Surprisingly Easy Ways to Get More Referrals

By Owen Manningham, Updated: 2021-11-09 (published on 2020-09-24)

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It goes without saying that referrals are a great way to gain new clients and increase loyalty with the existing ones. In addition, a successful conversion of a referral is guaranteed to an immediate sale without really having to work for it. Who doesn’t love an easy sale? This is compared to when you have to market your product or service and will inevitably put in a great deal of back and forth between yourself and the consumer before you actually make a sale. With referrals, another party has already recommended your business, meaning you’ll have much less selling to do to bring them over the line. 

Furthermore, statistics have shown that a bigger percentage of consumers trust a brand when they hear about it from people they know. That clearly shows that this form of marketing is more trusted compared to others. Even as you engage in other forms of marketing, you can’t afford to ignore referral marketing. And why would you want to when it’s one of the easiest ways to increase sales? 

Here are some easy methods you can utilise to get more referrals and start to reap the benefits:

1. Expand your clientele base

Referrals come from people who have tried your service or product. If an increased number of people buy from you, so will the chances of getting referrals increase. Focus on getting more customers to your business in the first place.

As they say, if you want to catch more fish, cast your net wider. It makes business sense to expand your business internationally in a bid to expose yourself to more people.

It doesn’t have to be an expensive strategy that will leave you struggling with the different laws and regulations of the countries that you want to venture in. Keep it simple. Let’s say that you are venturing into the China market, doing so through a China PEO provides an easy way of entering the market. You will not be required to set up a legal entity there or incorporate your business. In addition, the organisation takes care of hiring and managing your team in China, all you have to do is welcome the customers in.

2. Go that extra mile to offer excellent service

When something extraordinary happens to you, you probably talk about it for days afterwards, (probably on Zoom more than anywhere these days). You might use it as small talk, sharing it with anyone who cares to listen. The same goes with your customers. If you awe them with your service, they’ll talk about it over and over again to the people around them whenever they are reminded of it.

Smiling and showing attention to the customers just isn’t enough. That is the minimum they  expect from you anyway. You need to go over and beyond to impress them. Think of ways your particular business can extend past the boundaries of what is expected and into the realm of blowing their socks off. Things like paying a rush fee to get a customer’s product delivered for a big event even when they were too late with their order. These small kindnesses go a long way with customers wanting to work with your business again and referring their friends towards your business as a way of saying thanks.  

3. Start a referral reward program

If you were to think about it, your customers have nothing to gain when they refer you to other people. Yet they still do it. Why do they do it? And how much more would they do if you provided them with an incentive for bringing in that referral?

Start a referral reward program where you reward points or money for each referral they give. Your customers can then claim the points for a discount or a coupon to a certain restaurant or any other gifts that you can think of, like a discount on their next purchase on your own site. Or, you may want to put money directly into their bank account. After all, their referrals are making you money, pay it forward. 


4. Ask for feedback

In this digital era, the majority of people run to the internet first when they are in need of a product or service. The main area of concentration is on review sites, as they want to give business to the most deserving provider and one they know won’t let them down.

Have a presence on such sites and on social media. Then devise a way to get your customers giving feedback or reviews about your product or service, as well as their experience. It could be through a thank you email after successfully dealing with them. You can have a section where they rate you and give a brief review. It won’t be a direct referral, but it is a surefire way of sending more leads your way.

5. Ask for it

Referring a brand to other people doesn’t always come naturally to other people, even after they have had an excellent experience. However, sometimes when reminded to do it, people are happy to oblige. It plants the seed in their mind when you ask them to refer you to their friends. The secret lies in doing it at the right time.

Just as you wouldn’t ask for a pay rise when you have missed a deadline, don’t ask for a referral when you know that the customer isn’t satisfied with you. Wait for the point where they start talking about how excellent your service was, or when they leave a 5-star rating for you. That’s when you ask them to tell everyone they know! 


Getting your customers to work as your marketing agents out there is not an easy task, but it is absolutely worth all the effort. Be sure to continually give them the best in terms of what you are offering and customer experience. Moreover, don’t forget to thank them when you close a deal with the people they have referred.

Owen Manningham is a management consultant with over 6 years of experience in the field. He advises on training and coaching in the strategic and operational aspects of management, change, and client relationship management.

This article does not constitute legal advice.

The opinions expressed in the column above represent the author’s own.

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