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How to ask for referrals without feeling awkward

business referrals

As a business services provider with over 26 years of experience, we understand that for some business owners, asking for referrals can be challenging. However, referrals are one of the most effective ways to increase your business revenue by growing your customer base. In this blog, we’ll share some hints & tips on how to ask for referrals without feeling awkward.

First, it’s important to understand that referrals are a normal part of business and essential to most businesses as a free form of advertising. If a business delivers excellent customer service, then those customers are likely to be happy to refer you to others.

Hopefully, these hints and tips will help you feel more comfortable about requesting referrals.

Relationships are key to referral success.

Customers need to feel they have a strong relationship with you before they are going to recommend you to anyone else. They need to be confident and believe in your business before they are going to refer you to friends and family.

You can build a relationship by delivering excellent customer service and retaining open lines of communication with your customer. This can be as simple as following up with them after a purchase, engaging with them on social media or sending a personalised email. This shows your customer you care about their satisfaction and are concerned for their success and will make them feel valued.

When asking for a referral, timing is key.

Strike while the iron is hot and ask recent customers. If you wait too long your business won’t be fresh in their minds to make a referral. Best practice is to ask customers who are happy with their services and have recently interacted with you. If you follow up with your customers after they have made a purchase, you can ask for referrals during the checkout process. By doing this, they will still remember your business, and they are more likely to refer you to others.

Offer a referral incentive.

People are more likely to refer if they feel they will get something out of it too. Offering incentives for referrals can motivate your customers to spread the word about your business. You can offer discounted services, a gift card, free trials, or other rewards to customers who refer new business to you. This not only encourages referrals but shows your customers you value their loyalty.

Make the referral process easy.

Make it as easy as possible for your customers to make that all-important referral to their friends and family. Providing referral templates, social media posts, or including a referral link in your email signature, website, and on social media gives customers every opportunity to make that crucial referral.

Providing the necessary information and resources to make the referral keeps the process straightforward and simple for your customer, making the referral more likely.

Follow up with clients who provide referrals.

When your customer has provided a referral, is it important to take the time to thank them for the support they have shown you. This will reinforce your relationship with the customer as well as showing your gratitude for the referral. Maintaining a positive relationship will ensure you keep your customers and encourage them to make more referrals of your business.

Be specific in your referral request.

When requesting a referral, it’s important to be specific about who you seek.

It is less effective to make general requests like “recommend me to anyone who needs my services” than to make specific requests like “Is there anyone you know who owns a small business in healthcare?”

This clarity makes it easier for your customer to think of someone who might fit your services well.


Finally, asking for referrals doesn’t have to be awkward or intrusive. You can improve your chances of attracting new clients through referrals by developing relationships with your current clients, timing your referral requests appropriately, making it simple for clients to recommend you, offering referral incentives, and following up with customers who refer others.

Don’t be afraid to ask for referrals. Referrals are a natural part of building a business. Happy customers are likely to be pleased to refer you to others. Be confident and value your business.


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