while you’re sending over a bill. Wait until a week or so after the bill has been paid and he’s enjoyed the product or service before asking for the referral.
  • Keep in contact with your clients—Even if they aren’t actively buying your products and services, you still need to maintain relationships with your clients. Not only can this help you stay in the awareness and earn more of their business, but it also allows you to earn their trust so you can ask for referrals.
  • Follow up with the person who gave you the referral—Don’t just take a referral and run. If one of your clients refers someone who ends up doing business with you, follow up with them and let them know how it went. Thank them for the referral!

Do you get a good amount of referral business? How do you earn so many referrals?

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