Are Referrals the Best Way to Win New Business?


Referrals can come in all shapes and sizes and from all directions. They don’t just come from your clients – have you thought about where else they can come from? Here are some examples of how referrals can lead to new business for you.

From your clients. We’ve been working with Trese on her newsletter and marketing for a few years. Last year we helped her promote an event she was running with one of her contacts, Sue. Sue has been thinking about getting some marketing help for a while and didn’t know who to go to. She asked Trese what she thought of us and liked what she heard, so now we’re working with Sue too.

From your past clients. We did some work on Tessa’s website 4 years ago. Recently Tessa and I connected again on LinkedIn and got chatting about business. She then recommended us to Mel who called us to ask about writing a newsletter for him. His first issue will be published soon!

From people who have seen you in action. 4 years ago I ran a workshop which Laura came to; she signed up to this newsletter and has been reading it ever since. Last month we had an email from Nick, saying that Laura had recommended us to him. We met to talk about the marketing support that he needs.

From people you met once, a long time ago. 8 years ago I met Peter at a networking event. We didn’t keep in touch but Peter remembered my name when it came up on LinkedIn. He got in touch and recommended us to Philip who was looking for a Marketing Director.

From your friends. Leila is a friend and a coach. She’s a member of a large coaching group and noticed that a fellow coach was looking for marketing support. She suggested that I speak to Rosie and see how we could help her.

So referrals don’t just come from your clients – they can come from people who you’ve never even worked with. Referrals also come when you don’t ask for them. What you do need to do is make sure that you’re visible – that people can find your website, read your newsletter and see you giving presentations. Use social networking tools like LinkedIn to reconnect with former clients and other people you’ve met. 

And then, when the referrals come in, say thank you for them! I usually send a thank you card to anyone who recommends us. When that recommendation turns into a client, we send flowers, chocolates, wine, gift vouchers or invitations to lunch, to say thank you properly!