“…the more you communicate with your referral sources, the more qualified and abundant your referrals will grow, and the more motivated your referral sources will be to act.” – John Jantsch, The Referral Engine

From that quote, you can probably tell that a key part of your referral marketing strategy is to take really great care of your referral sources and reward them as frequently as you can. In this final post of our referral marketing series (based on John Jantsch’s The Referral Engine), you’ll learn how to ask for referrals and, once you receive them, how to treat your referring customers so they continue to send business your way.

Remember, from our first post, humans are inherently designed to want to refer. It is a mutually beneficial exchange that grows our social currency. Jantsch points out six key moments when it is best to ask for a referral:

  • When a customer voluntarily applaudes your business or service
  • When you receive a testimonial you did not ask for
  • When a customer has acknowledged that you ‘saved them’
  • When one of your partners from your partner network joins a new organization or association
  • When you’ve completed a project
  • When they’ve already referred someone

That last one seems tricky, right, but if you ask the customer why they referred you in the first place, it is easy to encourage them to do it again.

But, if you don’t acknowledge and appreciate your referring customers and partner network, you minimize their incentive for referring you.

Always, ALWAYS, contact someone who has referred you to thank them. Also consider sending a handwritten note (so rare it stands out) with some type of discount or gift included.

Don’t forget to thank them again after the project or transaction is complete. “We just finished Joe’s remodeling project. I think he was pleased. I really appreciate you sending him our way and if you know of anyone else in need of service, I’d appreciate it if you’d send them our way”.

Do not aggressively market to your referral’s friends or your partner network. A delicate touch is necessary to keep the referrals coming.

When appropriate, thank your referral source publicly. This can be as simple as a Facebook or Twitter update.

Make sure your employees know these key customers and acknowledge them as such when they interact.

The Referral Engine is a “must buy” for any small business. In these posts, we’ve covered only a small fraction of Jantsch’s advice with my additional input. There’s much more content and plenty of specific examples in the book. Referral marketing should be highly focused on in your overall marketing strategy.

Referral Marketing Series:

Referrals Do the Marketing for You

Is Your Business Worth Referring?

Pursuing Referrals

A Partner Network: Mutually Beneficial


by Steven Schlagel