How to get referrals from customers
Did you know that people are four times more likely to make a purchase when referred by a friend? And, the lifetime value of a new referral customer is 16 percent higher than someone who wasn’t referred.
These stats indicate that working on client relationships to receive customer referrals creates more value than prospecting. Let’s dissect how to get referrals by improving existing client relationships.
Steps to nurturing client relationships
Happy, satisfied customers give referrals, so here are tips to improve existing customer relationships:
- Become their first call. Be the trusted advisor who provides assistance before clients ask for it. Send them industry news to establish yourself as an expert.
- Get feedback. Ask how you’re doing and get their insight on how you can do it better. And, don’t sit on feedback—act on it!
- Everyone is a unique snowflake. Tailor your strategy and service for each client. Customers aren’t homogenous.
- Keep communication flowing. Touch base on progress and to learn what else you can do. Don’t limit communication to when you—or they—need something.
Obviously the best way to keep client relationships healthy is to deliver on your promises. Customers won’t guide members of their network to you if they’re unhappy with their own experience.
Best practices for earning customer referrals
When client relationships are well managed, you’re in a good spot to ask about referrals. Check out these customer referral tactics:,
- Build referrals into your client agreements. Building referrals into your agreement shows you’re committed to client success. Check out this example: “If Agency ABC meets or exceeds at least 75 percent of the defined goals by the end of the second quarter, Client XYZ will supply a minimum of three qualified referrals.” This way, the client can vouch for your work. Once the ink is dry on your agreement, present something bubbly in a logo’d wine bottle gift tote or give in to their sweet tooth with a snack attack jar.
- Provide a template. Don’t ask and hope that your client will follow through on a referral. Give them a template for an introductory email that connects you with a would-be client.
- Make sharing easy. If you send emails, include a link to “Share this message with a friend.” Same goes for thank-you pages on your website after a client downloads a resource.
- Follow up. Courteously and diligently touch base with everyone sent your way. This is critical, because your response is a reflection of the customer who made the referral. If you visit these referrals in person, consider leaving behind a business card truffle box so they won’t soon forget you!
- Establish a VIP club. For clients who make referrals, give a thank-you gift that’s meaningful and sincere. Add them to an exclusive client club that receives discounts and special perks—for example, a freebie on their birthday. Send VIP clients a “wow” box to express gratitude and to keep referrals coming. Fill it with a logo’d popcorn tin (any) or a branded journal-and-pen set.
Your bottom line benefits when you focus on relationships over sales. Giving TLC to today’s clients is an investment
 “7 Surprising Stats about Customer Referral Programs.” Referral SaaSquatch. Referral SaaSquatch, 03 Sept. 2013. Web. 24 May 2016. <http://www.referralsaasquatch.com/7-surprising-stats-about-customer-referral-programs/>.
 Cates, Tom. “Five Tips for Creating Relationships That Drive Sales.”MarketingProfs. MarketingProfs LLC, 15 Aug. 2013. Web. 24 May 2016. <http://www.marketingprofs.com/articles/2013/11420/five-tips-for-creating-relationships-that-drive-sales>.
 Stec, Carly. “7 Tips for Getting High Quality Referrals From Your Clients.” HubSpot Agency Post Blog. HubSpot Inc., 21 May 2015. Web. 24 May 2016. <http://blog.hubspot.com/agency/getting-quality-referrals-from-clients#sm.000u7kx25n5aere116x2aqpyf20z8>.
 Kennedy, Dan S. “Why Cultivating Relationships — Not Sales — Will Increase Your Profits.” Entrepreneur. Entrepreneur Media, Inc., 16 Mar. 2016. Web. 24 May 2016. <http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/270536>.
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