How to Ask for Referrals Like A Pro
Looking for new leads? Look no further than your existing customers.
Who to ask?
Your best sources for referrals are new clients. They can help you break into different networks that you have not tapped yet. Of course, any satisfied customer is a great source for new leads.
When to ask?
Asking for referrals should be a habit; make it part of your regular sales process. Just after you deliver a product and confirm that your new customer is happy with the purchase, take a moment to ask for referrals.
Another great time to ask is anytime you go the extra mile for a client. Also, consider asking for referrals during customer follow-ups and annual reviews – just make sure that the account review benefits the customer and isn’t a ploy for new leads. Finally, you can create a referral program open to all of your customers – this works especially well when you have a time-limited promotion.
What to include?
To make your referral program as powerful as possible, include incentives for both the referrer and the referee. While discounts are a common way to encourage referrals, go beyond cutting prices. Extra services and add-ons are very motivating, and you have the benefit of keeping prices reasonable.
What to say?
For some sales professionals, the toughest part of asking for referrals is finding the right words.
Here are a few ideas to help you get started:
Over the Phone
When talking with clients over the phone, position yourself as someone who can help. Be specific and personalize the conversation:
I love working with you. I’m so glad that we’ve been able to [insert something specific to the client]. Can I ask you a question? Who do you know that I could help with a similar challenge? How do you recommend reaching out to them?
For face-to-face meetings with clients, ask to leave your business cards. If you offer incentives for referrals, handwrite a quick note describing the incentive, such as “one free month w/referral.” Try starting the conversation like this:
I’ve truly enjoyed getting to know you as a customer and I’d love to find more clients like you. Can I leave these business cards with you to pass along to others? The customers you refer will receive the bonus listed here.
The most effective emails are personalized and begin and end with the customer in mind:
Hello <Customer’s Preferred Name>,
I’m thrilled that you’re happy with our services. Your [insert client specific information] needs were a perfect match for our team.
We want to help more clients like you. Can you pass along our [website/phone number/email] to your friends and colleagues? Or, feel free to send us a note and we can follow-up with them directly.
For every one of your friends who sign up, they’ll receive [insert bonus] and so will you.
As always, if there’s anything I can do, don’t hesitate to ask.
With deepest thanks,
Via social media
If you have an existing relationship on social media with your customers, you can reach out to them. Ask your customers to share and/or repost your information. Because social media does best when it’s short and to the point, try a brief message like this:
Thanks for being a customer! If you know someone who would like us, pass along this link. They receive a free service & so do you.
Include the link in your posting as well as what the specific service is.
How to follow-up?
Thank your customers for referring you. Handwritten notes are becoming rare, which makes them more powerful!