How many of your clients ACTUALLY send you referrals?

16 replies
Provided that you've asked at the right time (right after closing or after giving them a great results) how often do your clients send you referrals? I know some will send multiple while others will send absolutely nothing but on average what % give you solid referrals that end up closing?

Really interested in hearing this as I've been a dummy and not implemented this strategy into my client base at the moment.
#clients #referrals #send
  • In the past when I was still very much in Offline Marketing, I'd say around 30% of my clients gave me referrals. I always tried to go above and beyond with how I treated them, and I also gave them additional free thibgs if they gave me a referral. I usually wait a couple days after the initial day of giving my service.

    I would also only ask them for some referrals if I know we had a really good connection as customer and service provider.
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  • Profile picture of the author Cashflowlife
    Originally Posted by Headstart View Post

    Provided that you've asked at the right time (right after closing or after giving them a great results) how often do your clients send you referrals? I know some will send multiple while others will send absolutely nothing but on average what % give you solid referrals that end up closing?

    Really interested in hearing this as I've been a dummy and not implemented this strategy into my client base at the moment.
    After a client has been with me 6 months or more I tend to find it pretty easy to tap them for referrals if they don't just send me them on their own. Once someone is crazy happy with your service they love telling others as long as their friends are not competing with them in the same product-service/market.

    I sign 5-6 new deals a month and have for couple years, difference is 2-3 of those monthly are referrals now so I need to actually sell/telemarket less which is great because it's the crappiest part of this gig Eventually I can see a point in time where I really have no need to seek out new clients, they may all be referred.

    So yeah, deliver quality, and you can certainly get good referrals.
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    • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
      About one out of three clients actually has a name ready to give me. After a few months with me, they have bragged (or complained) to several business friends. I was the names of the people they bragged to.

      The important thing isn't to ask for referrals. The most important step is to have the client introduce you, by phone.

      I just don't call referrals unless they are waiting for my call, and have already agreed to see me.
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      • Profile picture of the author Headstart
        Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

        About one out of three clients actually has a name ready to give me. After a few months with me, they have bragged (or complained) to several business friends. I was the names of the people they bragged to.

        The important thing isn't to ask for referrals. The most important step is to have the client introduce you, by phone.

        I just don't call referrals unless they are waiting for my call, and have already agreed to see me.
        Claude, do you typically ask for them right away once the first check has been signed? And if they don't have anything for you then wait until you've delivered a great result and then ask?
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        • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
          Originally Posted by Headstart View Post

          Claude, do you typically ask for them right away once the first check has been signed? And if they don't have anything for you then wait until you've delivered a great result and then ask?
          I ask for them at the time of sale. But it isn't the way most people think.
          They are conditioned throughout the presentation to give me referrals.

          Part of selling is selling them on the idea that giving me referrals is just part of the process, and will be greatly appreciated by the referral. That's key.

          Maybe 40% give me a few referrals right then. I'd get more, but I qualify heavily at that point. And I won't call them until the client talks to them.. My referrals are 80% sold on buying from me (not just sold on seeing me) before I call them. I put effort into creating great referrals, so I don't have to put great effort into selling them.


          Once I see someone that is a referral, the people they refer are now expecting to give me referrals ...before I ever call them. It's just part of the process.

          Then a few months later, I'll ask them who they have talked to....who they bragged to. What did that person say? How excited are they?

          A very large chunk of my book on prospecting covers the dialog and the entire process.

          Sometimes I don't ask for referrals. If I discount, I never ask for referrals. And I never discount when seeing a referral. If I sell on terms, I'm less likely to ask for referrals.
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          • Profile picture of the author Headstart
            Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

            I ask for them at the time of sale. But it isn't the way most people think.
            They are conditioned throughout the presentation to give me referrals.

            Part of selling is selling them on the idea that giving me referrals is just part of the process, and will be greatly appreciated by the referral. That's key.

            Maybe 40% give me a few referrals right then. I'd get more, but I qualify heavily at that point. And I won't call them until the client talks to them.. My referrals are 80% sold on buying from me (not just sold on seeing me) before I call them. I put effort into creating great referrals, so I don't have to put great effort into selling them.


            Once I see someone that is a referral, the people they refer are now expecting to give me referrals ...before I ever call them. It's just part of the process.

            Then a few months later, I'll ask them who they have talked to....who they bragged to. What did that person say? How excited are they?

            A very large chunk of my book on prospecting covers the dialog and the entire process.

            Sometimes I don't ask for referrals. If I discount, I never ask for referrals. And I never discount when seeing a referral. If I sell on terms, I'm less likely to ask for referrals.
            Wow 40% of up front, pre-sold referrals is incredible.. definitely going to implement that into my business over the coming weeks and months.
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            • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
              Originally Posted by Headstart View Post

              Wow 40% of up front, pre-sold referrals is incredible.. definitely going to implement that into my business over the coming weeks and months.
              To be clear....

              I only get referrals from people who bought from me. So it's about 40% of the buyers give me referrals. Zero percent of the non-buyers are giving me referrals.

              Maybe 80% of the people I ask for referrals, give me at least one good one. Many times, I don't ask.

              You cannot implement what you don't understand. You need to know the process. You don't know the process yet. If you don't want to read my book on the process, I'll recommend a couple of other books that cover this pretty well.

              This process isn't simple, or easy to learn. Sorry. The place nearly everyone screws this up, is asking the client to call the referral for you. There are several way to kill the process right then and there. And I've seen it happen enough times, that I'm gritting my teeth just thinking about it.
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      • Profile picture of the author shane_k
        Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

        The most important step is to have the client introduce you, by phone.

        I just don't call referrals unless they are waiting for my call, and have already agreed to see me.

        This is such an great and important point.

        if you ask for a referral and then give that referral a call without the other person either introducing you or at a minimum giving that referral a heads up that you are going to call them, then it is not a referral, but becomes just another cold call.

        Hope you guys understand the distinction.
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    • Profile picture of the author timpears
      Originally Posted by Cashflowlife View Post

      I sign 5-6 new deals a month and have for couple years, difference is 2-3 of those monthly are referrals now so I need to actually sell/telemarket less which is great because it's the crappiest part of this gig Eventually I can see a point in time where I really have no need to seek out new clients, they may all be referred.
      So I read that, and I think in si months, you have 30 to 36 clients you are working with, in addition to those that you start with. How do you manage that many clients? You have a large staff or what?
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      • Profile picture of the author Cashflowlife
        Originally Posted by timpears View Post

        So I read that, and I think in si months, you have 30 to 36 clients you are working with, in addition to those that you start with. How do you manage that many clients? You have a large staff or what?
        How to deal with all the physical/virtual work to keep the machine going?
        Short answer: I manage my small outsourcer army that I assembled over the last year.

        As for dealing with the clients themselves I barely ever hear from them since I flat rate bill them all, and over-deliver the product to them (in this case lead generation), so their credit card goes through every month without a hitch.

        Only time I ever need to deal with a client is to touch base, push for a referral, expand-grow the business they get through me further, or get a new card expiration date

        A hundred clients is manageable by a small operation with properly trained/set-up virtual assistant help.
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        • Profile picture of the author iamchrisgreen
          Originally Posted by Cashflowlife View Post

          How to deal with all the physical/virtual work to keep the machine going?
          Short answer: I manage my small outsourcer army that I assembled over the last year.

          As for dealing with the clients themselves I barely ever hear from them since I flat rate bill them all, and over-deliver the product to them (in this case lead generation), so their credit card goes through every month without a hitch.

          Only time I ever need to deal with a client is to touch base, push for a referral, expand-grow the business they get through me further, or get a new card expiration date

          A hundred clients is manageable by a small operation with properly trained/set-up virtual assistant help.
          Just thought i'd comment on this so it shows up again! Great system there that many people don't seem to be able to get working.

          Maybe in another thread, you could share your process on getting great outsourcers so this thread stays on track?
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  • Profile picture of the author garry6767
    We have quite a lot because we setup an autoresponder with Mailchimp that offers to join an affiliate program that I setup thought OSI Affiliate Software, and we pay them 20% for each sale they send our way. I would say we get around 15% of clients that join our affiliate program and then refer us.
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  • Profile picture of the author Matt Lee
    Referrals are like gold in this industry and most offline marketers are far to passive when it comes to referrals. I would say close to 50% of my clients have or continue to refer me, and that's because I take a more aggressive approach.

    1. In order to MERIT a referral you have to exceed expectations. So before you are referral worthy, you need to figure out your USP and deliver, big time.

    2. You have to continue to deliver, and ask for referrals. Yep. I said ask. Many times, business owners don't even consider it, but would be happy to. I send out a newsletter, and an small business marketing guide each month to all of my clients, and ask them to refer us to anyone in their professional network that can use the same quality services I'm already delivering to them. Another good time to ask for referrals is right after the first month or two, after you've delivered results and their excited about it.

    The key is to over deliver, and most people will be happy to refer you.
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  • Profile picture of the author MaxwellB
    In order to actually ask for referrals without sounding like your desperate or looking for a hand out you really should lay the upfront groundwork that you will be asking later.

    For example, when explaining to clients how you work, maybe after they first become a client you might say

    Now John let me lay out the next 3 months for you so we're clear on a few things. BLAH BLAH THIS IS WHERE YOU PUT STUFF YOU'LL DO LIKE CALL HIM WITH UPDATES, ETC...Finally John let's talk about how I grow my business, first I strive for 100% client retention of course so my number 1 goal is doing great work for clients and we work together on XYZ for many years, second if I do great work for you besides continueing to work with me the absolute best way a client can say thank you is by introducing me to people I don't already know who could benefit from the type of work I do, and We will discuss the type of clients I work with once I achieve XYZ"

    Obviously XYZ is the service your providing and you throw in better words like "once your phone is ringing off the hook with new customers" or "Once you have a beautiful website that will convert visitors to new clients" etc...

    That way when you want the referrals and you have achieved whatever milestone it was you can bring it up:

    "John I'm very happy that you love the level of quality on this Job, we really did enjoy working on the site for you, now I'm sure you remember John I told you when we first started working together that the best way a client can say thank you is by introducing me to people I don't currently know who would benefit from my services, now if I asked you who you knew that needed a website probably no one comes to mind, the reason John is because we really don't know the business situation of others in our industry most of the time, but at (your company) we've done some research and we've discovered that businesses that most likely need our services and that we do the best work for are businesses that recently opened within the past 3 years...who do you know who opened a business in the past 3 years"


    Replace certain parts with whatever fits your business...if you only work with contractors just say "are Contractors looking to grow and make more money, who do you know who owns a contracting business?"

    The words "who do you know" are assumptive on purpose. Let them tell you they don't know, but if you give them a "Do you know anyone" they will say ehhh I don't think i know anyone"

    When you say this put your head down and pen to paper waiting for them to answer, don't take your head up, start numbering the paper if you have to 1 to 10.

    When they say a name, say "Great, who else?"

    Do this until they say I don't think there is anyone else....

    Then get everyones phone number and ask how they know them. or whatever other information you want to know.

    I apologize if this post wasn't written perfectly correct grammatically or if some sentences don't sound right i was rushing before doing something else.
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  • Profile picture of the author isaacsmithjones
    I haven't actually counted, but it's certainly More than 50%. I get my clients to do joint ventures, and sometimes get them to call up competitors to get group discounts from suppliers.

    As my client speaks to their new allies, they're naturally gonna mention me. And I encourage them to pass my details on, because the better my client's allies do, the better my client does.

    But I do make it clear that I won't work with their direct competitors.

    If your client has a reason to speak to other businesses about you, you're gonna get referräls.
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  • Profile picture of the author JCorp
    We don't track referrals because it's not necessarily scalable. With one of my offline businesses, the deals are in the hundreds of thousands of dollars so 1 referral is worth it. With that said, we get referrals on a regular basis because we focus on excellent customer service, excellent value and treat our customers like gold.

    If you provide that then referrals will come.
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