Referrals are the fastest way to grow your new business. But asking for them can be daunting, especially if you’ve never done it before. Asking your existing clients to refer your services to their associates doesn’t have to be a task you dread. Here are a few tips to help you along your way:

1. Do great work.
This may sound like a strange one, but the truth is that before you can hope for a referral, you need to do work that warrants being talked about. If you’re client is unhappy with the work you’ve delivered, you can bet on the fact that they won’t be referring you. On the other hand, if you go above and beyond for your current clients, they’re far more likely to want to help you out and spread the word for you.

2. Ask.
Although it’s sometimes uncomfortable, the first step to getting referrals is always to ask. The key is to make it as easy as possible for your client to refer your services, so think about providing them with all the necessary information. Always be specific when asking for a referral and remember that if you don’t tell your clients who your target customer is, you’ll waste time pursuing leads you can’t use. Explain the benefits of your services, how to hire you and any discounts if applicable. You can even provide them with some already written social media updates, so that it’s as easy as possible for them to share your work online. In this same vein, remember to thank your clients for any referrals they give, as this will encourage future referrals too.

3. Timing is key.
The best time to ask for a referral is right after your work is complete or whenever a client gives you a compliment. As soon as you’re praised for good work done, use it as an opportunity to ask if they know of anyone else who may benefit from your services.

4. Incentivise,
Incentives can be anything from cash to a small gift or flowers. A good incentive is always to offer a discount on your services. You can also always refer your friends and family to your client’s business in exchange for their referrals to yours.

5. Stay in touch
If you ask a client for a referral, they might not know anyone who needs your services right now and it’s easy to forget your request. That’s why it’s important to stay in touch with your old clients, so that you keep top of mind. Occasionally check in to see how they’re doing or email them with a helpful article related to their business.