How to Get Referrals from Current Clients

I love client referrals. What salesperson doesn’t want a great existing client to hand them a hot new prospect, right? Unfortunately, I see all too often that sales professionals just don’t ask for referrals. I’ve never met a sales person that loves cold calling, so why do it if you don’t have to? Just look at it this way: cold calling is your punishment for not asking for referrals.

how to get referrals from current clients

My favorite way to get referrals from current clients is called the Service Call Technique. Here’s the 5 step process (with sample phone scripts):

Use these five steps to get referrals from current clients:

  1. Ask your current customer if they are happy with your service. You may hear something that surprises you. If you hear something positive, try to capture a testimonial. Ask, “do you mind if I share that with others?”. You can even ask them to share their story on your Linked In page! Of course, if you hear something negative, here’s your chance to get proactive and fix the problem!
  2. Ask your client: “Will you think of me if you need anything?”. Make sure to remind them of other services you offer. This is an excellent way to increase your book of business by selling other products to a current customer. If they came to you for car insurance, do they know that you offer homeowners/ renters insurance, life insurance, umbrella policies, or financial services?

    Power Sales Tip: Ensure that your number is in your client’s cell phone. Most often times our clients think of us when they’re out to dinner with a family member or friend, but if your contact information isn’t in their cell phone to pass out immediately, then you better hope they remember the introduction when they finally find your business card (Spoiler Alert: They won’t!).

  3. Use the “Who do you know… / who else?” method. It goes like this: “You know Craig, I have really enjoyed working with you, and if I had ten customers just like you, my life would be a whole lot easier! Who else do you know that would be as easy to work with as you are?” Then you can use the trigger words technique to pinpoint the exact person you’re looking for (Who do you know that’s getting married, in the hospitality industry or retiring?). Don’t stop after the first name they give you, thank them and ask, “Who else can you think of that I could call?”
  4. Get specific details about each referral.  After you’ve got a full list of names, now it’s time to get info about them. How do you know each other? Is there anything unique about them? What kind of a decision maker are they? If you find out that your kids go to school together or if they have an extensive wine cellar in their basement, that’s some really good information.  This is called getting “Golden Nuggets”.
  5. Get your client to setup your sales call for you. Say something like: “Oftentimes, my clients give their friends a heads up that I’m going to give them a call. Will you send them an email or text message just to let them know they’re really going to enjoy talking to me and that they are going to want to take my call?”

Power Sales Tip: The right way to call the referral:

There’s one last piece I want to cover, and that’s how to make the call to your referral. Most sales people start the conversation with, “Hi Dave, This is Dew Tinnin with (company name), and John Smith told me to give you call.” Don’t do this! The only thing the person hears on the other line is “SALES CALL!”. They’ll be mentally working on their blow off strategy before you even finish your sentence.

Instead, lead with the Golden Nuggets you gathered above. It sounds like this: “Hi Dave? [wait for their response]. Hi Dave, this is Dew, Dew Tinnin [wait again for them to respond – this allows you to get a better feel for their personality and buying style]. I know my name probably isn’t ringing a bell because we haven’t met yet, but Gale Johnson gave me your name. Did she tell you I was going to be calling? No? Oh, then you missed out on all the fantastic things she was going to tell you about me! Well, she was going on and on about your how great your son is at soccer [insert all Golden Nuggets here]. Actually, how I know Gale is that I just [use transaction type] with her because I work for [company name].”

You want to lead with the relationship first and then the reason for your call. Before you know it, you’ll be chatting like old friends, too.

Here’s your homework assignment:

Set a goal for how many client referrals you are going to get this week, then start calling your existing clients (or make this a part of your routine service calls).  This will be great for you from a customer service standpoint, too. The Service Call Technique isn’t just a way to get referrals for current clients – it’s a way to make sure your clients are happy with your services; and once they say “YES!”,  there’s a good chance they’ll provide an introduction to someone just like them.

Until next time—go sell some stuff!


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