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Make Your Customers Work For You: How To Get Referrals

Make Your Customers Work For You: How To Get Referrals

When was the last time you got referrals from a current customer? Are you hustling for leads or do you expect customers to do it for you?

Many of your customers would be happy to refer a customer or vendor to you. They can't do it, though, if you don't let them know that you would appreciate it. Here are a few ways to approach asking for referrals.

Why Should You Care?

Referral leads are usually higher quality than those found through other methods. There are two reasons for this, according to Steli Efti. Customers will likely know people who own similar companies and have similar problems. Also, having the benefit of trust at the start of the relationship is invaluable.

Call Scripts To Use While Asking For Referrals

Here's a script from HubSpot for approaching your current customers about getting referrals:

Salesperson: You told me you’re happy with my work thus far. Have you told anybody about what we’ve done together?

Customer: No.

Salesperson: Is it because you’re not pleased with the outcomes?

Customer: No, we’re pretty happy.

Salesperson: Well then, do you think what we do together would be beneficial to your clients, vendors, or competitors?

Customer: I don’t want you working with my competitors, but maybe some of my vendors.

Salesperson: Your vendors then -- do you have a favorite? Do they sell to other people you know?

Customer: Yeah, we have a good relationship.

Salesperson: But you haven’t mentioned that you were working with us yet.

Customer: I haven’t, but maybe it’s not such a bad idea.

Salesperson: Do you remember why you hired me?

Customer: To grow our business.

Salesperson: And are any of your favorite vendors trying to grow their businesses?

Customer: Yes, a few in particular.

Salesperson: Okay. In that case, if you called or sent an email and said ‘I’ve been working with Rick for six months, and we’re starting to do some pretty interesting stuff. I know you’re growing your business, so I thought I’d put you two together,” would they like you for that or not like you? -- HubSpot

Efti uses this template when approaching customers for referrals:

You: “Are you happy that you chose our product?”

Customer: “Yes.”

You: “Great. Who else do you know who could benefit from a solution like ours?”

Customer: “Hmm... I’m going to think about this later and get back to you.”

You: “I appreciate that, and I’m sure that over the months and years as you benefit more and more, we’re going to get lots of referrals from you, which is going to be awesome. Today, let’s take a minute right now and think about just one friend who is in a similar position and would really benefit from this.”  

Efti says that if the customer tells you "no" again and sounds even more annoyed with you, let it go. Send them something to the effect of: "I respect that, I'll follow up in an email, thanks for your offer to help." He's found that 40% of people will give you referrals after the second ask. Nurturing works for sales leads, as well as referrals.

If they do give you a name, respond with, “Great, thank you. I want to make it as easy as possible for you to make that introduction. So you’ll get an intro-email from me. Just copy paste it and send it to Bob and Steve. Feel free to make edits or write something yourself if you like. Let's make this happen today!”

Email Scripts To Use While Asking For Referrals:

If your customer agrees to give you a referral, pass them this script from HubSpot:


I don't know if I've mentioned it before, but I've been working with [salesperson] for a few months. The other day, I was talking with him about some of the things that he and I have done, and I realized that I should put you two together. So...

[Referral], meet [Salesperson, with a LinkedIn profile URL].

[Salesperson], meet [Referral, with a LinkedIn profile URL].

Can I leave the rest to you guys?

Talk to you both later.

Or, this script from Efti:

Hey {firstname},

I wanted to connect you with Steli, their company does XYZ. I think this can be really interesting for you, and a contact would be mutually beneficial.

I’ll let you guys take it from here,


Make Referrals a Part of Your Business

Efti recommends you ask the referral to thank your initial customer. They'll feel appreciated and are likely to refer you again. Soon, you'll be enjoying the benefits of working with referral leads.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR | The Happie Team

Happie is a talent technology startup headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts. We believe every person deserves a workplace where they can thrive. Get in touch with the Happie team at hello@gethappie.me.

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