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4 Keys to a Successful Referral Strategy

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Most people don’t treat referrals with anywhere near enough seriousness as they should. A business can literally be built on referrals. If every customer on average gives you two referrals (and they become customers), it will triple your business. So, not putting time and energy into referrals is a killer.

 There are four main things to think about with referrals:

 #1: You have to ask for them

 You need to consistently be asking for referrals. A good example of this is a dog food business that drops off six referral vouchers every six weeks with their customers’ orders. The referral vouchers offer incentives, such as a free customized dog bowl with X number of referrals.

 Ask for referrals regularly and make it worth a customer’s time to give them to you.

 #2: Make it easy to give referrals

 If you successfully create raving fans, you need to give them tools to help them easily refer you. Referral vouchers, cards, and certificates are some tools that can be easily distributed.   

 A beauty salon did this brilliantly – they gave every customer three mini vouchers to give to their friends to receive a mini facial for free. The salon was then able to upgrade almost everyone who called for the mini facial to a full facial. Not only were they able to cover their costs, but they also gained lifetime customers.

 #3: Thank or reward people for referrals

Take time to recognize the customers who give you referrals. The more appreciation they receive from you, the more likely they are to continue referring you.

The beauty salon from the example above sent bottles of champagne to everyone who made referrals with additional vouchers attached, and the referrals kept coming!

#4: Take great care of the referee

If you don’t provide great service to the person who was referred to you, they will most likely go back and share their negative experience with the person who referred them. This will have a trickle-down effect, as that person will then stop referring you.

Increasing your number of referrals can have a significant impact on your number of customers and overall revenue. Be proactive and strategic about developing a systematized referral strategy for your business. 


Heather Yakes is an internationally recognized business coach and employee engagement expert ranking in the Top 10 in the U.S. & Top 100 worldwide. Heather is the recipient of the 2016 Business Excellence Awards Coach of the Year, the 2018 ActionMan Award for the Best Client Impact, and the 2018 Franchisee of the Year Award. She has 20+ years of experience working with Fortune 500 Companies and Big 4 Consulting.