Every business in the world depends on the referral of happy customers. By adding a few changes to your customer interaction, you can greatly increase your opportunity to attract new, qualified customers.

My buddy Skip Cohen and I did a podcast on “How to Tap Into the Power of Referrals”. We discussed ideas and examples of what has worked for others in the past and what effect it has had. I invite you to listen here – 

When was the last time you purchased something of value where you didn’t seek or hear a referral? Referrals don’t have to come from someone you know directly either. We hear celebrities recommend a company’s businesses and services all the time on TV and radio.

Because they are so popular (and therefore trustworthy in people’s eyes) people almost consider them a friend and therefore companies are willing to pay them top dollar to have them recommend their service or buy their product.

The most successful studios today not only recognize the value of referrals but they put a high priority on making that part of their marketing mix. They ask for referrals and have printed support materials to maximize the potential for success with those referrals.

Timing is everything with referrals. Asking for a referral after the sales presentation is complete is the optimal time. People are most excited and satisfied after placing their order and if you did your job right, they want their friends to have the same great experience.

Are you stuck for words to say? Consider –

“We really appreciate your business, Sally. We love what we do and want everyone to own a wonderful portrait like yours. Our business was built on word of mouth and referrals and we’d appreciate it if you’d recommend us to your family and friends”.

Be sure and have a printed piece to hand them that they can hand out to their family and friends. It can be something as simple as a business card or something as fancy as a folded die-cut piece with a certificate insert. There is no right or wrong. It just depends on what fits your brand and personality.

Content for the referral card – Your referral card needs to include your studio contact information, and logo and is designed to match your brand. The words can say something along the lines of – this is good for a complimentary portrait session at XYZ Studio. Call XXX-XXX-XXX to discuss how we can make the most beautiful portrait of you or your family soon. Include an expiration date if you’d like. You just need to give your client 3 or 4 cards. They will tell you if they need or want more.

Reward your client. Let your client know that anyone who comes in and places an order (make sure that you include that part) will receive a $50 studio credit, or whatever amount you want that to reward your client and is incentive enough to motivate them. I’ve heard amounts up to $200 as the type of clients they attract we worth that. But most of the time it’s somewhere between $50 -$100. 

Asking for referrals is such an easy and simple thing and yet like anything simple and easy it often gets overlooked. Don’t let that happen. I encourage you to put the highest priority on asking for referrals. It doesn’t guarantee every client will do a great job at it but you’ll greatly increase the odds of attracting another client similar to the one you asked for the referral from.

Finally, don’t forget to thank your customer who does refer someone to you. You can let them know that you have put credit on their account while thanking them as well.