How to structure Your Referral Program to Generate All the Referrals You Will Ever Need

If you want to drive your business through referrals, it’s vital to implement a systematic process you can execute consistently. Whether you call it a referral system or referral program, it needs to contain several components.

These include:

  • Define how you will integrate the most appropriate referral strategies into your client service system in a consistent way so that it becomes standard operating procedure. For example, you might make the referral conversation a standard part of certain types of meetings. It always happens in those meeting types.
  • Determine how you want to position the referral process with your clients. Do you want your clients to perceive your referral program as primarily a way for you to grow your business or do you want it to be about helping people they know?
  • Map out how you will cultivate closer relationships with those who can be consistent referral sources. You will need to include how you will make the effort of referring you a WIN for the referral sources.
  • Specify how you will reinforce referral sources when they refer you so they continue to do so.
  • Define how you will make the introduction process easy and comfortable for your referral sources.
  • These components of your referral program (referral system) need to fit together in a congruent way. When you clearly specify the 5 components above, you will see a steady rise in the quality and quantity of referrals you receive.

To learn more about constructing a powerful referral program that generates all that you will ever need, write to or visit

Overcoming Your Fear of Asking for A Referral

As you consider implementing a referral program in order to improve your referral results, it’s important to first identify “what’s been getting in the way”. Is it because you don’t have a systematic process? Is it because you don’t make time for it in your client meetings? Is it because you are afraid that asking for a referral might affect your relationship with your client?

Before implementing a referral program for our clients, we assess people’s attitudes about referrals. We frequently discover mental barriers that must be overcome in order for the referral program to be successful. For example, if you feel that asking for referrals is “sleazy” or “puts your interest in front of the client’s”, you will feel uncomfortable. You will be tentative in executing the strategies and you will radiate your personal discomfort in a way that your client senses. This will impact your effectiveness and results. And if you don’t see quick success, you will likely give up and say, “This doesn’t work”.

It is important to listen carefully to your own thinking and be honest about your feelings. Record what you are saying to yourself and then challenge the “internal logic” that is holding you back. For example, if you feel that referrals are “thank you gifts” that the client gives in response to great service, you might feel that asking for a referral violates the spirit of that gift. Do you feel that asking for a referral equates to “begging” and diminishes your standing with your client?

If you don’t candidly address these fears and attitudes, your success with referrals will be stunted. These personal fears and attitudes about referrals will act as a glass ceiling that prevents you from raising performance.

To receive tips on overcoming these barriers, write to or visit

3 Steps to Control the Quality of Referral You Receive

To control the quality of referral you want your referral program to generate, you need to take the following steps:

Step One: define the type of referral you want your referral program to generate. What characteristics do you want to target? Do you want people in specific positions (e.g. business owner or director of marketing)? Is it people or companies at specific stages of their career or business life cycle such as someone approaching retirement or a business owner preparing to sell his or her company?

Step Two: Craft questions you can ask clients and centers of influence to help you identify people in their networks who meet these characteristics. If you are targeting business owners, then be attentive in your client conversations and listen for people who are business owners. When talking about a friend, ask about what the friend does professionally. A little bell should ring in your head when a client identifies someone who meets your target characteristics.

Step Three: As you engage in conversation about that person you can add, “Is that someone I should meet?” or “I was wondering if I might be helpful to them.” Now you are in position to learn more about them and assess how well they meet your target characteristics. If they do, then all that is left is to get agreement on a method of introduction.

To learn more about how to control the quality of referral your referral program generates, write to or visit

Get More Referrals by Making it Easy for Your Clients

It’s not easy to build a referral-based business. Simply asking your clients for referrals doesn’t cause your phone to ring. To consistently generate referrals from your clients, you must make it easy for them to introduce you to quality prospects in their network.

One way to make it easy is to suggest specific people in their networks who have come up in conversation. It might be a co-worker or a friend with whom they played golf with last week. If you don’t know the names of specific people, you can suggest a category of people who are likely to have similar needs such as others in their company who are at a similar stage in their career such as retiring or who also have to address specific issues like how to get prepared for a potential merger. When you suggest people in a similar situation to theirs, it’s easy for the client to see that referring you would be beneficial for their friend.

Another way to make it easy is to provide simple, quick, and low-risk ways for your client to introduce you. If you and your client are going to the same event or having lunch together, suggest they bring the friend or co-worker along. Another option is to have your client introduce you by email. And you can make it even easier by sending along a draft of an email your client can use as a starting point. Perhaps you can send your client something just to forward to the referral. With this method, it takes less than 60 seconds for the client to introduce you.

Referrals can be a powerful and profitable marketing strategy. However, to consistently generate quality referrals , you need to construct a systematic process and to think carefully about how to make each step of the process easy for your clients.

To make sure your referral system is designed in a way that will generate the quality of referrals you want, consider consulting with a referral coach. A referral coach can help you save time by avoiding mistakes and get your referral system operating more quickly and effectively.

For more information or a free 30 minute consultation please visit

How To Get High Quality Referrals

The Referral Mastery System incorporates the best practices from 20 years of on-going research on how to drive profitable growth through implementing a systematic referral program . Not everyone is a good fit for you OR you for them. Educate your clients on who you can help and WHY your expertise is important to them.

An effective referral program requires much more than simply asking your clients for referrals. To get the quality of referral you want, it’s important to educate your clients on the specific types of people and situations where you provide expertise and WHY your specific expertise is valuable for those people.

This educating of your clients and other referral sources helps you in two important ways. First, it helps assure you get the quality of referral that you desire. Second, it motivates the client to play an active role in the introduction. Clients who are happy with your service will refer you if someone they know asks them for a recommendation. However, they are unlikely to initiate conversation about your service unless they understand why it’s important for the people they know to meet with someone with your expertise.

It takes less than 3 minutes to educate a client on who, why, and how to introduce you. It will be one of the highest payoff activities you ever undertake.

To learn more about our referral programs and how to get powerfully introduced to the type of referral you want, visit or contact us at 800.865.2867.