Referrals are the most effective, and cost-effective, way to generate new business, yet asking for referrals can feel awkward. You really could use some more clients but you don’t want to come across as desperate or pushy. Many companies understandably find it very difficult to ask for good referrals. However, 85 percent of small businesses claim that word-of-mouth referrals are an important avenue for getting customers to know about them, according to Firm of the Future.
So, what do you have to lose? Absolutely nothing, but a whole lot to gain!
Good referral versus so-so referral
A good referral has a high likelihood of becoming a paying client. A good referral is also generally a business that generates healthy revenues because that usually means they’re going to have a higher budget.
A good referral is also usually niched. For example, the referral should be a good fit for what your company does. A referral to a catering company for a doctor might not be a great fit, for example.
It’s also important that the referral be an actual decision-maker. If a referral can’t make the decision that you need them to (to partake in your business), they’re likely not a good referral and you can find a better one.
How to ask for a good referral
First, try to figure out who your target market is. Who would benefit most from your business and what you have to offer? After you realize who that is, the next steps practically take themselves.
Here are some easy ways to get a good referral:
- Ask your best clients: Your best bets are your best clients. If you know a client is really satisfied with your business, they’re the person to ask. They’ll be more likely to refer your goods or services to others since they trust you, can vouch for your work or products, and had a chance to work with you.
- Be proactive/ask directly: Just ask. Sure, it might be a bit uncomfortable at first but you may also find that asking for help and what you need to be empowering. It’s not pushy or awkward if you’ve earned it by going above and beyond. Plus, you’ll be doing your business one of the biggest favors you possibly can. There are many different ways to ask such as email or online; many people feel much more comfortable asking through these channels.
- Keep it simple: Have a form and email clients asking for a referral. Just make sure you do it at a time that makes sense in their customer journey. You want to preserve your relationship with them, too. Write them an email script for referrals where they just need to add their name, a mobile-friendly form where they can share links, encouraging them tag friends on social channels, or a card where they can add the names and contact information of their friends or family and mail it back to you.
- Referral fee: One of the more common referral techniques is to pay others for referring your business. For ongoing referrals, you could also offer them a percentage of each new sale that they’ve referred. This gives the greatest incentive for clients to refer business your way, and helps them to feel more involved in the process.
You can do it! Plus – the best part is that it gets easier every time you do it.
Nazaire & Co.
Long Island accounting firm Nazaire & Co. was founded in 1997 – first opening its doors in Brooklyn, New York.