How to Get More Referrals

By Hugo Sanchez

Without a doubt, attracting clients through referrals is the most powerful and enjoyable way to build your business. By the time you engage in a conversation with your prospect, they are already warm and ready, the trust threshold has been met, and chances are they are somehow qualified to engage with you. All of it, without moving a finger.

How do you increase your referability?

Relationship-Based Marketing is at the core of getting referrals. It's all about building and nurturing genuine connections.

Referrals are not predictable—they don’t really depend on us. However, there are definitely things you can do to boost your chances of being referred. Think of it as setting the stage for magic to happen. By focusing on the right strategies, you make it easier for your clients and colleagues to sing your praises.

I’ve identified 5 key lessons to increase referrals in professional services. Let's dive in and explore how you can become a referral magnet.

Think win-win-win

First, we need to understand that being referred is our client’s way of saying “thank you.” The key to becoming referable is to be of great service, consistently. I’m not talking about being good; it’s about being great. Imagine your clients so thrilled with your service that they can’t help but share their experience. That’s the magic we’re aiming for.

Going the unexpected extra mile builds reciprocity. Your clients feel so thankful that they feel compelled to tell the world about you. Every time you exceed expectations, you’re planting the seeds for future referrals.

Furthermore, by referring a trusted partner (you), clients aren’t just saying thanks —they’re also helping their friends and colleagues by connecting them with someone they trust. This kind act of exceptional service results in a win-win-win relationship.

Asking for referrals

Asking for referrals seems obvious, but it’s often overlooked. Many think referrals just happen naturally or that asking for them feels awkward. However, there’s a way to ask with finesse.

Start by planting the seed early. In your first conversations with a new client, say something like, “My business works on referrals, so we really focus on creating outstanding relationships.” This sets the stage for future referrals.

After delivering great value, gently remind your clients that your business grows through referrals. You might say, “I’d appreciate it if you don’t keep me a secret.” It’s a subtle nudge that gets them thinking.

For long-term clients, consider taking them out for lunch once a year. Discuss their business, life, or goals. At the end, it’s perfectly fine to ask for referrals. It’s a natural part of a meaningful conversation.

Niching down helps a lot

I own a Marketing Agency, but not just any kind of marketing agency. We specialize in helping established consulting and coaching firms. Because we are very clear about who we serve, we are much more likely to get referred to a consulting firm. Our niche makes us memorable and specific.

It’s critical that within 3 seconds of interacting with your brand, people can tell who you serve, what you do, and how you are different from everyone else. This clarity not only attracts the right clients but also makes it easier for others to refer you. When your niche is well-defined, clients and colleagues immediately know if you’re the right fit for someone they know.

For example, instead of saying, “I’m a business coach,” say, “I help female entrepreneurs in the tech industry scale their startups.” This specificity makes it crystal clear who you help and what you do, making it easier for others to think of you when they come across someone who fits your niche.

Moreover, a clear niche builds your authority and reputation in that area. When you’re known for being the go-to expert in a specific field, referrals become a natural by product. People trust specialists more than generalists because they perceive specialists as having deeper knowledge and expertise.

Manage expectations and deliver quick wins

The first few months of your relationship set the foundation and define the nature of your relationship with your clients. This is the phase where they are evaluating if they made the right decision by hiring you.

You want to exceed their expectations. But to exceed them, you first need to know them. It’s essential to define success early in the relationship. Ask your clients, “What does success look like for you?” This simple question helps you understand How to get more referrals 4 their goals and sets clear expectations. Plus, it’s a great opportunity to plant the seed that you’ll ask for referrals at some point.

Once you know their expectations, focus on delivering quick wins. Quick wins are small but impactful deliverables that reassure your clients they made the right choice in hiring you. These wins make them feel good and show that things are on track. Quick wins build trust and confidence, reinforcing their decision to work with you.

For instance, if you’re a marketing consultant, a quick win could be identifying and fixing a glaring issue on their website that immediately boosts their traffic. It’s a tangible result that makes your value clear from the start.

Stay in contact

Regular contact shows that you value the relationship beyond business. It is critical to stay in contact with the folks in your network to increase your referability. A yearly lunch or sending a weekly newsletter are great ways to stay connected and top of mind. The bottom line is that there needs to be a genuine
connection where you stay in touch to see how life is going for them, so they know that you truly care.

Staying in contact isn’t about being pushy or always talking business. It’s about genuine, ongoing engagement that shows you care about them as individuals.

In addition, referrals are a two-way street. Consider referring people to your clients when it makes sense to do so. When you actively refer others to your clients, it demonstrates your belief in their services and creates a reciprocal dynamic. They’re more likely to think of you when someone needs your expertise.

Get referred now

I invite you to implement these strategies and become a referral engine. Referrals are the lifeblood of a thriving business. If you’re not getting referred, it’s a sign that something requires attention. Reflect on the areas we’ve discussed and identify where you can improve. Remember, it’s not just about being good; it’s about being great and unforgettable.

Think win-win-win, ask for referrals with confidence, niche down to stand out, manage expectations and deliver quick wins, and stay in contact to show you care. These principles will set you on the path to becoming highly referable.

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