How To Increase Business Referrals: 9 Strategies To Build More Referral Business

Author: Brett Farmiloe

How can you increase business referrals? 

To help your company increase business referrals, we asked PR experts and business leaders this question for their best advice. From offering referral bonuses to overdelivering on value, there are several strategies that may help you increase business referrals for your company.

Here are nine effective ideas to help your company increase business referrals:

  • Offer Referral Bonuses
  • Make It Easy
  • Provide Immediate Value
  • Utilize Networking Tools
  • Join Communities
  • Get To The Point
  • Incentivize Referrals To Your Customers
  • Overdeliver on Value 
  • Give to Get 


Offer Referral Bonuses

The best way to increase business referrals is to offer a referral bonus for your clients and employees. If one of our employees brings us a new client, we reward them with a bonus based on the potential revenue of the project. By offering monetary incentives, you can increase your referral business and grow your brand awareness across your city, state, and even country!

Carey Wilbur, Charter Capital 


Make It Easy

Make it easy to refer clients—don't just collect names and contact information. Keep the referral focused on the referee—what needs do they have, and how can your solutions solve their problems? It’s okay to hear 'no thanks,' but they may know someone in their network who would benefit.

Michelle Tinsley, YellowBird Holdings Inc


Provide Immediate Value

You don't have to give away all your secrets, but you should be able to provide some initial value to someone's benefit right away. It should be something simple that anyone can do on their own but tie it to the bigger picture. When they're ready to invest in the bigger picture, they'll remember who gave them a start.

Peter Adams, Sol Minion Development


Utilize Networking Tools

The Tempe Chamber of Commerce is a great networking tool. There are tons of opportunities to get involved in the community, and it's a great way to meet new people. Sign up for webinars and council meetings and start networking—you never know when you'll meet a business connection!

Shelbey Grimes, Trinity Air Medical


Join Communities

Every business professional should be a part of three organizations, associations, and/or nonprofits in order to increase referrals. Choose those that have the clients you are looking for, align with your values, or fill a need you have. Then show up consistently and authentically. If you do all of those things and are real, nice, and steadfast, you will build more referral business.

Kelly Lorenzen, KLM Consulting


Get To The Point

Share a simple, 30-second elevator pitch using the following formula:

We help [your ideal customer] get [the results you help them obtain] by [your unique solution] without [an objection you frequently hear to competitors' solutions].

For example, for QuickBooks Online, this statement might read:

We help small business owners manage their money by connecting their bank accounts directly to their accounting system without hiring an accountant!

Use this formula so the next time someone wants to tell a friend how you can help them, they already know exactly what to say.

Stephanie Sims, Finance-Ability


Incentivize Referrals To Your Customers

One way for a business to increase their referrals is to offer their clients/customers an incentive to refer others. This can be cash, credit, gifts, etc., but it will give your clients/customers a reason to talk up your organization to their colleagues who can potentially work with your organization. You, of course, have to provide stellar service and products that sell themselves, but the added incentive will just give a bit of a nudge for your clients/customers to spread the word about your company.

Mark Smith, University of Advancing Technology


Overdeliver on Value 

The best way to increase word-of-mouth customer referrals is to overdeliver on value which not only encompasses the service itself but follows up after the service. In today’s environment,  customers are looking for a unique customized experience as opposed to prepackaged. People, in general, are worn out with automation from chatbots to being outsourced. They want interaction with a human directly related to the business and their specific needs to be addressed. Do that, and you will certainly increase referrals. 

Greg Drambour, Sedona Couples Retreats


Give to Get 

The best way to increase your referral business is by referring business out. The motto “Givers Gain” is a fundamental mindset that will definitely lead to more incoming referrals. To start, create a list of different services that serve the same customer but aren’t competing for the same solution (think Mortgage Lender, Real Estate Agent, Interior Design, and Landscaping—all serve the same customer but don’t compete on services). Once you have the list, build relationships with all the best of the best, so you can start referring out. If you found a great partner, you will surely see a return on referrals! 

Jenn Christie, Markitors


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