Getting Referrals and Recommendations from Customers

John Krautzel
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Customer referrals are one of the most cost-effective ways to generate new business, especially if you sell services rather than products. Unfortunately, many people do not understand how to get referrals that result in bigger sales and more business. If you're trying to get referrals from your customers, use these tips to build a strong customer referral program.

One of the easiest ways to get referrals is to make your customer happy. No one will give you a referral if you don't do your best to ensure customer satisfaction. Every time you interact with a customer, ask yourself if the customer seems to be enjoying the interaction. Make sure you listen carefully and identify the customer's needs. If you understand the customer's problem, you can recommend the right solution. Follow up after the sale to see if the customer has any questions or needs help using your product. This is a good way to generate referrals without providing additional services. writer Ray Silverstein recommends asking for referrals. You can do this in several ways. If customers compliment you, express thanks for the compliment and ask if they know anyone who could benefit from your company's products or services. When you set up a new service agreement, ask the customer to give you a specific number of referrals if your work was satisfactory. If you want to work with a specific type of business, such as companies with more than $5 million in annual revenue, let your customers know—one of your current customers may know a decision maker at one of these companies.

Lori Turner-Wilson recommends taking a different approach. She says you should stop asking for referrals and focus on creating a natural process that makes people want to recommend your products and services. One way to get referrals without asking is to make sure you follow up after every sale. Call your customers or send handwritten notes to thank people for their business. If your customers feel appreciated, they will be more likely to give you referrals and recommend your products and services to other people. Another way to get referrals without asking for them is to give referrals. If one of your customers needs life insurance, provide a referral to your insurance agent. This might prompt your insurance agent to refer a customer to you.

Your customer referral program should be one of your top sources of new business, but many people don't know how to get referrals without seeming desperate. If you plan to ask for referrals, focus on providing excellent customer service and recommending the right products and services for your customers. If you want to take a more passive approach, you can get referrals by thanking customers for their business and giving referrals to other business owners.



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