I was a bit stuck on what to write about today before I suddenly received a text from an old client, telling me that he had someone interested in my services. It got me thinking.
Wondering how to ask clients for referrals? Simply put, you don’t. If you want your clients to refer you new business then they must be willing to do so without being asked. If you consistently over-deliver for your clients, they will speak highly of you to their friends & family without prompt.
By asking your clients for referrals, you are essentially focusing on the money-making aspect of the relationship – rather than the relationship itself. Make it your sole mission to help your clients and they will naturally want to help you in return.
Simon Sinek, world-renowned author and inspirational speaker, shares his own experience of when his mortgage broker asked him for a referral shortly after the sale of his house. You can find out how that interaction turned out here.
Spoiler alert, it didn’t go so well.
Happy Clients Will Refer You business
You need to remember that for most service providers, it’s unlikely that your clients will be able to refer you to new clients overnight.
Getting referrals is a long-term game and if you plant enough seeds today, you could potentially live off referrals alone in a few years time.
It goes without saying though that your clients will only refer you new business if they see you as the go-to problem solver for them. That is why it’s always recommended that you over-deliver for your clients where possible.
If you can consistently put your client’s needs before your own (i.e. money) then they will happily recommend your services to friends & family when the opportunity arises.
I run an active Facebook group community that shares good and bad reviews of local businesses, and it’s amazing to see how keen people are to recommend those that provided them with a great service.
When is asking for referrals okay?
Of course, there are always exceptions to anything.
This is why I figured I’d cover the main reason why it might be okay to ask your clients or customers for referrals.
The main reason being affiliate marketing.
Affiliate marketing is the process where a happy customer (a.k.a. an “affiliate”) earns a commission for marketing products from another person or company.
Basically, you give them financial incentives to refer you new business.
Let’s say that you have a digital info product, like an online course. You may have 100 people take the course and 10 of those people absolutely love it.
You can offer your happy customers their own unique affiliate links which they forward to others who may be interested in your course.
Those affiliates would receive a commission [from you] for every successful sale/referral made from their respective affiliate link.
It’s a terrific way to drive new sales for products, but I personally wouldn’t recommend having an affiliate program for something as bespoke as a service.
For those wondering how to ask clients for referrals, you should know that by doing so you are actually harming your chances of ever getting any.
This is because you are focusing on the money-making aspect of business rather than on serving the needs of your clients.
By asking your clients for referrals, you’re showing them that your good intentions were never genuine and that you were always in it for the money.
When you switch the focus from yourself to the needs of your clients, you give yourself the best chance of getting referrals from those clients, as they will want to repay the favour when the opportunity presents itself.
Have any feedback or questions on how to ask clients for referrals? Let me know in the comments below!