Creative Ways & Ideas to Increase Business Referrals

Most business owners would rather spend time and effort attracting new leads instead of pursuing referrals. It can be more fun to look for new customers, and it’s an ego boost to gather new leads due to your sales strategy. However, the best and most efficient strategy for small business owners in terms of lifetime value is finding creative ways to increase referrals.

A red-haired male with folded hands pleads for ideas to increase business referrals

Why Get More Referrals?

According to Social Media Today, 78% of B2B marketers say that referral programs generate good or excellent leads, and 54% say that referral programs have a lower cost-per-lead than other channels. Referrals also have a much higher conversion rate than entirely new leads, and clients who have been referred are more likely to stick around for a longer time period. 

This is true for one main reason: people trust other people more than trust advertising or salespeople. You might make a connection with a new lead with a cold call, but it’s never going to come close to the connection that the same person has with their family and friends. 

Getting referrals from existing customers costs little to nothing, making this one of the most affordable ways to attract new customers—that is if you have the right strategy. You can do wonders for your business by finding creative ways to increase referrals.

Business Referral Strategies

In his book The Referral Engine, John Jantsch emphasizes the importance of trust within your brand. You build trust with your customers by providing useful content for free, which encourages them to buy your product or service. When the quality blows them away, they’ll leverage the trust they have with their own contacts to recommend your brand. 

Building trust is the cornerstone of getting referrals, but there are other referral ideas for business you can try as well. Here are a few creative ways to increase referrals:

  • Ask. Most of us don’t even think to ask for referrals, assuming that our customer or client will say no. However, a satisfied client might be able to recommend some new leads right off the bat. 
  • Follow up. If your client or customer doesn’t have a referral for you right away, try following up later, while the product or service is still fresh in their mind. If they’ve enjoyed using it, they might be more inclined to refer others. This step can be automated via email if that’s convenient for your business.
  • Make it easy. Many online shops have a simple “refer a friend” option that includes a pre-generated email template—all your customer has to do is put in their friend’s email address. Most businesses, even service-based ones, can do the same. 
  • Create an incentive. Many businesses do offer a value offer for anyone who successfully refers a friend to the business. This is easy to set up and can encourage repeat customers as well as gathering new ones. 

Learning how to get business referrals is a key success factor for businesses, and it can be learned if you’re not sure where to start. Please fill out my contact form, and let’s discuss creative ways to increase referrals for your business. 


Coach Dave


Dave Schoenbeck
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