Asking for referrals

How to ask your contacts for referrals

Do you often ponder about how to ask your contacts for referrals?  Are you aware that many of your happy customers would be really pleased to pass on referrals to you if you simply asked.  Why not let them do the hard work on your behalf!   When initially working with your prospective customer you can make it even easier, to ask for referrals, by ‘sowing the seed early’ with them.

Asking for referrals
Making asking for referrals easy

Referrals, without doubt, is one of the top ways to grow your business exponentially once you start collecting happy customers. Many of you will know this already, but how many of you are actually prepared to ask for referrals?

So are you afraid? This is one of the main reasons small business owners do not ask for referrals – due to the fear of ‘shedding themselves in a bad light’ or from being told ‘NO’. If this applies to you, you need to get over this and force yourself to step-out of your comfort zone and get into the habit of asking for referrals from every satisfied customer. Once you start doing this it will then become second nature over time.


  • Generally people like to help others especially if there is no cost involved to them.
  • The worst that can happen to you – someone says “No”. But this isn’t the end of the world, be prepared that not everyone will help you with referrals, but there will be many who will, so just remind yourself of this upon receiving a “No”. The book Go for No by Richard Fenton & Andrea Waltz is testament to this – the more “Nos” you receive, get you closer to a “Yes”!
  • Make asking for a referral part of your customer close routine. DO NOT ASK FOR A REFERRAL WHEN PRESENTING YOUR INVOICE. A great time to ask is when asking for feedback.

THE KEY IS not to ask everyone for referrals just the customers who you know are really happy with the product/service you have provided them. So how do you do this seamlessly I here you ask!

Great salesman, for example Tom Hopkins, always follow-up to make sure that their customers are happy with the level of service provided through feedback and to find out when they would like to be contacted again. If they are happy with your services this is the perfect time to ask for a testimonial and/or referrals. This is best done in person. However, if this isn’t possible, over the phone, via e-mail, text or LinkedIn/Facebook message are other methods that can be used.


When asking don’t be vague, be sincere and direct. You need to make a clear statement describing what type of clients you are looking for. You need the person you ask to have a clear idea of what type of referral you are looking for.

You could say something like:

“I’m really happy that you’re pleased with the product/service I provide. I am always looking for more people [to be specific you could include a profession here, i.e. solicitors, accountants, estate agents, etc.] just like you and wonder if you know of anyone else who might be interested in what I do?”

At this point pause and wait for their response

If they confirm that they are happy to provide you with a referral/referrals ascertain if there is anyone they know straight away and if they would like you to contact them direct or if they would prefer to pass your name on. At the same time you could also provide them with a small supply of business cards for them to use to pass your details on to anyone in the future. You might also like to let them know the benefits of passing a referral to you if you offer a referral program to your customers, i.e. every referral passed they will receive a £25 voucher from a major retailer of your choice or a bottle of champagne.

Just keep reminding yourself that the more referrals you ask for the more you will get!  I’d love to hear what you think on using this type of strategy for your business so do comment below.

Until next time

Nicky @NickyClaydon