Boss Lady

3 key ways to get more business referrals


Who needs great referrals? We all do… right?

So how do we go about putting ourselves in a position to get them? How do we inspire clients and others to want to give us referrals? Referrals are the life blood of small business owners across the globe yet so few take the time to put themselves in a position to receive more of the right kind for their business. So follow these 3 simple tips and watch as your referrals increase…

1. Timing

I was talking to a woman at a networking event recently. She told me she was having trouble getting referrals from clients who were very happy with her service. I said that was strange and thought I’d dig a little deeper. So, when do you ask your clients for a referral? She answered, “When I give them the bill.” Hmm.

The best time to ask for a referral from a client is definitely not when you’ve just given them an invoice. Knowing they will soon part with cash doesn’t leave most people feeling great. The time to ask for a referral is when the memory of parting with the cash has gone and they are enjoying the service you have provided. Effectively, it’s their “Aaah” moment. Work out when your clients’ “Aaah” moment is, circle back at that time to see how everything is going and plant the seed that it would be appreciated if they kept you in mind when other opportunities arise within their network.

2. Be Specific

Every second day I hear business owners ask for referrals in the following manner… “Anyone who needs a home loan…” Or: “Someone who wants a reception venue…” Or: “People who need their car serviced…”

Would these three be better off asking for a real estate agent, a marriage celebrant or a car fleet manager? As soon as I hear someone, anyone or people in this context I know they are playing in the small beer market. They seek to be referred for a single transaction instead of wanting to develop a relationship with a strategic person that will lead to multiple referrals. So think about the specific position holder within a company or the type of business owner that could send you multiple referrals. Then…

Let your network know you’d like to meet them.               


3. Second on the List

Many of us would love to do business with a company or business owner who already has a wonderful supplier doing what we do. Drats! What should we do? Give up? Pout? Get drunk? While these may be temporarily appealing they won’t result in you getting the gig.

Here’s the simple fact of the matter – business relationships don’t last forever! So how about getting second on the list. By using the strategy above of being specific, try to meet with the person you want and explain that if their current supplier is unable to satisfy their demands for any reason then you’d be able to assist. After all, being second on the list is better than not being on the list at all.

So there you go! Give these strategies a try, be patient and let your network deliver the referrals your business needs to grow.

Join our collaborative Business in Heels community of Business Women … we are local and global


About Lisa Sweeney

Lisa Sweeney is an inspired networking professional building a business, Business in Heels, to support entrepreneurial women world-wide with resources opportunity and choice. I negotiate win-win deals for businesses looking to further their reach through our face to face events and social networks. We aim to help woman in business be successful on a global stage with equality.

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