In business (and in life), the best relationships start with a referral from someone you know. Every company wants more B2B referrals—but they’re often the most elusive type of lead to capture.

It’s not easy to put your customers in the mood to fill your sales pipeline with referrals.

It’s not because your happiest customers aren’t interested in setting you up with their friends. According to Advisor Impact, 83% of satisfied customers are more than willing to refer your company to their peers—but, on average, only 29% of customers do.

The problem is they haven’t been given the right signals, and may be insecure with some aspect of your referral process.

In our new eBook, The Little Black Book Of B2B Referrals, we’re sharing a step-by-step guide for building an engaging referral program that will address your customers’ concerns by nurturing them throughout the referral process.

Here’s three things stopping your customers from referring.

getting more referrals1. They’re happy with your product… but they haven’t heard from you in awhile

If you’re asking for a favor after months of silence, your customers may feel like they’re being put on the spot. If you’ve been communicating with them regularly and offering them valuable resources, they’ll be more likely to become an advocate for your brand. (Email blasts about release notes don’t count.) Find other ways to stay close to your customers so that they feel happy to refer their friends to you any time you ask.

getting more referrals2. They don’t know who to refer, or how to refer them

If they don’t know who your ideal prospect is, it will be hard for your customers to play matchmaker. Make sure they know exactly who you’re looking for. Tell them who your ideal prospect is– including their level, the type or organization they work for and the things they value.

You can also ask for specific introductions based on your customers’ online social networks. This way, they don’t have to think too hard about it.

Also consider surveying your customers 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 be comfortable with.

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

Nobody wants a friend to be stalked by an overzealous sales rep. You need to make the referral process transparent so your customers know what will happen every step of the way. You need to explain:

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.  

If you ease your customers into the idea of opening up their Rolodex to you—instead of barraging them with desperate emails before the end of each quarter—they’ll be happy to play Cupid for you.

The Little Black Book of B2B Referrals

littleblackbook-cover-232x300-transThis how-to guide has everything you need to know to about taking your referral process from desperate and awkward to downright irresistible. In this eBook, you’ll learn:

  • The real reasons your customers just aren’t that into giving you referrals
  • How to nurture your customers using advocate marketing—before you ask for a referral
  • Creative ideas for inspiring your advocates to send you new referrals on the regular
  • How other B2B marketers use advocate marketing to get high-quality referrals

Download now