referralsHow important are referrals in sales?

Answer? Very.

Why are referrals so valuable? Most sales trainers agree that a referral has the best chance of being a new client than any other prospect.

In fact referrals are so valuable, a lot of time, money and resources are spent trying to get more. Which leads us to the question:

How Do We Get More Referrals?

The goal of this article is article is to determine how to get more referrals.

Kevin Elliot of ITEX Barter

“Close rate from cold calls is usually under 10%. Website inquiry is about 30%. Referrals? Closer to 90%.” ITEX Barter Group area manager Kevin Elliot tells us. “Give me referrals all day long please. Unfortunately you can’t count on them coming in by themselves. At some point, you have to go out and get them.”

Sure sounds easy. But how? When? What do we say? Let’s discuss the five W’s (and H):

  • Who
  • What
  • Where
  • When
  • Why
  • How


Short answer? Everyone. Remember the rule of 250. Every person you meet knows at least 250 people that you don’t know.

Long answer? A referral from an extremely satisfied client will be more valuable than all others. Find your “raving fans” and ask them.


What do you ask for? We recommend settling for nothing less than a personal introduction. While in person or on the phone is the best, you can also have great success being referred by email. Here’s an example

To: Bob
From: Sophie
Subject: Introduction to Bill

Bob, I’ve been working with Dave for a while now in the (insert field here) and I am really happy with the way he has treated our company. Not only was the implementation seamless, but the continuing service has been professional and timely. I highly recommend you two get together for at least a cup of coffee. I can see many ways in which you could work together.



Where do you ask for a referral? Hopefully when you are in front of your raving fan clients. In Person is the best way hands down.


One of the best times to ask for a referral is exactly the point when the prospect becomes a client. It’s at that time that the belief and excitement level is very high, if not the highest. Other times would be right after a success, such as a problem solved.


They may ask why you are asking. This is important. You don’t want to sound “hungry”. Try something like this:

“Darla that’s a great question. It’s true that we are very busy right now, but did you know that our pipeline extends out (insert number) weeks on any new client? We have learned that it’s best to keep the referral chain going at all times. Have you found that to be true also?”


How do you ask? How many do you ask for?

We recommend you try something like this:
“Steve, have we treated you well so far in this process? We haven’t put pressure on you, or made you feel like you were being ‘sold’, have we?”

The answer should be “You’ve treated me great, with no sales pressure” or words to that effect.

“Can I ask you two things? One: do you trust me to treat your friends and strategic partners the same way? Two: Have I earned the right to ask you for three or four personal introductions?”

You may not always get three or four, but if you don’t ask for that many, you will rarely get more than one.

I Got The Referral. What Now

We recommend you follow these three guidelines:

1: Pursue that referral immediately, with no delay! You want more referrals from that person. Don’t put them on the shelf.
2: Keep your referrer in the loop. Let them know periodically how it’s going. Include them as much as they want to be included.
3: Do the best job you possibly can for that referral. Referrals are made of Gold. Treat them appropriately.

Finally …

Thanks for reading. Have we treated you well during this article? Have we made you feel comfortable, not like you were being sold? Yes? That’s great! How about three or four referrals for us? Call us at 407-490-2468. Or, to set up a ZOOM conference, you can use the form below 🙂
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