how to ask for a referral

How to Ask for Referrals to Increase Customers?

A referral is an act of promoting something which has impressed you in a certain way and reviewing that ‘something’ to your friends and family. It is indirectly a kind of market in which you share your positive review of the product or service to your friends or family.

“One customer, well taken care of, could be more valuable than $ 10000 worth of advertising.”- Jim Rohn.

Who are referrers?

Referrers are majorly those people who are users of a product or service of your business. It is the existing customer who is the Referrer. Now referrers can be in any form of e-commerce. A referrer can be a search engine like google, or any blog or any other website. So referrers can be

who are referrers
  • In-person who refers to others. or
  • Internet, the URL from which the user takes a reference to another URL.

So, referrals are essential for the growth of your business rather than relying only on traditional marketing tactics such as broadcast, print marketing, direct mail marketing, etc.

Now the question is How to ask for Referrals to increase Customers?

First of all, develop that mindset of asking for referrals in your daily business routine without any hesitation and awkwardness. 

Existing Customers will be willing to help and promote your business to new customers if it does not involve any negative cost to them.

Remind yourself that the worst it can happen is the client say “NO” to you, and that is not at all embarrassing, it’s a part of your business.

Be bold and active to ask for a referral if there is a final meeting with the client; then, this is a perfect time to ask for a referral.

6 Best Strategies to Ask for a Referral

1. Ask face to face

If possible, there is an opportunity where you can directly deal with clients face to face; then, you should prefer asking him for the referral through the eye to eye contact. If you want a positive reference, even your small businesses have to be reachable, and for the reachability face to face asking for a referral is the best practice. It’s a human tendency where humans are more likely to do something for someone if a person is standing right in front of them. 

ask face to face

It is acceptable to ask for referrals via emails or phone, if it is freelancing work or if you work under the conditions where eye-contacts are very difficult or rare. Suppose a digital marketer may work from a different part of the country to help the client to grow their business. 

2. Ask through writing testimonials.

If face to face asking for referrals is not possible due to the nature of the business or whatever it is, then the company can ask for writing short testimonials (which supports your credibility and level of expertise) for them and in the process take the referral. Testimonials can spark a good referral.

writing testimonials

Many clients favor writing testimonials as they can freely review the business without any hesitation of commenting negative remarks, which is a little difficult via face to face referral. But the time of asking for testimonials is crucial. The company should not ask testimonials on the spot, but instead, they should provide the client with a card or a printed card and ask them to mail it at the company’s email.

At the time of asking for referrals, don’t forget to ask them for testimonials as well.

3. Use a script for a referral request.

Scripts are written characters different from printed notes made by the company for getting a referral. It varies according to the company’s nature of business. 

An ideal script should be short, brief, and direct.

For example

I feel positive that you are pleased with my work. I am always looking to help others with…………..(What services do you provide) and wonder if you know anyone………………..(for the client to fill) who likes to avail such services from me? Should I leave my business cards with You?

In this manner, some will offer names, and others may not be comfortable to provide any particular name and will write ‘Maybe,” and some will directly say ‘No’ but no worries at least you tried. For example, a person may not be comfortable telling names to you, but if they would forward an email or share social media with their network. 

And even if you don’t get any names, you can ask them to leave some extra business cards which they would like to pass along.

4. Offer incentives to Referrer

It has been rightly saying, ‘There is no free lunch in this world.’ 

If a company asks for a reference from their satisfied client, then the Referrer also expects something in return, such as cash incentives, extra discount apart from the regular discount, gift cards, or any other reward from you.

offer incentives

Inform your top ten happy clients that you will give a 15% extra discount apart from a regular discount of 10% for every referral they send your way, and more they refer, they will get a surprise gift also. You might even be surprised how fast those referrals are suddenly coming from the customer’s mind.

So it will benefit the company in two ways-

  • The happy clients will be eager to refer and will try to process their second deal with the company to avail of the extra discount and earn the advantage of reference.
  • You will get new clients through referral marketing.

Endorse a friendly functionality to your web.

You can create a page or a link form or any box on a website that allows the visitors to add the email or any other link or network of their contact or send them a personalized link. 

Encourage referred customers to become referrers themselves.

It is proved that a customer who has come through the reference of old clients is more open to becoming referrers themselves. Marketing agency The Social Annex conducted a survey and found that referred customers are four times more likely to refer customers to your brand.

5. Get involved with users on Social Media.

It is the most leading method on which companies make their effort to connect to their clients on social media say Instagram, Facebook. They involved themselves in conversations about the product, answering questions, and helping to troubleshoot problems. The company helps to build an active presence not just on social media but in the lives of even top customers.

engage on social media

Customers are far likely to refer to their friends and relatives to a brand if they feel more personal and close. It is a prominent method that helps to get new clients.

So actively participating in online conversations on social media is an invaluable strategy for building trust. Thus, social media is a place where you can engage with your customers in a meaningful way.

6. Build an automated referral program 

automated referral program

Many times referral marketing fails due to its complicated process. The customers do not have time to go through the complicated process of referral marketing. Even if they go through the automated referral program, they will leave in between, leading to no benefit to the company. So, it should be designed simply and straightforwardly. Manual referred plans don’t scale well at times; tracking all the sources of information, behavior, interactions, and details that drive a referred program is challenging for a program of any size.


By the time, efforts, relationship with your happy customers, and most importantly, engagement into the company’s automated and manual referral program or code of ethics, you can reap benefits of this low-cost marketing strategy for your brand. Creating a trust to participate in active conversations about your brand will not only generate more clients but also build substantial goodwill of your brand, leading to more sales, generating more traffic, and high revenue for sure.


Shivani is a content writer at InviteReferrals. She writes SEO articles, blogs, and guest posts for businesses to improve website ranking on SERP. She follows a balanced approach for the quality of content and its marketing. She loves to do creativity, although she had an English major in her graduation.