How to ask for referrals and not feel desperate about it

August 26, 2021

Do you fight a frequent reluctance to ask for referrals?

Do you sometimes feel like it’s pushy and aggressive, like the stereotypical sleazy used-car salesman?

Well, you’ve come to the right blog.

Referrals are based on trust, and there’s nothing sleazy about that.

What’s more, a referred customer has a lifetime value twice as high as a non-referred customer. Even better is that these customers cost little to nothing to acquire.

But how do you go about breaking the ice with your current clients to ask them for help?

Here, you’ll find out how to identify potential referral opportunities and why it’s important to stick your neck out (in the right way).

Your clients are your outsourced sales team

The truth is – when someone uses a service and is happy with it, they want to recommend it to their friends. It’s as simple as that.

People are four times more likely to use a service when referred by someone they know.

Your clients are your highest value revenue source. Happy clients know exactly why they’re satisfied, so they’ll likely know other people with the exact needs who will benefit from what you have to offer.

If your business has a referral process in place, you can capture more of that word-of-mouth goodness and attract more loyal clients.

Create your referral opportunities

One of the key objectives of a referral strategy is to build a strong network to generate more opportunities.

Here’s how you can hunt out the right referrals for your business:

  • Identify your advocates. Surveys and testimonials are a great way to help you pinpoint potential advocates and turn client feedback channels into rich networks for sourcing referrals.
  • Diarise regular meetings with your clients to keep them up to date on your thought leadership and capabilities, so they can help spread the word. 
  • Develop regular and tailored communications to your network to showcase everything you get up to. 
  • Attend (or organise) events. You can use referral events to meet new prospects. It’s a great way of getting your clients to introduce you to others who might be interested in the work you do.

The goal is to remind clients why your company is unique. And, once you’ve secured their willingness to speak on your company’s behalf, this is a great time to ask for a referral.

How to ask for referrals

If you provide a great customer experience, word of mouth referrals are bound to happen naturally. However, a conscious effort to cultivate them will result in higher ROI from your network.

Here’s how to ask for referrals:

Make a list

The best way to get a referral from someone is by going to them with a list of the clients you’re looking for.

Not simply asking if they know anyone. Providing them with more information will offer more chances of success. Go into as much detail as possible; what is your ideal buyer’s industry, company size, challenges, role, personality?

People don’t like saying no to people they like, especially if they value you.

Make sure to personalise your request

It’s best to be specific with what you are asking; you need to be clear about why you’re reaching out to them. Reference parts of your relationship history that show that you’re aware of their experience with your business.

Explain why prospects should meet you

What will the prospect get out of meeting with you? Let them know that your goals, industries and personalities align. Your referral source needs to take this information to the prospect to give you more chance of getting what you’re looking for: a potential qualified lead.

Reach out in the correct channels

It’s essential to identify the clients you want a referral from and find out the channels they spend time in. There’s no use sending them a LinkedIn message if they don’t spend any time there.

The aim of the game in referrals is for an introduction, not just a name and contact information.

A higher lifetime value

Referred customers have a sixteen percent higher lifetime value.

They’re so effective because your referrer provides a vote of confidence by making the recommendation; that’s some powerful social proof.

Brand advocates who make referrals are more likely to purchase, more likely to buy, and have a higher average order value than consumers obtained in other ways.

Need some more evidence?

Dropbox, the famous cloud storage company, achieved enormous growth, earning 4 million users in just 15 months, with 35 percent of all signups coming from the referral program.

Build out your referral process

Now, do you believe us?

The notion of asking for referrals being desperate is false. A successful and refined referral process will change your relationship with people – especially clients and prospects.

If you don’t ask, you don’t get.

If you’re interested in attending a referral event, check out our upcoming Refer-all online event. No matter what you might be looking for, you’ll find it here by opening up to this fantastic group of multi-disciplinary agencies. Each of them will bring a different area of expertise to the table and offer the space to share stories, encourage collaboration and most importantly, provide referral opportunities.

You can see all the details here. If you have any questions about the event, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.