How Do You Ask Clients for Referrals?

The short answer to that question is simple … you don’t!

The reason you should not directly ask clients for referrals is also simple … it imbalances the relationship.  If a client purchases a product or service from you, they have exchanged their MONEY for your STUFF, which equals VALUE.  We’re even.  Now if you ask me for referrals, you are imbalancing our relationship and if I do give you any referrals, they won’t be referrals, they’ll be “leads” at best.

A far better process is to create more value for your clients and establish an expectation that you do business only by referral – this establishes an expectation that …

#1, they were special for getting referred to you, and someone thought very highly of them for doing so;

#2, you are interested in long-term relationships with your clients, not a get their money & move on to the next prospect relationship; and

#3, they will want to refer to you versus feel pressured to do so.

With this thought process in mind, here’s one easy way to “ask” your clients for referrals by GIVING THEM MORE VALUE:

Use an agenda in prospect/client meetings.

An agenda will help the meeting run on time so you you’ll have more time to hold a value-creating conversation. One of the last items on your agenda should be to ask the question, “In addition to taking care of { insert problem you just solved for them }, what else is going on in your life that’s important to you?”  Then be quiet & listen.  This question will open a dialogue & give you the opportunity to suggest people from your network to help the client with these issues (subtle & powerful way to generate referrals for your referral partners!). You should also have your “Referral Partner Card Holder” (we provide these for our members in BNI) sitting in front of you to remind you to do this and use it as an opportunity to pass an immediate referral – give the prospect/client the person’s card and then call your referral partner immediately so they can follow-up while it’s hot!

When you look at every prospect/client meeting as an opportunity to build value for them and not just to sell your stuff to people they “refer” you to, you will show that you are truly committed to building a referral-based business.  This will result in a steady stream of referrals flowing to your phone – guaranteed!

About Mark Deutsch

Small Business Sales & Marketing Expert | Best Selling Author | Speaker | Trainer | Disruptive Idea Creator
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2 Responses to How Do You Ask Clients for Referrals?

  1. This is very valuable information. Thanks for sharing it Mark!

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