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The 6 Secrets to Better Client Referrals

The Six Secrets to Better Client Referrals - Elevate Corporate Training
Home » Sales » The 6 Secrets to Better Client Referrals

There’s no argument that the best form of marketing you can get is word of mouth. Study after study shows the referrals from friends and colleagues produce better results.  In fact, Nielsen reports that 92% of consumers believe recommendations from friends and colleagues more than advertising.

When you are thinking about how to get referrals, keep in mind these six reasons why asking clients for referrals can be your most efficient way of growing your business:

Lower Customer Acquisition Costs (CAC)

Think of the work you do to acquire leads and convert them into customers.  Between advertising and marketing, companies spend an average of 11% of total company revenue on marketing.  This includes the amount companies pay for leads or lead generation.  Referral customers are free.

Trust & Endorsement

When someone provides a referral, they are also endorsing you, your product, or your service. They are putting their reputation on the line with their colleagues and they are not going to do that if they do not believe in what you do.  This unstated endorsement puts you at a higher level of trust with a new prospective customer.

A referral from a satisfied customer to a potential customer helps mitigate the risk.

Faster Conversions

With a baseline of trust, the sales process tends to move more quickly.  Referrals generate better leads. They close faster, too.  Studies show a referral typically closes 69% faster.

Fewer Pricing Obstacles

Pricing will also be an issue for buyers. However, the more they believe you provide the solution to their problems, the less price becomes an objection. Asking clients for referrals can actually help you increase your average rates.

Better Closing Ratios

On average, closing ratios for referrals are much higher.

Higher Lifetime Customer Value

Customers acquired through referrals tend to stick around longer.  59% of them elicit a higher customer lifetime value.

Lower costs, faster closes, better pricing, and longer-term clients:  what’s not to love?  In addition, it means less cold calling.

How To Get More Referrals From Clients

So, how do you get more referrals from clients?

And bear in mind this works not just for sales but even perhaps more importantly in the world of recruitment. 

Few things in business happen with a clear-cut strategy.  Referrals are no exception.  If you want to increase the number of referrals you get, or your sales teams get, you need a plan.  Here are the six secrets high-performing sales organisations use to increase their referral traffic:

1. Target The Right Customers For Referrals

Not every customer is a good target for a referral.  You want to focus on your best customers.  These may not be the ones that do the most business with you.  Instead, you want to target the people that love what you do for them.  When they make a referral, you want them to enthusiastically endorse you.

2. Target The Right Prospects For Referrals

When you are trying to figure out how to get referrals from clients, it is important to let them know about the type of customer you are looking to get. A great referral to the wrong customer doesn’t help anyone.

3. Time Your Referral Requests

When you close a big deal, you may be tempted to ask for a referral right away.  It’s better if you can let some time pass.  The best strategy is to wait until a customer has experienced success using your product or services.  Only ask for it when your clients are ecstatic about your company.

4. Offer Incentives For Referrals

If you are working with a sales team, you have likely explained to them the power of referral selling. If they are not following through or struggling to get started, offering incentives for referrals and testimonials can help.  Many sales organisations put a bounty of referrals.

5. Say Thank You

When someone provides a referral, make sure you say thank you.  That is an important relationship. When a deal closes based on that referral, say thank you in a demonstrable way (something beyond just a nice thank you note).

6. Track And Measure Results

If you want to achieve results, you need mechanisms to track and measure your success. Set goals for referrals and track KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) such as close ratios, average sale, and length of sales cycle versus traditional leads.

How To Ask For Referrals

Sometimes it’s as simple as asking clients for referrals.  When you do, one of two things happens:  Either they provide or referral, or they exhibit a hesitation to do so. This hesitation someone exhibits in providing client referrals is a warning sign that you may have some work to do to solidify your current client relationship before earning a recommendation.

How To Ask For Referrals In Email

When using email to ask for referrals, the same tactics apply.  Find the right (satisfied) customers, approach them at the right time, and be clear about what you are looking for.

Whenever possible, personalise the email. Mass email approaches rarely net high-value referral prospects and may, in fact, give a negative impression to your customers.

Craft a referral request with the same diligence you would use in creating a marketing email.

  • A compelling subject line
  • Thank them for their business
  • Quickly remind prospects why they value your company with specific details
  • Be clear and direct about why you are emailing
  • If possible, tell them what’s in it for them to help you
  • Be professional, but friendly and personable

Whether you are asking for client referrals on the phone, in person, or by email, it helps to remind them why they value your services.  Document specific ways your product or service helped propel their business.

How To Get More Referrals

Knowing how to get referrals from clients does not have to be difficult.  Quite frankly, client referrals are the most effective (and cost-effective) tactic to grow your business.

Referral business can also be self-fulfilling. Referrals come from happy customers.  The more you get, the higher value prospects you get.  These are also likely to become satisfied customers, which may lead to additional referrals.

Sales Training And Recruitment Training

It goes without saying that upskilling staff makes them better employees and improves your bottom line. And any good sales training or recruitment training will help delegates understand the importance of referrals and help them discover the best way to acquire them.


Interested? Get in touch with one of our trainers today to see how we can help you.