Referral Marketing – Increase Your Chances of Success

Some people would argue ‘Cold calling is dead’, it is not dead just not as effective as other methods for generating quality activity.

Getting clients through a personal referral is the most powerful way to build a business, but what is the process for getting those referrals.

The problem with referrals is that you never get enough of them and you are dependent upon a third party so how do you increase your chances of success?


Make client acquisition through referrals your primary business development goal. Referrals are the most cost effective way to market your self and to gain business. Look beyond your existing client base to find out who they may know that you can help. The easiest way to do this is to have an attitude to provide a great service to your customer and to build trust and confidence in the relationship. Stay in touch and work your network by regularly updating your customer with valuable information and to look for referrals for their business.


Get to know their business and show the value to can give to a client. Make it easy for the client to understand what you do, this way you will get more referrals.

Having been referred makes the ‘cold call’ easier for the recipient to accept as he will have a level of trust in the person who gave the referral.


By having a narrow focus on who you can serve gives better clarity to a potential referral partner than by saying ‘I can help anyone’ this is too broad a base to work.

Having a niche that you specialise in makes word of mouth referrals easier to find and to give.

4. ASK ’If you do not ask, you do not get’ -but ask the right way.

The key to asking is to serve the customer well, show the value you give, tell them you are building a business based on referrals and when you have a good relationship ask them directly. Brainstorm with the customer any suggestions he may have for you.

Be proactive in asking for referrals. Ask everyone you know and keep on asking, family, friends, Linkedin contacts, colleagues at professional networking events, be persistent.


As in any business process you need to have a systematic approach to a plan.

  • Who is going to be part of your reciprocal strategic network of referral alliances?
  • List all the values you have bought to your clients and that you have the experience to deliver this to others.
  • Educate your customers about the type of customer you are looking to be referred.
  • Follow up on any referral and give feedback to the person who referred you, this makes them feel as though they have made a positive contribution to your business and will encourage them to do more, they feel good.
  • Help your alliance partners by listening to them, giving sound advice, helping them to solve problems through your contacts.
  • Have a plan to raise your profile in your niche, through social media, writing articles, joining relevant industry associations and running seminars, this will expand your contact base of potential associates.