How Successful Sales Professionals Attract More Referrals

Most sales professionals don’t ask for referrals. That’s a fact. Referral selling is the easiest way to grow your business. This article is your three-step guide to attract more referrals.

If you get one from a client you can get ten or twenty from them.

It is the most effective form of selling.

It is also the most efficient way to acquire a new client.

Yet most sales pros don’t do it. In fact, most have some kind of hang up about doing it. They have an unfair disdain for the practice.

Have you figured out what we are referring to?

It is the most effective and underused strategy for getting more business.

We are talking about asking for referrals and using the three-step process that could help you double your client base almost overnight.

Many people are reluctant to ask their clients to refer them to others.

The question is: “Why?”

The answer lies deep within our subconscious. When we were kids we were taught to be polite and not be too “pushy”. This is one of those scripts that is running unconsciously in the back of our mind at all times. Over and over again it is playing in the background:

“Don’t be too pushy.”

“Don’t be too pushy.”

“Don’t be too pushy.

This is powerful stuff developed over years and years. It was installed by people who had the most profound influence on us – our parents.

And it will absolutely kill you if you want to build a business.

You need to break through all of that subconscious programming. Once you do, you can begin to ask for more referrals from your existing clients.

There is a secret about clients who provide you with referrals that will be worth a fortune to you. The client who refers once can and will refer many more people, many more times if you motivate them to do so. Once a client has referred someone to your firm, he/she will be a referral resource over and over again.

There have been numerous studies done that show the average person has a circle of influence of about fifty people. That’s fifty people who will take this person’s call and listen to what he has to say. So every client who is happy with your company should provide you with fifty opportunities to help someone else in a similar fashion.

Yet research conducted by the American Marketing Association indicates that the average satisfied client only tells three people about his or her experience with a firm.

So how do you get from three to fifty?

There is a simple three-step process that you can follow to get more referrals almost instantly.

The three steps are:


As we already discussed, you have to ask in order to receive. Picking the right time to ask is key. You want to ask when the client is full of good feeling. Always ask a client for a referral after positive interaction.

Social events are also great opportunities to ask for referrals. If you are kicking back and enjoying a relaxing lunch with a client, you can ease into the conversation by asking what his ideal customer looks like. Make sure to whip out a piece of paper or note pad and take careful notes as he describes his ideal client.

Now just having this conversation might lead him to ask you what your ideal client looks like. This is a great opportunity to ask for a referral. If he doesn’t ask you about your ideal client at that point – just let the whole conversation drop.

The next day, send him an email (or give him a call) to thank him for spending time with you and for being your client. Then give him a referral to someone who you believe fits his profile of an ideal client – actually volunteer to set up a meeting between him and the other party. At THAT point, give him a description of your ideal client. Then ask if he knows anyone who fits that profile.

Receive and Report Back

This is the part of the process where many people blow it. When someone introduces you to a potential client, you must act immediately. Get that person in your office as soon as possible (or at least jump on the phone and have a conversation).

After you speak with the person who has been referred to you, it is imperative that you report back to the person who gave you that lead. The report back tells the client that you appreciate the referral. It also helps let the client who refers know that it is ok for him to follow-up with the other party.

Immediately calling the new potential client is critical and so is the follow-up call. Although you will be tempted to skip this step, please don’t. Make sure to include it in you referral strategy.


Once you receive the referral and that prospect becomes a new client, you need to reward the person who referred the business to you. This is essential.

We’re not talking about cash. In fact the value of the financial value of the “reward” is unimportant. It is the action of showing appreciation – saying “thank you” that matters.

There are many different types of referral rewards that have been effective for our clients over the years. Some of the best rewards are gifts of food. There are three reasons for this:

1). Sending food is the equivalent of “breaking bread” with a client. This has historical and psychological significance for most people.

2). Food is often shared with others in the office. This gives the person who receives the reward a chance to be a hero by giving a snack to the office staff.

3). People do not feel guilty taking a gift of food. Steaks, fruit baskets, cookies and brownies are all great referral rewards to extend to clients who send business your way.

The power of rewarding a person who refers comes in the reinforcement of the positive behavior that referrer exhibited.

Asking for referrals is by far the easiest way to double your client base quickly. Make a list of ten clients you can contact today for referrals. Then get on the phone and call them. It will seem awkward at first but these are the easiest sales calls you will ever make.

Here are three other resources you can use to change your mindset and grow your business:

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