How to Ask your Clients for Referrals (+Free Email Templates)

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Did you know that referred customers have a 16% higher lifetime value than regular customers? And that such referred customers are also technically free to acquire for your brand - a win-win

But how do you ask your customers for help? How can you encourage them to search their network for referrals without being awkward or pushy? 

In this piece, you'll get to know how to pinpoint referral opportunities and then how to ask for referrals after identifying quality candidates.

The First Step - Identification (How to Identify Potential Referral Opportunities)

If you know which clients are happy with your offers and brand, you'll minimize the chances of asking the wrong people to become advocates for your business.

You'll also increase the probability of acquiring a referral. With that said, let's see some ideas on how to go about the prospective advocate identification process.

Use NPS to Identify Advocates

The identification of advocates among your client-base may appear as a hard nut to crack, but with a Net Promoter Score (NPS), the process can become a lot easier.

The Net Promoter Score is a client loyalty metric used by many businesses in different industries to find out how pleased customers are with their service or products.

NPS is discovered by sending a survey with a single question to clients that asks: What is the possibility that you would recommend our service/product/brand to a colleague or friend?

The respondents would then have to score their answers using a 1-10 scale. Scores between 0-6 are labeled "Detractors" and responses between 7-8 are considered passive.

Like this:

If a client chooses a score of 9 or 10, they are identified as "Promoters" of your brand. These are the customers that are likely to give you referrals. 

If you don’t want to use traditional methods of collecting NPS data, you can consider doing it in a subtler way - by using chatbots. Best chatbots allow you to create a survey or a questionnaire and engage your customers in an easy way. 

You can either collect NPS data related to your product or ask them to evaluate the overall experience they had with your brand.

Here’s how this can look like in practice.

Keep in Touch with the Promoters

Only sending clients an NPS survey won't cut it. You have to keep in touch with the potential advocates and ensure their positive vibe towards your brand stays intact.

There's no need to have a set of data with customers who picked 9 and 10 if you don't use it profitably.

You'll have to mobilize and encourage your promoters by engaging with them. These promoters are your advocates.

They are the individuals who took the time to answer an NPS survey and state that they're willing to recommend your brand to their friends.

Once you've pinpointed your promoters, create a plan to keep in touch with them, and make it seamless for them to refer your product or business to their network.

You can then use predictive dialer software or reach out personally to your promoters to see if they'd be interested in referring your brand to their friends.

That said, once you identify these happy clients and they have shown willingness to refer your company, it's now time to ask them for referrals. 

The goal at this stage though is to ensure that it's easy for your promoters to refer your offers to their network.

 

How to Ask Your Clients for Referrals

Create Value First before Asking

You can ask for a referral right after a successful deal but it isn't recommended. Wait till you have given your customers unmatched service, then they'll be much more likely to refer your brand to colleagues.

The value you've given will induce them to speak to their network about your business.

Keep them in the loop and let them know when your brand launches new services or products that'll benefit them.

This way you continue to create brand loyalty after the sale and convert satisfied customers to loyal promoters.

For new customers, providing value first is only possible after a successful onboarding experience.

Ask Clients who they Interact with Consistently

Find out from your clients who they interact with, to ensure that they refer people to you who they have close working relationships with.

When you receive referrals of individuals who have a lukewarm or passing relationship with your clients, they aren't any different than cold calls.

Ask for referrals they constantly interact with and you'll benefit from the trust and closeness that relationship already possesses.

Ensure that your Ask is Specific

If asking clients for who they interact with constantly isn't sending you the qualified referrals you need, amp up your request.

After you've ascertained your customers are happy and there's nothing too elaborate you could do to boost their customer experience, you can ask, "do you have any colleague looking for a loyalty solution?"

You may even make it light-hearted and ask "or friends don't yet know they need a loyalty solution."

Keep in Touch with Clients

If you've asked a customer for a referral and they said no, or even if you haven't asked yet, keep in touch with your client. 

By doing this, when you eventually request a referral from them, the ask won't look desperate or out of the blue. 

To stay in close contact with clients in a human and authentic way to keep your chances open for receiving future referrals, do the following: 

  • Subscribe to their company or a personal blog, if they run one, and email them if a particular piece stands out to you. 
  • Connect with such clients on LinkedIn so you can follow their updates, and comment on blog posts, status updates, and job changes. 
  • Set up Google Alerts for their brand and name so you can send them a quick "congrats" message when they open a new office, receive an award, or get another round of funding, etc. 
  • If they reside in the same location as you do, request to take them out for a cup of coffee. If they don't live where your client is, offer to host them whenever they're in your locality. 

Share their Work for a while and then Ask

Proactively share their ideas, business, or work to your network so you're passively referring them consistently. It just takes a few clicks but it will foster goodwill to publicize their new product launch, write them a positive review, or share their new blog posts.

When you do this consistently, it wouldn't seem random to ask clients for referrals when you do, as you have already shouted their praises before then.

When Asking Stick to the Strongest Relationships

As a rule of thumb, your referral generation efforts should focus on your strongest client relationships.

These are clients that you've helped to achieve success, worked with before, and have already shown that they can serve as great referral sources by giving you high scores in the survey, or by filling out a positive client review. Or they might have simply indicated that they're pleased with your work and enjoy working with you.

 

Free Client Referral Request Email Templates

When you get a new customer on board, give yourself enough time to generate results with them. You want your client to decide if they're happy with your service or not. 

This may take a month, a couple of months, or even a week. But when you're pleased with the impression you've made, follow up by sending them an email, but you can start by using the email templates below to ask for referrals. 

Asking for a Referral from a Loyal Client - Email Template

Hello [Client Name],

I'm excited to know that you're pleased with collaborating with [your brand name] so far. I was certain we could help, and I'm happy you're seeing results right away.

Since things are going great, I've been wondering if you know any colleagues at similar brands that would benefit from our [service or product]. I'd love to assist them to get the same results.

Regards,
[Your name]

Asking for a Referral from a New Client - Email Template

Hello [Client Name],

It's so awesome that you have had such an amazing experience with our brand already. Our team continues to surprise even me, and I encounter them daily.

I'm certain that they'll guide you through the rest of the process, but you can always contact me with urgent questions.

In the interim, since you're in great hands, I've been wondering if you are in contact with anyone else who needs help with [problem/pain that led your client to you].

Please let me know,

[Your name]

Asking for a Referral from a Vendor, Affiliate or Partner - Email Template

Hello [name of the point of contact],

I've seen a positive trend with our clients who work with [their brand name] have lesser issues with [pain point they fix] on average.

I believe that [your business name] and [their brand name] make a strong combination.

Do you know anyone currently, that'll benefit from [your solution]? I'd love to help.

Best,

[Your name]

Conclusion

That's a wrap! Asking your clients for referrals is all about timing and the stage they are in concerning the customers' journey.

As we've seen, you won't succeed asking a new customer for referrals the same way you would a loyal client. Their experiences are different as well as their trust level regarding the relationship end goal.

All you need to do is go through the tips listed in this piece and make use of the email templates to ask for referrals.

Raul Galera

Partner Manager at ReferralCandy & CandyBar, two tools helping small and medium businesses run customer referral and loyalty programs. He’s been working in the tech sector for the past seven years and regularly writes about marketing, ecommerce and tech.

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