You can spend hours Googling the best tips, tricks and best practices for asking clients for referrals, but one thing is missing from all those articles – the actual words that are supposed to come out of your mouth.
We’ve all been in that situation, whether professional or personal, where we spend hours researching how to do something, but when it comes to go-time, we just can’t find the right words to say. Or, we never really knew what to say in the first place.
That’s especially true for asking clients for referrals. Many of us are shy or feel too pushy when we essentially have to ask current clients to find us new business. That’s totally normal, but it doesn’t help with finding the right words to actually make the ask.
So, here are three scripts you can use to ask your clients for referrals:
Asking for Referrals from Current Clients
When to do it: Once you’ve had several positive business interactions with your client and your client is happy with the work you’ve done. Here’s what to say:
You: “I have a favor to ask you, but only if you’re comfortable with it.”
Client: “Sure, what is it?”
You: “You are so great to work with, and I would love to find more clients like you. Do you know any other people in marketing at small tech startups that need help with SEO?” (Make the ask very specific here: what kind of client are you looking for?)
Client: “Yes, I do. I can think of a couple people right off the top of my head.”
You: “That’s great. Would you feel comfortable introducing me to them? I would really appreciate a quick email intro, I even have an intro email template written if that makes it easier for you.” (We covered this in another blog post: Do the work for your client so he is more likely to follow through).
Client: “Sure, I’d be happy to do that.”
You: “Thank you so much. I really appreciate it! I also have a referral program – if one of your referral becomes a client, I offer 10% off my services for the next month.” (If you have a referral incentive, make sure to mention it!)
Asking a Referred Client for Introductions
When to do it: One of clients, John, has successfully referred you to Bob. Bob is now a new client of yours and you want to know if Bob can introduce you to his network. Here’s what to say:
You: “I’ve really enjoyed working with you thus far, and I’m happy that John introduced us! If it weren’t for him, I would’ve never met you. So, I wanted to ask if you knew anyone else that is looking for SEO help and if you would feel comfortable introducing them to me?”
Laying the Groundwork for Future Referrals
When to do it: You’ve asked a client for a referral, but they can’t think of anyone to introduce you to. However, you want them to think of you the next time they meet someone who could be a good fit for your agency. Here’s what to say:
You: “I was wondering if you would feel comfortable introducing me to anyone you know who is looking for SEO help?”
Client: “Hmmm, I don’t know anyone right now who needs SEO help.”
You: “That’s ok! But, if you do meet someone in the future, would you please keep me in mind? I’d love to work with more clients like you, and I find that people hang around in similar groups. I’d appreciate anyone you could introduce me to!”
Client: “Sure, I can do that.”
You: “Great, thank you. Give me a call or send me an email if you meet anyone who would be a good fit!”
Practice Makes Perfect
Now that you have these scripts, practice saying these words to yourself in the mirror. Really. As cheesy as it feels, you want to come across as prepared and confident when you ask your clients for referrals. And now that you know what to say, it’s all about the delivery.