How to Ask for Referrals From Customers Successfully + Referral Template

How to Ask for Referrals From Customers Successfully + Referral Template

Asking for a referral is one of the best ways to get more clients and boost brand awareness, especially if you have just started a new business or a freelance job.

However, this might be a challenging task. You don’t want to sound too pushy when asking clients for a referral.

In this article, you’ll learn how to ask for referrals and why they’re important. Plus, we will include a referral email template example to help you create a great one.

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Why Ask For Referrals

As one of the most effective B2B lead generation strategies, customer referrals will help you get more clients and grow your business.

The following are the three main ways how asking for referrals can benefit you:

  • Increase leads and new customers – you will generate qualified leads, as they get recommendations from someone they trust. In fact, referred customers have a 30% higher conversion rate compared to leads generated from other marketing channels.
  • Improve customers’ loyalty – customers that come through referrals are more likely to repurchase your products or reuse your service, improving your customer retention rate and loyalty.
  • Drive more sales and revenue – eventually, more customers mean more income.

If your customers are satisfied with your work or services, they might be happy to give you referrals. Therefore, communicating with clients and preparing a plan for requesting referrals are vital.

1. Ask Directly
2. Ask for a Referral Email
3. Ask for Referral on the Phone
4. Ask Before the Project Is Done
5. Add a Referral Section on the Website
6. Share Referral Commissions
7. Use LinkedIn for Referrals
8. Participate in a Referral Networking Group

Now that you know the importance of asking for referrals, it’s time to learn how to do so.

In this section, we’ll cover the eight ways to ask for a successful referral – as they all are effective, feel free to choose the most comfortable ones for you.

1. Ask Directly

One of the easiest ways to ask for a referral is by directly contacting existing clients or customers. By meeting them online or face-to-face, you can create a better connection with your clients.

Start by asking how they are doing and if they are satisfied with your products or services. If yes, ask for a referral and show that you are grateful.

Be specific and straightforward about what type of referral you need, and explain the target audience that needs your products or services. That way, you’ll save more time by collecting the right referrals for your work.

For example, if you’re a freelance web developer, ask your clients whether they know brick-and-mortar businesses that want to go online and build a website.

If your clients can’t meet you in person, organize an online meeting via Google Meet or Zoom.

The homepage of Zoom, a communication platform.

2. Ask for a Referral Email

Another option is asking for a referral from your existing clients through an email, where you can leverage a client’s professional network to get a prospect. Many businesses use customer referral templates to simplify the process.

When crafting a referral email template, mention your positive experience with the clients. Aside from including an enticing subject line and email signature, make sure to:

  • Personalize your message – start your introduction by saying that you appreciate the opportunity to work with your clients.
  • Keep it short and clear – use a brief and concise message to help clients capture your intention quickly.
  • Proofread – use a tool like Grammarly to avoid spelling and grammar mistakes.
  • Use a strong call to action (CTA) – allow your clients to take further action to grow your referral sources.

Although taking care of these aspects might take time, it can help you achieve more referrals.

3. Ask for a Referral on the Phone

When asking for referrals on the phone, remember to be patient, as you’ll need to respect your client’s time. They might not pick up immediately or not have enough time for a conversation.

Before calling, prepare a script to help you minimize mistakes and increase your confidence. To do so, consider the following tips:

  • Make it conversational – make sure to talk clearly and naturally. Use a friendly tone with your clients and start by asking how they are doing.
  • Read it out loud – this enables you to detect grammar mistakes and awkward phrases as well as revise them.
  • Test it in a real conversation – it helps you to determine whether your script works effectively. After the conversation, make sure to ask for feedback and suggestions for improvement.

Additionally, you can ask to promote your business in other ways, such as sharing through social media platforms or giving a customer testimonial.

4. Ask Before the Project Is Done

While some people ask for a referral after the project, asking in the middle of it can be a great opportunity. It shows your enthusiasm, which can create a positive relationship with existing customers. This also enables you to receive referrals more quickly.

A great opportunity to do so is when your clients send you comments in the middle of the process. After responding to them, ask the clients to recommend you to anyone who might need your services.

However, if these comments are negative, ask how you can improve first.

If you want to ask for a referral from previous clients, make sure to have a small conversation before. Avoid asking for it suddenly after not contacting them for months or years, as it will not seem genuine.

5. Add a Referral Section on the Website

A website is a great channel to build your brand, including promoting your services and asking for referrals. To do so, you can create a web page, a form, or a landing page for your site that encourages clients to share your services or contacts.

When creating a referral page, consider following these aspects:

  • Create a good headline – make it clear and use persuasive words like free, discount, or exclusive. For example, offer your existing customers a discount for a successful referral.
  • Explain the benefit – be specific about it. For example, if you are offering a one-time discount for one service, make sure to emphasize it. Otherwise, it might lead to a conflict with your clients.
  • Use appealing visuals – a relevant and attractive image will help you engage with the visitors and make them stay longer on the site.
  • Include a low-friction form – ensure that your form is easy to fill. Make sure that optional questions are not mandatory to answer.
  • Add an FAQ section – it helps your visitors get direct answers and improves your page navigation.

Furthermore, consider making a referral program that benefits your clients by joining it. For example, they will get a $15 discount for the next service if they share a referral link with five people.

Additionally, using software such as Referral Factory, ReferralCandy, and Referral Rock will simplify the creation process of your referral program and help you get more referred customers.

The homepage of Referral Factory,  a referral marketing platform.

6. Share Referral Commissions

Giving your clients commissions will encourage them to join your referral program and bring new customers. Even if you provide great services or products for your clients, they may only be interested in referring to your business if they benefit from doing so.

Moreover, offering a reward can be a great way to say thank you, making them appreciate you more by spreading the good word about your business. The bonus can be anything valuable for your customers, from a gift card and a free trial to discounts.

When offering referral fees or commissions, it’s a good idea to create an agreement to minimize risks and set clear expectations for both parties.

7. Use LinkedIn for Referrals

When using LinkedIn to connect with professionals within your niche, see it as an opportunity to generate future referrals. With this platform, you can find prospective clients based on certain criteria, such as location, experience level, and job departments.

To maximize its advantages, before asking for a referral on LinkedIn, expand your network by adding mutual connections, maintain your profile by ensuring all the information is updated and relevant, and showcase your services or products.

Don’t forget to introduce yourself to people you want to connect with and add your current clients to your network. Then, start publishing your updates and making interactions on their posts to increase awareness of your services.

8. Participate in a Referral Networking Group

Joining networking groups can provide various advantages, especially if you’re a freelancer. Besides getting new insights or improving your skills, you can establish yourself in a network when looking for referrals.

Many social platforms, such as Meetup, Eventbrite, and Facebook, are available to help you find events or groups. Additionally, collaborating with another service provider might benefit your referral program.

The homepage of Meetup, a social networking platform.

For example, web designers can work together with a web development company to promote their services by offering a special price to every customer who brings a new client.

Tips for Asking Client Referrals

After going through eight methods on how to ask for referrals, we’ll now share some valuable referral tips to help you maximize your effort.

By implementing these tips, both you and your clients will benefit, creating a productive long-term relationship.

Build Trust and Value Before Asking

Providing trust and value allows you to improve client satisfaction and loyalty. To achieve this, you can share relevant content with your clients before asking clients for referrals.

Such content can be articles, case studies, or any updates to your services. When clients trust your skills, they will be more willing to recommend your business.

Take an Interest in Their Work

Another tip to ask for referrals is supporting the clients’ work. There are various ways to do so, from sharing their social media posts to giving positive reviews. As a result, your clients will be more likely to accept your referral request.

Stay Connected With Clients

Whether it’s your past or current clients, keeping in touch with them allows you to build loyalty and trust. It also helps you to ensure that your referral request does not come out of the blue.

Here are some popular ways to stay connected with your clients to get future referrals:

  • Stay up-to-date – follow their social media and blog updates.
  • Send emails – message them whenever they open a new business, receive an award, or have any good news.
  • Set a meet-up – ask to meet them if they’re near your area.

Follow Up With the Clients

Make reminders on your calendar to follow up with clients every three or six months to check how they’re doing and whether you can help them. Doing so will show your clients that you care about them. This may turn your clients’ “no” into “yes” to give you a referral.

Make Referring Easy

Requesting referrals will be easier if you provide multiple options for your clients. For example, you can ask them to share referral links on their social media profiles to recommend your services.

Moreover, provide them with templates that allow them to freely change their names or forms to enter the contact information of their peers.

Find the Right Timing

While the best time to ask for a referral is when your clients are happy with your services, there are other aspects to consider. For example, you shouldn’t be asking for a referral after working hours or on Friday evening as your clients might be hurrying to finish their work.

In addition, don’t ask for a referral before submitting any of your work.

Ask Your Best Clients

When asking for a referral, prioritize clients that have a good relationship with your business. Loyal customers can be your best option – there is probably a good reason they stay.

Alternatively, use the Net Promoter Score (NPS) surveys. They help you find potential advocates by collecting customer feedback.

Recognize and Thank the Clients

To encourage your clients to drive more referrals, recognize and thank them publicly. Doing so will show them that you appreciate it and let you return the favor by promoting their business.

Make Referral Marketing Materials

Creating referral marketing materials will help your clients to promote your business. With materials like brochures, business cards, or email templates, your clients can just forward them or hand them out to a referred customer easily.

In addition, make sure to add your contact information and a blank space for the referral name.

Referral Email Template

To help you create an excellent referral request for your clients faster, we have created an email template.

Hello [Customer name],

Thank you for trusting me to deliver your project. I’m very happy that you are satisfied with my [add a brief description, for example, web development] services. It was a pleasant and exciting experience!

As one of my best clients, it would be great if you could refer me to your [peers/colleagues/friends] who would be interested in my [service or product]. Currently, I focus on targeting [describe your target market].

If anyone comes to your mind, feel free to refer them through my referral program, and get a reward for every referred customer.

Kind regards,

[Your name].


Whether you’re a solo freelancer or a business owner, asking for referrals is crucial. It helps you acquire new clients, boost your income, and increase brand awareness. Remember that a referred customer usually has a higher lifetime value, leading to an increased retention rate and loyalty.

Let’s recap the eight methods to get referrals from your customers successfully:

  1. Ask directly.
  2. Opt for referral emails.
  3. Ask through the phone.
  4. Do it before finishing the project.
  5. Include a referral section on your website.
  6. Provide fees and commission for your referral.
  7. Use LinkedIn to find referrals.
  8. Join a networking group.

Additionally, implement the best practices, such as providing value, staying connected with customers, showing appreciation for them, and preparing referral marketing materials to optimize the result.

We hope this article has helped you understand how to ask for referrals to grow your business. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to leave us a comment.

The author

Sopha M.

Dinda is a WordPress and digital marketing enthusiast. She loves to share her knowledge with others so that they can be successful in their online endeavors. During her free time, she enjoys watching movies and exploring historical places.