Set an Expectation for Referrals
Before you begin working with a new client, you can condition them to think of you as someone to send business to. That can look something like this:
“I am excited to work with you. When our project is completed, I know you will be thrilled with the work we did together. If you are happy with our work would you be willing to share us with others? Your referrals are how our business grows.”
You can also mention the incentive you offer for those referrals that result in a sale. For instance we offer $100 towards any website, SEO or marketing work as our way of saying “thanks”. (See point number 4 below for more details on this.)
Ask for a Virtual Introduction
A really terrific way to get referrals is to ask a contact to do a virtual introduction with the prospect. Here’s how an email like that goes:
Subject: Henry and Mike – A Virtual Introduction from (your name)
I’ve been working with Mike for three months and he’s done a terrific job at getting our bookkeeping up to date. I know you’re looking for a qualified bookkeeper so I thought I’d put you two together.
Mike, meet Henry from Company A. I have known him for five years and he has really made a name for himself in the industry. He’s been a really valuable to have in my circle. He mentioned he needs a good bookkeeper and I thought you could help.
Henry, meet Mike from Company B. Mike and I go way back. He is a real rock star when it comes to accounting. He makes sure our books are balanced at all times.
Here’s both of your contact information. Now reach out and connect!
Ask Happy Clients
The best time to ask a client for a referral is right after you finished working with them. They are excited about the results you generated and are ready to sing your praises to the world.
Here’s an example of such an ask:
Subject Line: FIRSTNAME, Quick Question.
I’m so glad you’re happy with our PRODUCT OR SERVICE. I love helping people like you so knowing you’re excited with the results made my day. Actually, it’s because of this that I was hoping to ask you a favour…
It’s my goal to help many more people like you. So I was wondering if you knew of any other people who could use my help? I’d love it if you could send a short note to them with a few kind words and asking them to connect with me?
Offer a Gift for Referrals
Giving a referral takes time and energy. When you make it worth their while, people are more likely to take the time to do it.
As a sign of your appreciation for their efforts, offer to give them a gift card, a referral fee, discount, or other gift if someone they refer you to hires you.
You can make a referral page on your website. Write an email to send to your clients and connections. Ask people in your Facebook groups. Let your vendors know you give rewards for referrals. Even put a teaser on the back of your business card letting others know.