Referrals make everyone look good. Passing on referrals makes you look like you’re well-connected and a problem solver. Being the receiver of a referral can result in higher and faster conversions.
But quality referrals don’t grow on trees.
To increase your referrals, you need to do two things:
- Help people understand what you do
- Ask for them
Getting high-quality referrals
Help your customers understand what you do. There’s no point spending time in meetings or on calls with people who want services/products you don’t offer.
Don’t just tell people what you do. Teach them about what you do. Create a short pitch deck about your business, services, fees and what to expect. Make it as easy as possible for people to have clarity around what you have to offer. Not everyone wants to read a website. Think short, sharp and punchy.
How to ask for referrals
When asking for referrals, it’s better to make the request via one-to-one messages, not by broadcast or mass email. So how do you break the ice and ask them for help?
- Wait. Don’t ask straight after signing them, give it 3-6 months. Prove your worth first.
- Offer incentives. Service discounts, gift cards, a donation to a charity… they are expelling effort for you, demonstrate some thanks in return.
- Give to get. People are more likely to return the favour if you are actively referring to their business.
- Focus on them and their happiness.
- Make it as easy as possible – provide them with an email template to forward.
Here’s an example:
Hi [Customer Name],
I’m so glad to hear you’re happy with working with us.
Since things are going so well, I found myself wondering if you have colleagues at other companies who would benefit from our [product/service]?
We have an active partner program where you can earn account credit equal to 10% of the initial value of a sale resulting from your introduction.
If they respond positively, make their next step easy by providing them with a template for forwarding:
I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it before, but I’ve been working with [Your Name] for some time. We were talking about some of our wins of late, and I realised I should connect you two together.
[Referral’s Name], meet [Your Name, your LinkedIn link and a little bit about you]. You can find out more about [Your business] here (insert a hyperlink to your pitch deck).
[Your Name], meet [Referral’s Name, their LinkedIn link and a little about them].
I’ll let you two take it from here!
Once you have your pitch down, make reaching out for referrals a monthly task or build it into your project closeout workflow.
Build a referral bucket list
Up your referral game by building a bucket list of dream clients.
Once you’ve got your initial pitch down and have figured out what works well for you and your customers, get specific and personal. List five companies you want to work with, and contact the clients that you have a great relationship with and ask if they have any inroads. You never know, the contact you need could be someone’s next-door neighbour, a parent at their kid’s school or an old high-school mate.
Be a good referral recipient
If you’ve received a referral, great!
Ensure you prioritise contact and send a thank you to your client for the referral. If your clients know the effort is appreciated, they’re more likely to continue recommending you.