When and How to Ask For a Referral For Your Small Business [Templates Included]

Building Relationships / September 18, 2019 / Kristie

Referrals are an often untapped strategy when it comes to growing your small business for the cost of… nothing! Even better than that price tag is just how much impact referrals can make in your business. In fact, 83% of customers that have had a positive experience with your business are willing to give you a referral, 77% of customers are more likely to buy a product or service when learning about it from friends or family, and the lifetime value of a new referral customer is 16% higher! With numbers like these, adding this strategy to your arsenal is a no-brainer – but how do you do it without seeming desperate? 

animated characters asking for a referral

When to Ask for a Referral

While there is no hard and fast rule on the right time to ask for a referral, it’s best that rather than focusing on the perfect moment to ask, you focus on when your customer is feeling happiest with your service. Pay attention to your customer’s mood! A common strategy is asking for a referral after completing a successful transaction, which is a great place to start! But don’t get bogged down by one method. Did your customer give you a compliment mid-project? Use the moment to ask if they know anyone else that would benefit from your services. If you haven’t received an easy-in like a compliment, you can hold off on asking too early while still planting the seed for referrals, like mentioning your Yelp or social media pages or offering a few extra business cards to share.

How to Ask for a Referral

If you’re serious about using referrals to bolster your small business, you can start small by using the email templates below to begin reaching out to your customers. You can start with a simple referral strategy and, over time, build it into your processes so you can easily manage your referrals. To make sure you’re consistent, you can use a CRM like Daylite to track your referral customers with categories and keywords and even build Smart Lists that auto-update and segment your customers by things like keywords, the last time you reached out, or even how you reached out!

Daylite Tip: Check out our workflow for how you can use Daylite to track your referrals with Roles and Relationships

Remember to include in your strategy a thank you customers who gave you a referral – especially for a service business where a referral client is worth a lot of money! A thank-you gift like a gift basket, a bottle of wine or something else you know your customer would appreciate is a thoughtful thank you as well as another motivation for that client to continue referring you new business!

Email Templates: 

Hi [name],

It’s been fantastic working with you and I’m glad you chose [Your company name]! I’m so happy to hear we were able to help.  

Since you had a great experience, can you think of anyone who would also benefit from [product/service]? 

Thank you,

[Your name]

Hi [name],

Since you mentioned you had such a great experience with [product/service], I wanted to reach out to you to see if you know anyone else who would be interested in what we can do.

I’m always on the lookout for new referrals to help grow my business! 

If anyone comes to mind, please let me know and feel free to give them my contact details or send them over to [website, social media].

Thank you,

[Your name]

Daylite Tip: You can use Letter Templates to easily automate your referral requests and thank-yous while still personalizing each reach out to your specific customer. 

When you’re ready to take your referrals to the next level, check out How to Get Referrals: Set Up a Killer Referral Program in 5 Easy Steps from FitSmallBusiness.com!

About the author:
Kristie Holden is an online marketing consultant. She helps startups get more leads by clarifying their message and creating a marketing strategy to attract and convert their ideal client. Connect with her on Instagram.

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