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The Referral Email Template You Need For Viral Client Growth

April 3rd, 2018 by Steff Green 6 minutes, 27 seconds read

As a service business, you live for solving problems. That’s the whole reason you do what you do. Luckily, many people face the same problems and have the same questions, which means the solution you present to one person will likely also work for another.

Use this to your advantage by encouraging your happy clients to refer their friends, family members and other acquaintances to use your service. You can do with with very little effort just by sending out a referral email which encourages your current current clients to refer people to your business.

Viral Clients
Viral client growth

Many companies don’t even stop with clients, encouraging warm connections across the industry to refer their friends, colleagues and acquaintances. Clients are more likely to refer as they have firsthand knowledge of your work ethic and standards, but other connections can be just as powerful.

Keep reading for our top referral tips and the only client referral template you’ll ever need:

3 things to do before sending any referral emails

Before you start asking for referrals, check the following items to make sure you’re ready:

1. Check your capacity

There’s no point asking for referrals if you don’t have the time to onboard new clients. Check your workload and make sure you’re ready for an influx of new interest.

2. Do awesome work

There’s no point asking for referrals from clients who aren’t happy with your work. Before starting to actively look for referrals from clients, consider if you’re providing the best possible service. After all, you want your clients to be able to say with complete honesty that you’re world-class!

Make sure you have a smooth client onboarding process, that you’re providing the service you promised on time and on budget, and that clients have an open two-way communication channel where they feel comfortable asking questions and getting honest feedback.

3. Gauge your happiest clients

It’s a good idea to first identify the clients who’ve had positive experiences with you so you can focus your referral campaign on them. These clients are much more likely to take the time to make referrals.

Nps Score
NPS score

You can use tools like Ask Nicely or Delighted to find out which clients would make the best referrals and reach out to them. They use a system called NPS which stands for Net Promoter Score. If a client rates you a 9 or 10, they’re considered a ‘promoter’ and are likely to refer clients to your business.

Also consider incentives

Some businesses use an incentive to further encourage satisfied customers to refer to their networks. Incentives work well in the B2C space, and in B2B businesses they can be effective if they provide tangible value to the business or an interesting reward for the individual. For example, 5% off your bill for every customer you referral, or a $50 Amazon voucher.

Make sure any incentives provided are easy to understand, monitor, and implement. Keep your referral program as simple as possible, and remember that people will often do things just because you ask, so there’s no need to go overboard with fancy swag or discounts unless you’re testing if it will dramatically increase referrals.

The Small Business Sense blog has ideas for 10 rewards and incentives to offer clients for referrals.

The referral email template

Now you know you want more referrals, you need to write a killer email to send to the current clients you identified. We’ve created this template below to help:

Subject: Get more out of [company's] service by referring us to a friend.

Or : Know someone who wants to grow their company? Hook us up.

Dear NAME,

I hope things are going well with you. How’s the new boat? Have you had a chance to hit the water with her yet? [personal anecdote or question about family]

I know from our recent survey that you’re extremely happy with the results we’ve achieved for Awesome Company. I’m reaching out today to see if you happened to know anyone else who might find our services useful. [explaining the point of the email and why they’re being contacted. Reminding them of fabulous past results]

We’ve expanded capacity in our Hot Business Program for 5 new clients, and I thought you might know someone who’d be a good fit. They would need to be a key decision-maker in a company with 5-20 staff and an annual turnover of less than 5 million. [parameters and creating urgency with implication there are limited spots. This also makes the client feel special that they already occupy one of these spots]

Anyone spring to mind? If so, give me an intro and I’d be happy to sit down with them for a completely free 1-hour consultation to figure out their needs and what we could offer them. [Offering value to the referral]

If they want to know more about what we do, point them to our website: www.yourwebsite.com. [in case the email is directly forwarded, this allows referral to hunt for more information with ease]

Because we’ve worked together for so long and appreciate the same values – authenticity, integrity, and grit – I’d really love to chat to anyone else in your circle of influence. [buttering them up!]

Feel free to give me a buzz with any questions, and if there’s anything else I can do for you, let me know. [providing value for the client]

Yours Sincerely,

Your Name

Here’s why this template is so effective:

This template follows the formula outlined by ReferralCandy, who are experts in the business of customer and client referrals. It:

  • Incorporates a clear subject line that’s impossible to ignore. (A 2011 Aweber study found that clear subject lines are opened 541% more than one that’s “clever”).
  • Speaks directly to the client as a personal email.
  • Contains simple messaging that explains what you’re asking for in plain language.
  • Highlights the benefits both for your client and their friend.
  • Includes any additional conditions.
Business coach George Kao also recommends listing key characteristics of the clients you’re looking for, or the key problems your clients usually want help with. We’ve included these in our email template.

What to do afterwards

You’ve sent out your email, and a couple of clients have responded with referrals. You contact those referrals and start the process of transforming them into warm leads. What should you do next?

Ask for an introduction

Sometimes clients simply send you a list of people to contact who might be interested, which isn’t exactly what you’re looking for. Return your client’s email or call and thank them profusely, then ask for a proper introduction. Explain that people trust referrals when they come with an introduction.

Austin Powers Allow Myself
Austin Powers introduction

Luke Severn at Kaufer DMC has some great advice for when clients give you referrals without an introduction.

Send a thank you gift

If you close a client’s referral, send your client a thank you note and gift. You can do this even if you’ve included an incentive as part of your referral program. This shows your client how much you appreciate their time and recommendation, and they’ll be much more likely to give you a referral in the future.

Do awesome work (round 2)

You’ve now got an additional responsibility on your plate – your client has staked their reputation on their referral, so you’d better prove them right by providing world-class service to your new client. It shouldn’t be hard for you, since you’re already awesome.

If you’re in a position where you’re actively seeking new clients, sending a referral request email to your top clients can be an inexpensive and quick way to close several deals. Be genuine, keep it simple, and follow the advice in this article, and you’ll see stunning results.

When was the last time you reached out to your current clients about giving a referral? What are you waiting for?

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