If you’re anything like me, you’ve often thought about and tried to figure out, how to generate referrals. For many years, I owned and operated an asphalt paving and maintenance company. When the economy tanked, referrals kept me in business.

Over the years, I was able to figure out, how to generate referrals. When I saw the results, post economic downturn(2008), I was grateful that I’d focused so much on laying the groundwork for the many years prior.

The four steps to developing a successful referral program are;

  1. Serve your customers. Fix their problems. Help them.
  2. Motivate your customers to pass referrals. Many times this is a monetary amount. If so, make sure the amount has a high enough value, to encourage their referrals.
  3. Recognize. I personally call anyone that refers me and I thank them. This goes along way. Other ideas are recognizing them in your newsletter or other publications. There are many ways to recognize customers.
  4. Remind. You must constantly remind your customers and thank them in advance for their referrals.

When you serve your customers and follow through on a program, it takes some time, but often, your referral program will exceed expectations. Mine has.


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  1. Great tips, Phil. Serving your customers, fixing their problems and helping them are important in marketing. These should go first before selling.