4 Best Practices for Asking for Referrals

Kaitlyn Short

Written by: Kaitlyn Short | Snoball Editorial Team

Last Updated: Apr 26, 2024

Picture of a girl holding a phone and the image says Asking for Referrals Doesn't have to be Awkward

Leveraging the power of referrals can significantly enhance your growth and reputation. Referrals show that your customers trust and value your service. 

By crafting an intentional strategy for soliciting referrals, you can tap into your network of satisfied customers to attract new clientele. Below we explore the best practices for requesting referrals and integrating these techniques into your business operations.

Key Takeaways

  • Identify the Right Timing: The best time to ask for referrals is when customers are highly satisfied and emotionally connected because of a recent positive experience with your service. 
  • Craft the Perfect Ask:  Personalization is crucial in making referral requests feel special and valued. 
  • Encourage Customers to Share: Incentives like exclusive discounts, free services, or a loyalty points system can motivate customers to refer others. 
  • Overcome Customer Hesitation: Maintaining professionalism and nurturing long-term relationships, even without immediate referral gains, sets the foundation for potential future recommendations and preserves customer loyalty.

Feeling a bit overwhelmed? Let Snoball automate your referral program! Schedule a demo to see what Snoball can do for your business.

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1. Identify the Right Timing

When seeking referrals, timing is crucial. It's most effective to ask for a referral when a customer's satisfaction and emotional connection to your service are at their peak. This is often right after they've experienced the positive impact of your work. 

Jonah Berger, in his book Contagious, emphasizes, "One way to generate word of mouth is to find people when they are already fired up." Berger further explains, "Emotions drive people to action. They make us laugh, shout, and cry, and they make us talk, share, and buy."

Jonah Berger profile picture

Jonah Berger

Author of Contagious


"One way to generate word of mouth is to find people when they are already fired up."

By tapping into this heightened emotional state, your request not only feels more natural but is also more likely to result in a positive response and a genuine referral.

Here are key times to consider when integrating referral requests into your interactions with clients or customers:

  • After Achieving a Milestone: When your service or product leads a customer to a major achievement—like closing a deal or completing a project—their satisfaction is at its highest. This is the perfect time to ask if they know others who could benefit from your service.
  • When Receiving Positive Feedback: Always listen for positive feedback, whether in casual chats, formal reviews, or quick comments. If a client is happy and expresses their gratitude, it's a great opportunity to ask for a referral.
  • At Renewal or Recontracting Moments: When a client renews a contract or signs up for more services, it reflects their trust in your relationship. Use this time to ask for a referral by expressing your appreciation for their continued trust.
  • After Resolving a Complaint Successfully: If you've effectively resolved a client's complaint, this can surprisingly be a good time to ask for a referral. Successfully handling issues can strengthen your relationship and show your dedication, making it a suitable moment to ask if they could refer you to others who might need your help.

Mastering the timing of referral requests is essential for turning casual conversations into opportunities for growth. By identifying and capitalizing on key moments in your relationship with clients, you can make the referral process feel seamless and natural. 

2. Craft the Perfect Ask

Personalization and clear communication are key elements that can make your referral requests more effective and well-received. Below are detailed strategies to personalize your approach and craft effective scripts. 

Personalizing Your Referral Approach

When asking for referrals, the power of personalization cannot be overstated. It transforms a routine request into a meaningful exchange, making your customers feel valued and understood. Here are some tips to personalize your referral requests effectively:

  • Use Their Name: Starting with the customer's name establishes a personal connection from the beginning.
  • Recall Personal Details: Mention details from previous conversations such as their pet's name or a recent trip they mentioned. This shows you listen and care about their life beyond the business interaction.
  • Connect the Request to Their Experience: Tailor your referral request by highlighting specific aspects of your service that they appreciate. This not only personalizes the request but also reinforces their positive experience.
  • Ensure a Human Touch: Avoid relying solely on automated systems to send out mass referral requests. Incorporating a human element, such as a personalized text or email can significantly enhance the sincerity of the request. This approach resonates deeply, as echoed by Estefany from Suntria about their experience with the Snoball referrals platform. She explains, "They love knowing that there's a real person there. They love knowing that there's someone who's just going to get it done. Like if you're having an issue, you need to contact someone, they can do it."
Estefany profile picture

Estefany W.

Purchasing Specialist @ Suntria


"They love knowing that there's a real person there."

By focusing on these personalized interactions, you're inviting your customers to contribute to your business's growth in a way that feels inclusive and valued.

Provide Clear Instructions

When it comes to referrals, clarity is your best friend. Make sure your call to action (CTA) is unambiguous and enticing, so customers know exactly what to do and what they'll gain by referring others to your services. Keep the instructions straightforward and the process simple. Here's a quick checklist to ensure your referral instructions are crystal clear:

  • Outline the steps to make a referral in a concise manner.
  • Clearly state the rewards and how they can be claimed.
  • Ensure terms and conditions are easy to understand but not overwhelming.

Remember, the easier it is for customers to refer, the more likely they will. So, take a moment to review your referral process. Could your grandma understand it and follow through without a hitch? If the answer is yes, you're on the right track!

Design a Simple Referral Message Template

When it comes to referrals, simplicity is key. You want to make it as easy as possible for your customers to spread the word about your exceptional service. Craft a referral message template that's straightforward and easy to personalize. This way, your customers won't feel overwhelmed and are more likely to take action.

Here's a template for after they received a service: 

Wrench Icon

Referral request template 1

"Hi [Customer's Name]! I hope you're enjoying the [specific service they used, e.g., new kitchen installation] we did for you. If you're happy with how everything turned out, I’d really appreciate it if you could refer us to your friends or family. Let me know if there’s anyone I can reach out to. Thanks a lot for your support!"

Here's a template for after someone leaves a positive review:

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Referral request template 2

"Hello [Customer's Name], thank you so much for your kind words about our work! It means a lot to us. If you know anyone else who might need [type of service], could you please pass my contact information along to them? I’d be grateful for the opportunity to help them as well. Thank you in advance!"

By keeping the referral message template concise and clear, you're not only respecting your customer's time but also empowering them to become advocates for your business with minimal effort.

If creating your own templates seems daunting, Snoball is here to help. We specialize in reviews, reputation marketing, and referrals, using tried and tested text templates that are personalized and result in quality referrals.

Ready to see how Snoball can transform your word of mouth marketing? Schedule a demo today and take your referral strategy to the next level.

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3. Encourage Customers to Share

By carefully crafting your referral strategies, you can enhance customer loyalty, increase client acquisition, and build a vibrant community around your brand.

By following these recommendations, you can turn happy customers into enthusiastic brand ambassadors, creating a win-win situation for both your business and your customer base.

Offer Exclusive Discounts or Freebies

When you've done a great job and your customers are beaming with satisfaction, that's your golden ticket to ask for referrals. But let's make it even more enticing for them. Offer exclusive discounts or freebies to sweeten the deal. This approach not only rewards your current customers but also attracts new customers who can't resist a good bargain.

By providing incentives, you're not just saying thanks; you're creating a compelling reason for customers to spread the word about your stellar services.

Here's a quick rundown of incentive ideas:

  • Exclusive Discounts: Offer a percentage off their next service for every successful referral.
  • Free Services: Throw in a free service after a certain number of referrals. It's a win-win; your customers get more value, and you get more business.

Remember, the key is to recognize what resonates with them, whether it's discounts, exclusive access, or loyalty points. Knowing your customers allows you to tailor incentives that genuinely motivate them to act. And don't forget to pay out promptly—nothing dampens enthusiasm like a delayed reward.

Implement a Loyalty Points System

Think of your loyalty points system as a game where everyone wins. Your customers rack up points for every referral they make, which can then be turned into awesome perks. It's like a high-five for their wallet! The more they refer, the more they score. It's a win-win situation that keeps everyone smiling.

Here's a quick rundown on setting up your points system:

  • Decide on the point value for each referral.
  • Choose the rewards: discounts, free services, or even branded swag.
  • Make sure the points and rewards are easy to understand and even easier to redeem.

Keep it fun and straightforward. Your customers should feel excited about collecting points, not confused about how it all works.

Create a Referral Program on Your Website

Launching a referral program on your website can be a transformative step for your business, creating a powerful network of word of mouth advocates.

Two people looking at website

A well-designed referral program encourages your satisfied customers to introduce your services to new potential clients, rewarding both the referrer and the referee and ultimately growing your customer base.

Implementation Guide:

  • Choose the Right Software: Select a referral program software that integrates seamlessly with your website and offers customizable options to match your brand’s style and needs.
  • Prominent Placement: Ensure that your referral program is easily accessible to website visitors. Consider adding it to your navigation bar, homepage, or as a feature in your regular newsletters.
  • Clear Communication: Develop a landing page exclusively for the referral program. This page should clearly outline the benefits, terms, and processes involved. Transparency about what one can gain and how to participate is crucial for engagement.
  • Rewarding System: Decide on enticing incentives that motivate your customers to participate. Whether it's discounts, service upgrades, or special gifts, make sure the rewards align with your audience's interests.
  • Track and Optimize: Utilize tracking tools to monitor the performance of your referral program. Analyze participation rates, conversion rates, and overall success to continually refine and improve your approach.

Your website serves as a frequent touchpoint for your customers, making it an ideal platform to encourage them to refer others.

4. Overcome Customer Hesitation

Respect Customer Boundaries

When you're eager to grow your business through referrals, it's crucial to recognize that not every customer will be ready to sing your praises to friends and family.

Respect their decision if they're hesitant or decline to refer others to your services. It's all about timing and comfort levels. Some clients may need more time to experience the full benefits of your work before they feel confident enough to refer others.

It's not always clear why someone might say no, but that's okay. Give them space and maintain a positive relationship. Their circumstances might change, and your understanding approach could lead to future referrals.

Remember, a referral is a personal endorsement, and not everyone will feel comfortable making that commitment. Instead of pushing, focus on those who are active promoters and receptive to the idea of referrals. This way, you can concentrate your efforts more effectively and avoid any awkwardness.

Nurture Positive Long-Term Relationships

Even if a customer hesitates to give a referral, it's crucial to keep the vibe positive. Your professionalism shouldn't waver based on their willingness to refer your services. After all, every interaction is a brick in the foundation of a lasting relationship. And hey, it's not just about referrals; it's about being the go-to person when they need help again.

Image of Karen and Curtis
Snoball has an in-house team dedicated to nurturing long-term relationships with your customers, resulting in more referrals, reviews, video testimonials, and upsell opportunities.

Consistency is key. Whether it's delivering on promises or simply being courteous, your consistent effort is what builds trust and loyalty over time.

Remember, a customer's refusal today doesn't mean a 'no' forever. Stay upbeat and focus on what you can do for them. This approach not only leaves the door open for future opportunities but also ensures they'll think of you fondly. Here's a quick rundown on keeping things positive:

  • Always follow through with what you promise.
  • Keep interactions professional yet sincere
  • Avoid negative statements; frame things positively.
  • Take the time to genuinely get to know your customers.

Todd, the CMO of Snoball, highlights the importance of personal connections in business interactions: "Companies trust our platform because it’s driven by real interactions. They rely on us for meaningful conversations, not just automated messages. This is about connecting person to person, on a human level. We engage with former customers, remind them why they chose this product or service, nurture these relationships, and, when the time is right, they send referrals."

Todd Jensen profile picture

Todd Jensen

CMO of Snoball


"This is about connecting person to person, on a human level."

By sticking to these principles, you're not only preserving a relationship but nurturing one that could grow into something significantly more valuable over time.

Moving Foward with Referrals

When your customers advocate for your services, it not only reflects their trust in your brand but also attracts new clients who value genuine recommendations. 

Effective referral strategies are rooted in understanding the perfect timing, personalizing your requests, offering enticing incentives, and maintaining professional, long-term relationships even when referrals aren't immediately forthcoming.

To make this process as seamless and effective as possible, consider using Snoball, a platform that specializes in turning satisfied customers into active promoters through personalized, easily manageable referral systems. Snoball offers tools that automate the personal touch in referral requests, ensuring each message feels genuine and directly addresses the recipient's positive experiences with your service.

If you're ready to transform your customers into enthusiastic advocates and watch your business grow through powerful word-of-mouth, schedule a demo with Snoball today.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How do you politely ask for a referral? To ask for a referral politely, ensure that you express appreciation for the customer’s business and frame the request as an opportunity for them to share their positive experience with their family and friends. 
What is an example of a referral request?

A referral request should be warm and personal. Here’s an example you can use: 

“I hope this message finds you well! We're thrilled you were satisfied with our [specific service or product]. If you know anyone—friends, family, or colleagues—who could benefit from our services, we would deeply appreciate it if you could pass along our details to them. We're committed to providing top-notch service, and your referral would be incredibly valuable to us.”

How can positive reviews be used to generate more referrals?

Positive reviews are a powerful tool for generating more referrals. When a customer leaves a positive review, it signals their satisfaction and trust in your services, making it an opportune moment to engage them for referrals. 

After acknowledging their review, you can gently introduce the idea of a referral. For instance, you might say, "We’re so glad you enjoyed our service! If you know anyone else who might need our help, we'd be grateful if you could pass along our information."

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