Chances are, you’ve heard the mantra: “Referral business is the best business.” It’s true: In B2B selling, referrals close at 40% to 50%, or even higher.

Unfortunately, many sales reps avoid this gold mine. Two reasons:

  • They’re afraid that asking for a referral is pushy or aggressive.
  • They don’t know how to ask; the whole process is intimidating.

Assuming that you’ve done a good job and your customer is getting positive benefits, that’s powerful equity you should not be afraid to leverage. After all, the worst that can happen is that the client doesn’t provide a name.

Ask the right way
In a relaxed setting, perhaps over coffee, say something like “Mr. Buyer, you’ve told me you’re happy with us. Who else do you know that would benefit from knowing about the (cost savings, profit improvements, faster turnaround) we offer?”

Then simply shut up and wait. This works because it emphasizes the benefits and encourages helping others. People like to do that. It also makes them feel smart.

Do something classy
Don’t offer any sort of incentive up front, because it comes off like a bribe and looks cheesy. After you get an appointment, send your referrers a small gift and a handwritten thank-you note. Make sure what you give them is personally meaningful (ties to a hobby or strong interest) and has a touch of class. An animal lover might like a donation in their name to a local shelter, for example.

Source: Jim Domanski,


  • Gregsheridan says:

    I learned a long time ago to ask for a referrals or I say “tell your friends” lol

  • Judy Caroll says:

    Hi Michael, 

    Very good suggestions;) I believe there’s no better way to make a sale than a happy and satisfied customer spreading the word to his family and friends.  But referral does not happen by accident, there’s something to be done.  Even if our present customers love us, oftentimes it’s not not in their priority to suggest our products or services.  So it really helps to remind these people  or ask them those kind of questions.

    Thanks for the knowledge, 


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