Dear Rachel,

How can I subtly ask for customer referrals? I don’t want to nag them all the time for contacts…

-The Shy & Silent Type

Dear Shy and Silent,

Your customers aren’t mind readers. They’ll never know you want referrals unless you ask.

Now, this doesn’t mean you should start desperately calling and email blasting your customers on a consistent basis.

You need to prime your advocates to give you referrals by easing them into the idea first. Here’s how:

Step 1: Find out how they like to refer and why they do or don’t refer. Do surveys and collect data so you can cater your referral process to their needs and desires.

Step 2: Prep them to give good referrals. Ask them how they would pitch you to someone else, or ask them to write a review. Then let them know exactly how the referral process will work, the specific kind of prospects you want and how they’ll be rewarded or recognized when a deal closes.

Step 3: Now it’s time to pop the question. Be grateful, and explain how you’d like to find other valuable customers just like them. But be yourself, and make sure you make it clear what you have to offer your customer’s friends and peers.

The key to requesting customer referrals is to subtly lay some groundwork before directly asking.

You might be wondering “How do I do all of this nurturing without using an annoying barrage of emails?”

I’d recommend launching an advocate marketing program, which is an exclusive online community that contains useful, educational and fun content and activities for your top customers. Alongside these valuable resources, you’ll also provide opportunities for your customers to advocate for your brand by submitting referrals, writing reviews, acting as a reference and anything else you can dream up. This way, when customers log in and experience a moment of delight in your program, they’ll be subtly reminded to repay the favor. If you continually offer them value, they’ll continually be nudged to advocate for your brand in ways you could never have imagined.

What’s that you said? You don’t have a customer referrals program or an advocate marketing program? You’d better watch more of my videos, or check out my resources page to get started.

ask rachel: the referral relationship coachRachel-Headshot-icon





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