Should you ask for referrals?

Cartoon of a woman whispering behind her hand


By Brad Callaughan

“I’m embarrassed to ask my clients or customers for referrals, do you think it is right?”

This is a question I was asked recently. My simple reply was of course it is right, when done in the professional way.

There’s no harm in discussing your services with client or customers. We try to have the open relationship with our clients and always invite feedback. Constructive criticism is a fantastic way for you to see how your clients feel about your services, because they’re the people that are talking about your business and let’s not forget that word of mouth is the best advertising.

Simply asking your clients or customers “were you happy with our services and would you recommend us to a friend” will allow you to measure you and your employee’s performance.

This can also be one of the best ways to review how your staff are progressing. You only have two eyes and ears, so you can’t see or hear everything that goes on, so taking feedback from clients is a fantastic way to make sure that your staff are crating “raving fans” for your business.

Another idea is to create a system in which you or a trusted employee contacts the customer the next day after the service is provided, to check if they’re happy and to ask “if there is anything else that we can do for you” (the up-sell). Not only can you ask them if your service was up to scratch, but also for a referral and to see whether you can also provide some other service that may have slipped their minds or they might have also been thinking about getting done for some time.

Remember, there is no harm in asking, as long as it is done in a courteous and professional manner.

    • Added by Gina Lofaro aka the wordmistress

      In my business I find referrals are gold. Aiming to delight clients doesn’t end with their job; it goes way beyond that. Referrals from trusted business associates mean more than any advertising ever will and aside from that fact, advertising costs loads of money and referrals are virtually free. I say virtually because a business referral should never go unpaid. It’s always critical to – at the very least – thank the referrer, but a lunch, a gift card or a free plug in your newsletter, on your blog or via social media are also valuable.