Asking customers for referrals is part of business. There’s no reason to shy away from turning to customers when you’re looking to acquire new customers. If your customers are pleased with the services you’re providing, what better way for them to thank you than by sending business your way?
When considering whether to ask a customer for referrals, evaluate your relationship with the customer. Are you on good terms with the customer? Has the customer been pleased with your work? If your answer is yes to both questions, then proceed with asking the customer for referrals.
As long as you're prepared, asking customers for referrals shouldn't be difficult.
Lay down the groundwork for referrals ahead of time
Here’s the thing: Your customers may not recommend you if you don’t first lay down the groundwork ahead of time.
Truthfully, they’re usually too busy operating their own businesses to worry about generating leads for yours, but that doesn’t mean they won’t refer you if you simply ask.
Eighty-three percent of satisfied customers are willing to refer products and services, but only 29 percent do, according to marketing survey conducted by Texas Tech.
Be upfront with your customers about your feelings about referrals from the start. Let your customers know you'd appreciate referrals if they think you're doing a great job.
A simple request can go a long way — especially if you’re in a competitive market. You just need to be proactive about it.
Won’t I sound desperate for work?
There’s nothing wrong with asking for referrals. Everybody does it, including your customers, so why worry about what they think?
As a business owner, one of your top responsibilities is to bring in new business. You would be doing your business a great disservice by not seeking referrals from customers, so don’t let your emotions get the better of you.
Overcome your initial reservations by asking for referrals as soon as customers find value in your services.
Are you connected with your customers on LinkedIn? If not, you should be
LinkedIn is a great starting point to find leads, especially when they’re connected to your customers.
While browsing through your customers’ connections, identify prospects. Then, when discussing referrals with your customers, find out if they personally know the connections you’re interested in pursuing. If they do, simply ask for introductions.
There’s something you should know about this tactic: Don’t go overboard. Only ask about 10 connections per customer. You don’t want your customers to feel like you’re giving them homework.
There’s no reason not to ask customers for referrals. If they’re satisfied with your services, take the extra step by finding out if they’re willing to pass your name along to their connections.
Your requests will more often than not be granted.