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How to Ask for Referrals For Your Agency – 8 Effective Tips (Free Email Templates Included)

Updated on September 17, 2021

13 Min Read

Finding new leads to grow your agency can be hard. We all want our business and services to be successful, but sometimes this requires a little help from others. Referrals are one way that individuals or companies can get more customers without much effort. A recommendation from an existing customer obviously holds more weight than your own marketing claims.

As an agency owner, ask for referrals to generate new leads and gain new customers. Some of the world’s biggest creative agencies rely heavily on referrals. If you have been diligent about the quality of your work and have a dedicated base of customers (even if small), there’s no reason why you shouldn’t ask them for referrals.

But most agency owners simply don’t know how to ask for referrals. In this post, we shall discuss the entire referral process, and give important tips on how to ask for customer referrals to increase your revenue. But first, let’s have a look at why referrals are so important.

The Importance of Referrals

Referrals are widely considered to be the most valuable form of marketing around the globe, especially in the digital agency space. They require virtually no spending on your behalf, and give a fantastic return of hot leads. It’s one of the most effective B2B lead generation strategies that you can use.

How to Get More Customers with Referral Marketing?

Target your most loyal customers for rewards and provide a more personalized interactive experience using referral marketing.

Here are some important stats from Social Media Today about the importance of referrals:

  • 78% of B2B marketers believe that referral programs help them generate excellent leads.
  • 54% of marketers believe that referral programs have a lower cost per lead when compared with other lead generation methods.

The reason why referrals are so important is because they cost next to nothing. The best part? You get to connect with a new contact in the same field as one of your other clients. Essentially, you are getting access to a highly qualified lead that’s primed and ready for conversion. But, you need to know how to ask for referrals the right way.

Most marketers already know just how effective referrals can be. However, too many salespeople go wrong when it comes to asking for referrals. If you don’t know how to ask for referrals the right way, you will always struggle. Thankfully, we’ve got you covered.

How to Ask for Referrals – The 8 Best Tips to Get More Referrals

In the following paragraphs, we shall talk about the 8 best tips to help you ask for referrals, including templates and a referral script that you can follow when asking for referrals from your clients.

1. Using Email for Referrals (with Template)


It’s 2021. People don’t want to spend time talking to each other, especially if the same thing can be communicated via email. One of the best ways to ask for referrals is to email your existing clients directly. If you have a robust referral email template, you can easily forward it to them!

Remember, you don’t want to come off as desperate or pushy when asking for a referral. You also don’t want to beat around the bush. People hate that. When you email your client for a referral, make sure you ask them straight up. The subject line should be carefully crafted so the “ask” feels as natural as possible.

Essentially, what you are doing here is you are leveraging your relationship with an existing customer. If it’s a new customer, there’s no reason to ask them for a referral. Otherwise, it’s going to seem as if you are only talking to the client to ask for a favor – no one likes that. If you are wondering how to ask for referrals the right way, make sure you don’t come off as too opportunistic!

Asking for referrals over email is a great option because customers don’t have to reply right away. Your referral requests will be answered at an appropriate time. Here’s a simple referral email template to help you out:

Hello [Name],

I’m really happy to know that you are satisfied with our services. I knew we could deliver value and help you out, and I can’t be more pleased that you are seeing a difference already.

We are a growing concern, and we would highly appreciate it if you could refer us to one of your colleagues in a similar industry. If you know someone who would benefit from our [service or product name], we would try our best to help them.

Kind regards,

[Your name].

The first thing you need to understand is that a referral email needs to be highly personalized. Always add a personal touch to your emails so that the client knows you are talking exclusively with them. A happy customer will be more than happy to cater to your referral requests, leading to a greater number of mouth referrals.

2. Asking for Referrals on the Phone (including Script)


Another fantastic way to ask for referrals is over the phone using your VoIP phone system. This is fairly straightforward, and the key to a successful ask is to tell the person on the other end why you are calling. You should always learn to respect your client’s time. But, how to ask for referrals over the phone? The answer is simple: be upfront about it.

And, unless you are an expert at asking for referrals, prepare a script and follow it. Whether you are looking for a referral for website maintenance services or just want to get more clients, it always helps to have a script handy.

If you have customer support staff that don’t know how to ask for referrals, you can use this script along with the referral email template given above. Here’s how it should go.

Hello [Customer name],

I hope you are doing well. I was just calling to ask if you could refer me to another person who may require my services. By now, I’m sure you know about the quality of our services, and we would like to help more clients. Would it be okay if I post a few business cards, or if you could just let me know when a name pops up in your mind

Kind regards,

[Your name here].

Once you have put your request forward, let them respond. Some will give you a name right off the bat, whereas others will tell you that they’ll think about it. Some will refuse flat out, but don’t be disheartened. In certain situations, your clients might not be so upfront with giving you a name.

However, if you are running a referral campaign on a regular basis, they may forward your emails to an interested party. This might also be an excellent time for you to ask for a testimonial from your clients. You can post that testimonial on your website in order to increase conversions – one of the biggest digital marketing challenges that agency owners face when it comes to growth.

3. Asking for Referrals Face to Face – The Best Approach


The best approach to making referral requests is to ask a client face to face. People are generally more likely to act on your request if you are sitting right in front of them. Schedule a meeting with a loyal client or visit them at their office. Remember, when scheduling a meeting, let them know the reason for it.

Meetings show that you are serious about referrals. If you can’t meet with a client due to the current situation, go with a virtual setup. If you have international clients or you work with people who are in another country or location, you can always use the face-to-face approach by setting up a meeting on Zoom or Google Meet with them.

Thankfully, most professionals use a bunch of tools like Calendly to schedule meetings, so it’s really not difficult to get a client online and talk to them. This is arguably the most effective approach and will work wonders for you if you know how to do it right.

Of course, no one’s perfect from the get-go, so it’ll take you a bit of time for you to become successful with this strategy. But, if you are confused about how to ask for referrals face to face, it’s always a wise idea to practice a bit first.

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4. Use Net Promoter Feedback to Get More Referrals


One of the most effective ways to improve your referral marketing efforts is to ask for net promoter feedback to get more referrals. The Net Promoter Score is not anything new; companies and agencies have been using it for a long while to get a deeper understanding of customer satisfaction.

The Net Promoter Score is essentially a survey that asks one question: “How likely are you to recommend [Company Name] to a friend?”

People don’t have to give a concrete answer; they just have to choose between 1 and 10. Those who choose between 7 and 8 are passive customers; they will recommend you to another person if you nudge them in the right direction. People who answer 6 and below are dissatisfied, so you need to work on them.

The best time to ask is when a customer’s enthusiasm is high and they respond with a higher number. Ideally, you should integrate a social sharing button in the survey so people can share their response publicly, which will ultimately help you net more referrals.

5. Be Specific with Your Referral Request


This is a broader tip that applies to all kinds of referral requests. If you are looking for clients for a specific project, always be specific with your request. Don’t just ask your clients to recommend you to anyone they think will be suitable for your services.

For instance, if you specialize in brand-building in a particular industry, ask your clients to recommend you to others from that industry. For instance, if you specialize in reselling hosting, ask a customer if they know someone who needs hosting.  Here’s a basic referral script to help you out when you are about to make a request:

Hello {Customer Name],

I was just calling to ask you about referrals. Do you have someone who needs website design and management services? We offer a full suite of website design and management services. I hope you liked the landing page that we did for you, and I’d be delighted if you could refer us to anyone in your industry who needs similar landing page design services.

This script makes the request upfront, and also hones in on a specific element of website design: landing pages.

6. Share Your Customer’s Work


Sharing your customer’s work is one of the best ways to ask for referrals. Not only does it allow you to showcase the quality of your work, but it also helps customers gain a bit more popularity. By sharing your best work in your social media groups or simply on your website, you could easily attract more referrals. For instance, people may share your posts on social media, especially on popular platforms like LinkedIn.

7. Always Provide Value Before You Ask


Why would a customer be willing to make a referral if they don’t feel that you have done a good job for them? Before requesting a referral, ensure your work provides value.

That is one of the main reasons why referrals are so effective if you ask your loyal clients first. If you have done a fantastic job for a client and you notice that they are quite enthusiastic about the work you have done, ask for a referral right away! They will be feeling good, and your referral requests will be catered to!

8. Offer Incentives


If you are wondering how to ask for referrals the right way, try adding an incentive, like a referral program.

When you offer an incentive to your customers for referrals, they will automatically take you more seriously. For instance, a simple 20% discount for a successful referral will go a long way in increasing profitability.

Your customers will do the promotional work for you and will recommend you to others in the same niche – as long as you live up to your end of the bargain. Even a simple gift card with a small discount will go a long way in helping you boost referrals.

Customer Referral Templates You Can Use

In this section, we’ve prepared a few referral templates that you can use for different situations.

How to Ask for a Referral From a Loyal Customer

Loyal customers are willing to give you referrals, but you have to make sure that you reiterate the quality of their experience instead of just seeking a referral without any regards to their happiness or satisfaction. Here’s a referral email template that’ll work well:

Hello [Customer Name],

I couldn’t be more pleased to know that you are satisfied with the standard of services that we offer. I’m so glad that we were able to come through on our promise and help you out.

I just want to know if there are other companies or customers that you could refer us to, especially those who would benefit from a similar relationship. It will help our growing concern greatly.

Kind regards,

[Your Name here].

How to Ask for a Referral from a New Customer

This is a bit tricky, because a new customer might not have had any experience with you. However, if the onboarding experience went smoothly and you followed your checklist to the T, emotions are probably going to be running high. Therefore, it might be a great time to ask for a referral.

Here’s a template that can help you do just that.

Hello [Customer Name],

We are so glad to know that you have had a great experience with us so far. We can’t wait to go above and beyond and ensure that you have a fantastic experience.

My team is available at your disposal, and they will handle any queries that you may have. In the meantime, do you know anyone who could benefit from our services in your industry? If you can refer us to them, that’ll be great!

Kind regards,

[Your Name].

How to Ask for Referrals on Social Media

Social media can be an incredibly effective tool for asking for referrals. If you have customers on social media, you can easily engage with them in order to increase your chances of getting a referral. Here’s a simple template that you can use to ask for referrals on social media.

Hello [Customer Name],

Thank you for sharing that post on LinkedIn. It helped us generate a considerable amount of traction, and I was able to get in touch with quite a few people as a result and have some fascinating discussions. You and I have had a fantastic time working together, and I feel it’s only going to get better.

If you know someone from the industry who could benefit from our services, we’d love to help!

Kind regards,

[Your name].

How to Ask for a Referral from a Partner or Affiliate

Partners and affiliates can help you with referrals too. Try using or customizing this template.

Hello [Partner’s Name],

I have seen that customers who work with you [add company name here] have had much less issues in the past. I believe that combined with the services that we offer, we could really take things to the next level and add value to our customers. If you could refer us to a company that would benefit from our services, that’d be great! We’re more than willing to take on new clients!

Kind regards,[Your name].

How to Ask for a Referral from a Competitor

If you operate in an industry with a considerably large market where each company isn’t vying for another’s customer base, you could try asking for a referral from a competitor. In fact, your competitors might be happy to refer you to a client as long as they aren’t targeting the same clients as you. Here’s a template that you can use.

Hello [Competitor’s Name],

I’ve noticed that you offer services related to [add service name here]. Due to high volume, I have had to turn down quite a few clients as a result of that. I’d be more than happy to direct them towards you since my ideal clients have specific needs [add them here].

I was wondering if you could do the same if your clients require any services related to [add services you offer here]. I’d be more than happy to offer them value at a great price.

Kind regards,

[Your Name].

Email Template For When They Agree

Once a point of contact agrees for a referral, make things easier for them by giving them the following template.

Hello [name here],

I have been working with [your name here] for quite a while. I realize that you could benefit from their services, so I’ve decided to connect you two with each other.

[Referral], meet [Your name here with profile or website link].

[Your name], meet [referral].

I hope you two can hit it off and build a mutually beneficial relationship!

Kind regards,

[Customer’s name].

How to Write a Thank You Message for a Successful Referral

Thank the referee once you land a successful referral. Here’s a simple template to help you with that.

Hello [Add Recipient Name],

Thank you for your referral with [add referral name here]. This is a big client, and we believe it’ll help us grow. I highly appreciate the confidence and faith that you have shown in our services and what we are doing here.

As a token of gratitude, I’d like to offer you a 20% discount on our services for your next order.

I am extremely grateful to you for the referral, and I look forward to working with you and [referral name here] in the future.

Kind regards,

[Your name here].

The Bottom Line

Happy clients can help you improve sales and promote your business. While the source of referrals varies, track what’s working for you, and what needs to change. Make sure you talk to your marketing team and figure out the best strategy for asking for referrals before you get started! You can also get a look into our webinar on overcoming your agency’s dependency on referrals.

Q1. Asking Clients for Referrals – When is the Timing Right?

Ideally, clients are going to respond favorably for your referral request if you have recently delivered something of value to them. When the client’s satisfaction is running high, it’s the best time to ask for a referral.

Q2. What to Say to Ask for Referrals?

It’s best to first highlight the positive working relationship that you share with the client before you decide to ask for referrals. Reinforce that relationship and then ask for the referral.

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Najam Ahmed

I work as a digital content producer at Cloudways. Besides that, I love to read, and i love to play the guitar. Fan of all things Arsenal and the Patriots. Occasional gamer. I like to fly drones too. Jack of all trades.


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