May 19

Asking for referrals does more than generate leads

Marketing Strategy


My first post at the Revenue Roundtable…

When was the last time you talked to your customers and asked how they were doing? A recent article in the Harvard Business Review, “The One Number You Need to Grow” by Frederick F. Reichheld asks, “Would you recommend our products or services to a business peer?”

It was confirmed after two-years of research that the answer to this single question is the number one indicator and correlated directly to growth rates. I submit that if you are not asking and getting the answer to this question, you could be generating word of mouth, but not the good kind.

Reichheld’s research shows us that people put their personal reputations on the line when they act as a reference or make a recommendation to someone else. When your customer’s act as good references, they show that they have received value from your company.

For the complex sale you need these enthusiastic references to help you build your reputation, differentiate yourself, demonstrate your value proposition, shorten your sales cycle, and drive revenue.

Get the HBR article at:

About the author 

Brian Carroll

Brian Carroll is the CEO and founder of markempa, helping companies to convert more customers with empathy-based marketing. He is the author of the bestseller, Lead Generation for the Complex Sale and founded B2B Lead Roundtable LinkedIn Group with 20,301+ members.

  1. Couldn’t agree more. I get the majority of my business as a result of referrals. But, asking for referrals has to be done only when you know they’ll be willing to give them. It’s the same as “asking for the sale”: You don’t want to do it before they’re ready to buy.

    It sounds cheesy, but I always go the extra mile after the sale is made to make sure that my customers are getting what they need to succeed. I act as their advocate inside the company.

    I also try to be a resource for my clients even beyond my own expertise and always strive to connect them with someone that can help them with whatever challenges they may be having.

    Since I’m helping them with their online sales and marketing challenges, I also always keep my ears open for an opportunity for me to introduce them to a prospect of theirs who they can help.

    All of these things gives me an opportunity to continue my relationship with clients and make sure they TRULY are succeeding. These activities ultimately put me in a great position to ask them “If they know anyone else who might benefit from my services” OR “anyone else that might struggle with generating leads online”.

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