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10 Ways to Create Referrals for Life®

Referrals play a role in the success of every business and establishing lasting referral connections is essential for any sustained growth. Referrals tend to yield much better results in bringing in business to a company compared to other lead generation methods or marketing strategies. When someone refers your services or products it comes with a recommendation that boosts the likelihood of converting connections into sales.

Generating referrals requires more effort than some marketing tactics. On the other hand, it is generally more cost effective for acquiring new clients. According to a global survey of 29,000 people, 84% of those responding, said they prefer “recommendations from people [they] know.” That was the number one selection relating to the question: “To what extent do you trust the following forms of advertising?”

Building "Referrals for Life®" is not an event or a quick solution; when done right, it should be a process rather than a one-time endeavor. Networking is an enduring investment that demands effort and dedication to nurturing relationships with your referral partners.

Here are 10 recommendations for cultivating referrals for life:

1. Cultivate a mindset centered on referrals

Above all it’s crucial to adopt a mindset focused on generating referrals when networking and fostering connections.

When you prioritize assisting others over focusing on your immediate personal gains you develop a relationship building mindset that values helping and supporting people. By being attentive to others needs and seeking ways to aid them in reaching their objectives you can establish the kind of trust that allows people to feel comfortable referring business to you.

2. Build strong relationships

Establishing connections is essential for fostering referrals. To build these connections it is crucial to embody authenticity, honesty, and reliability. Being a listener, demonstrating an interest in others and following through on your promises are key aspects of nurturing strong relationships. While building connections requires time and dedication, my own experiences have proven that the effort invested – pays off in the long-term.

3. Educate your network

Educating your network is an often-overlooked aspect of the referral process. To cultivate referrals, it is important to educate those within your network about your business and its offerings. This involves more than making a sale; it entails equipping

your network with the knowledge they need to refer your business to other people. By helping them grasp what sets your business apart and how you can benefit others you are effectively conveying the value you provide to clients or customers.

The more your connections understand your business, the simpler it will be for them to recommend you. It's crucial to approach the process of networking with the mindset of training a sales team (or referral team) than solely focusing on closing sales.

4. Deliver exceptional service

Delivering great service plays a vital role in generating long lasting referrals. When you provide exceptional service your clients or customers turn into your advocates. They are more inclined to refer you to others because they have faith in what you do and the value you provide. Providing service involves exceeding expectations, anticipating your client’s needs, and fulfilling your commitments.

5. Ask for referrals

Once you have established credibility with someone (which takes time) it's important to ask for referrals. While this may seem straightforward many business owners overlook asking for referrals from individuals they have relationships with. It's beneficial to make it a routine to seek referrals from clients or customers. When requesting referrals be specific about who you would like to be referred to and why.

It might sound counter-intuitive but being more specific can actually make it easier for your clients or customers to recommend you to others.

6. Give referrals

One way to get referrals is by giving referrals yourself. When you refer someone, it creates a quicker potential relationship for both parties involved. It demonstrates your willingness to assist others and also enhances the chances of receiving referrals in return. Make it a practice to actively look for opportunities to recommend businesses that share your values and standards.

7. Stay connected

Touch points are critical. Keep connected with your network by following up with them. This could be done through emails phone calls, social media interactions, face to face meetings, Zoom or Skype calls. By staying connected you keep your business at the forefront of their minds. It also shows that you value the relationship beyond business transactions. You can also utilize this opportunity to inform your network about products or services, upcoming events, or any updates within your business.

8. Leverage Social Media

Platforms like LinkedIn, Instagram, X (Twitter), and Facebook all serve as tools for maintaining existing relationships and sometimes even establishing new ones.

Using social media is a way to connect with potential clients or referral partners, share valuable content, engage in industry-specific groups, and stay updated on the latest news and trends. It's important to interact with your followers by responding to comments, liking and sharing their posts, and initiating conversations.

9. Attend networking events

Attending networking events is an opportunity to meet people, establish and nurture relationships and generate referral possibilities. Look for events tailored to your industry, chamber of commerce gatherings or business conferences that align with your objectives. When you attend these events remember to bring your business cards, dress professionally, and have a clear and concise elevator pitch that highlights the value of your business.

10. Show gratitude

Expressing gratitude when someone refers you to a client or customer is essential. You can show appreciation by sending a thank you note, a gift, or offering a discount on your services. Demonstrating gratitude strengthens relationships and leaves an impression that may result in more referrals in the future.

By incorporating these strategies into your networking efforts, over time you can cultivate lasting referrals that contribute to sustainable business growth. Keep in mind that building referrals is a commitment that pays off over time and demands ongoing efforts. "Lifetime referrals" go beyond endorsements; they entail nurturing enduring connections within your network, delivering top notch service, and consistently enriching the lives of others. It signifies a level of approval, and it plays a pivotal role in fostering lasting growth for any enterprise.

About Dr. Ivan Misner

Called the “father of modern networking” by CNN, Dr. Ivan Misner is a New York Times bestselling author.  He is also the Founder of BNI (, the world’s largest business networking organization. His latest book, The 3rd Paradigm, A Radical Shift to Greater Success, is a book about the amazing results that come from co-creation in business.


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