Reaping Rewards From An Effective Referral System

Glenn Ebersole

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Let me pose a question to you that could really impact the growth of your business. Do you routinely and systematically ask for referrals? And if you do ask, do you enjoy doing it? Do you feel uncomfortable and nervous about asking for referrals? If you were totally honest, your answers would show that there are probably quite a few of you that dislike, or dare I say hate, asking for referrals.

What can you do to overcome this disdain for asking for referrals? How can you get rid of that feeling that you do not want to impose on others? I have good news for you! There are a number of ways to gain referrals effectively without you having to “endure the pain" of asking for referrals in a face-to-face fashion. And I am going to share some ways for you to do that so you can gain referrals and grow your business.

Here are seven suggested ways to gain referrals without a direct face-to-face ask. 1. Call existing customers and inform them you are expanding your business. Then ask them for names of people you could call to let them know about your expanding business.

2. Develop and offer your customers an incentive for referrals. This incentive could be a gift certificate, discount on their next invoice or purchase, or something personalized for the referrer. And the incentive is delivered when referrals become customers.

3. Create strategic alliances with other non-competitor businesses and give them a discount on your products and/or services if they agree to market your business in their mailings to their customers.

4. Give referrals to others. Reverse your way of thinking from “how do I get referrals?" to “how do I give referrals?" This is based upon the philosophy of the giver will gain.

5. Thank the people who provide referrals to you. Send a personal handwritten thank you note expressing appreciation for the business generated from their referral. This gesture will help confirm to them that you value their input and may encourage them to give you additional referrals.

6. Develop a “transaction-based" referral system. In other words, build your referral system into the transaction. For example, your favorite restaurant, drycleaner, lawn care provider or other entity that you do business with, sends a promotional letter to you with an offer of $50.00 to you if you refer someone that becomes their customer.

7. Contact business associates and offer to provide your services and/or products at a special rate or discount to your associates and to anyone that they refer to you when that referral becomes a customer.

Glenn Ebersole, Jr. is a multi-faceted professional, who is recognized as a visionary, guide and facilitator in the fields of business coaching, marketing, public relations, management, strategic planning and engineering. Glenn is the Founder and Chief Executive of two Lancaster, PA based consulting practices: The Renaissance Group, a creative marketing, public relations, strategic planning and business development consulting firm and J. G. Ebersole Associates, an independent professional engineering, marketing, and management consulting firm. He is a Certified Facilitator and serves as a business coach and a strategic planning facilitator and consultant to a diverse list of clients. Glenn is also the author of a monthly newsletter, “Glenn’s Guiding Lines – Thoughts From Your Strategic Thinking Business Coach" and has published more than 250 articles on business.

To find out more about the benefits & rewards of effectively working with a strategic thinking business coach, please contact Glenn Ebersole through his web site at or


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