Advertising Update: How to Create Referrals

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So, referrals are the new advertising, if you read (and believe) this post on permission marketing. So, how do you get referrals?

What’s the secret of getting customers to come forward with astonishing testimonials, no matter what your product, service or solution?

Your clients are your best source of authentic advertising, through referrals.

Read on and discover the secrets of helping others to deliver your elevator pitch.

Do you have a client that you have astonished? (I wanted to say “enchanted”, but this Guy beat me to the punch.)

Have you created an “aha!” moment for someone’s business? Have your products unlocked new opportunities, and have your services created a “Wow!” that extends to your customers’ customers?

Well, if you have, you have earned the right to ask for a referral. In fact, if you haven’t asked for a referral, you are making a mistake! So, without further preamble, here are the steps and secrets to getting a great referral:

  1. Astonish your client.
  2. Is your client able to articulate their astonishment? Sometimes self-expression can be hard – after all, your customer is astonished! Give them a minute.

    Then: Ask your client if they are happy with your service, product, widget or whatever. If you are serving a large organization, ask the person who’s opinion would matter most to your next target customer.

    Your client’s response should reconfirm your suspicions: namely, that you have astonished your client.

  3. Tell your client: “Your opinion matters to me. I value you as a customer, and what you have to say could help me to build my business. Would you be willing to….” [wait for it]
  4. And here it comes: a SPECIFIC request for a comment on a PARTICULAR aspect of your working relationship.

    Why? Because SPECIFIC questions get SPECIFIC answers. Don’t just ask someone, “What do you think of me/my products/my services?” or “Would you write a referral?” You may even want to consider writing a sample referral for your client’s review.


I kissed a rat and I liked itBeing unspecific in a referral request? You might as well ask someone, “Which was your favorite kiss?”

[/box] (Probably not this one)

For example, on my linkedin profile, I wanted to capture some powerful referrals. I reached out to people who I knew had seen me in action during tough times. They had watched as I talked a customer off a ledge, or handled a particularly difficult situation with some significant results.

(Granted, not all my days are good ones, but I knew these folks had seen me perform in less-than-optimum conditions). While my ability to be awesome is subject to debate (hopefully a short one that ends in my favor, but I digress) I can assure you that I have the ability to ask clear and concise questions.

Guess what? So do you.

I asked specifically for comments on my abilities in:

  • Difficult customer service situations
  • Situations where I presented to groups
  • Situations where I presented to difficult customers

Here’s an example of what I said:

“Dear [Name], As a professional I respect, your opinion matters to me. You’ve seen me in action at [NAME OF SOME COMPANY] dealing with [DIFFICULT CUSTOMERS, PRESENTATIONS TO DISINTERESTED GROUPS WITH SURPRISING RESULTS, DEALING WITH BOSSES THAT WOULD BE CRIMINALS IF ONLY THEY WERE SMARTER, etc.] Would you be willing to comment on [RESTATEMENT OF KEY ATTRIBUTE ,such as MY ATTENTION TO CUSTOMER SERVICE] on my LinkedIn profile? It would mean a lot to me. I work hard to provide value to my network on LinkedIn, and if there’s anything I can do for you in return, please don’t hesitate to contact me.”

You can take a look at the results.

What about YOU, dear reader/electronic friend? What would you like others to notice, and recognize, in your referrals? How could you use the example above, and word it for your business, your products, your performance? What do others say about you on your LinkedIn profile?

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