Dear Rachel,

My customers can’t seem to give me any B2B referrals. I keep asking, but they’re struggling to give me some. Why?

-I Can’t Get No (Referral) Satisfaction

Dear No (Referral) Satisfaction,

The problem isn’t that your customers don’t want to give you referrals. They’re just insecure with some aspect of your relationship, or the referral process.

Here are three common referral hang-ups that may be stopping your customers from showing you some B2B referral love:

1. They’re happy with your product… but they haven’t heard from you in a while

You can’t ask for a favor after months of silence.

If you’ve been communicating with your customers regularly and offering them valuable resources, they’ll be more likely to tell their peers about you. Create an exclusive hub—like an advocate marketing program—that keeps you keep in close contact with your top customers and recognizes them for advocating for you.

Now, your referral requests won’t feel like they’re coming out of nowhere.

2. They don’t know who to refer, or how to refer them

If they don’t know who your ideal prospect is, they can’t play matchmaker. Tell them whom you’re hoping to connect with—including their level, the type of organization they work for, the struggles they have and the things they value.

Then, survey your customers to find out how they like to refer, why they’ve referred in the past and what information they like to share with referrers. This will help you create a referral process they’ll love to participate in.

3. They’re worried about what you’ll do next

Nobody wants a friend to be stalked by an overzealous sales rep.

If you make the referral process transparent, and your customers know what will happen every step of the way, they’ll feel better about handing over their friends’ contact info.

Make sure you have a place where you’ve clearly explained to your customers:

  • What you will do with their contact’s info
  • How and when your sales team will reach out
  • What they can do to get involved in the process
  • When they will be notified of the status of their referral

Approach customer referrals like you would a long-term relationship: build a deeper connection, find out what your customers’ hang-ups are, and keep the dialogue open and honest.

Want to learn more about the art of asking for customer referrals? Visit my resources page to get all my best advice.

ask rachel: the referral relationship coach







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