Colleen Answers your Question on How to Ask for Referrals

 Dear Colleen,

I know I am supposed to ask for referrals but I don’t know how. Can you provide some scripts?

Vanessa in Norfolk VA.

Hi Vanessa, Sure!

First let’s look at what not to say. One of the most common mistakes, when asking for a referral, is being too vague with your questions or your request. Examples:

“Who else do you know that might benefit from our services?”

“Do you know anyone else I should talk to?”

Now… what you SHOULD say! Your odds of obtaining a favorable response increase significantly when you are specific in what you are asking of your contact. Here are a couple of examples:

“I’m trying to meet Mr. Charles of the ABC Company. Do you know him?”

“I would like to get your partners involved in this partnership. Can you arrange the meeting?”

Another approach is to phrase your question so that the benefit to the customer comes first. Using the power of reciprocity, these kinds of questions can really get the referrals flowing. In fact, one Engage customer doubled her referrals by asking the following simple, client-focused question at the end of every client meeting:

“Now… how can I help you?”

By putting the needs of her customers first, she demonstrates that she cares about them. When people sense that you care, they tend to want to reciprocate-to return the favor. You’re also likely to find that your customers are genuinely surprised by a question like this… because no one has ever asked them that before. And that’s why your follow-up question is indispensable:

“You have helped my business grow by becoming part of our family network, I would like to help your business grow, too. So let me ask you, what type of people do you want to meet to help increase your revenue?”

A referral from your customer is the highest form of trust. They are showing that they trust you enough to send their network to you. Trust is built on consistent behavior over time, starting with continuously showing your customers that you’re focused on their needs. And a wealth of trust leads to deeper loyalty between customer and seller.

Questions that put the needs of your customers ahead of your own show that you’re willing to help and encourage your customers to help you-all in the spirit of reciprocity and loyalty.

Dedicated to increasing your sales,


3 responses to “Colleen Answers your Question on How to Ask for Referrals

  1. Social comments and analytics for this post…

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  3. I really enjoyed this post. On the subject of getting customer referrals, I thought your readers might also appreciate this white paper which describes a customer follow-up strategy which, if done correctly, can generate customer referrals. Below is a direct link to the white paper which bypasses the name and email collection web pages. This link should work until IT decides to change it. 🙂

    I hope everyone finds it useful.

    – Robyn Williams

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