Repeat referrals are the life blood of many small businesses. The company that can get a trusted referral from a past customer jumps to the front of the line with that new prospect. There is no easier way for an inquiry to move from “trash to cash” than to get past the gatekeeper with a referral. However, many companies don’t get their fair share of referrals. Every satisfied customer should be able to provide a few leads per year. Here is how to get them:

1.    Just ask. Many companies simply don’t ask for a referral. The best time to approach a customer is soon after they have used your product or service multiple times. It can be as simple as saying “I know you have enjoyed our services. Do you know other companies (people) that could benefit from it as well?” This process can be repeated once to twice per year. Asking more than this will anger the customer.

2.    Make it part of the contract. Charge a reduced fee that includes the name of a referral when they are satisfied with your company. This is done routinely for new companies that are trying to gain traction in the market. If it is in the contract, it provides an easy transition for asking the customer and they know it’s coming!

3.    Show appreciation for referrals. Thank customers for referrals. Send a letter with a non monetary thank you gift. Let the customer know if the referral actually became a new customer. If they are successful helping once, they will refer more people to you.

4.    Do a great job. Companies with stellar reputation get more referrals. If a company makes the customer look good, they are very likely to help you find new ones. Customers want to thank companies that helped them and share their success with their friends and business associates.

5.    Post references and testimonials on the company web site. Showing  happy customers will lesson their fear of giving a referral. In other words, if they know a lot of customers like you, chances are their referral will be happy too!

How do you get referrals from your customers?



Barry Moltz gets small business owners unstuck. He is an small business author, motivational speaker and consultant. He can be found at