How To Refer: 5 Best Practices When Referring Business

According to Beth Corby’s article “15 Referral Marketing Statistics You Need to Know,” “Referral marketing scored the highest across every single demographic, out-doing editorial content, all forms of ads, and brand sponsorship” in a recent Nielsen Survey.

Two people talking in snow

The piece contains several compelling statistics that support referral marketing as a surefire way to gain sales and earn new clients. It states that 83% of Gen Z, 85% of Millennials, 83% of Gen X, 80% of Baby Boomers, and 79% of Silent Generation people agreed to trusting referral advertising. Additionally, companies have seen a “70% higher conversion rate” with this tactic than with cold-calls or paid leads. 

Of course, we all want to find ways for our customers to refer us to their friends, but B2B referrals are equally valuable. Professional Network Connections has devised this list of 5 best practices that you can use when making recommendations to others. By referring fellow professionals to your friends, partners, and clients, you show yourself to be a team player and incite others to return the favor later on!

 Best Practices

  1. Recognize Risk

Caution sign on cement wall

It’s crucial to keep your reputation in mind as you make referrals. When you suggest someone close to you solicit another company for goods or services, you vouch for the quality of care he will receive. If your associate is cheated or unhappy with his experience, it will likely reflect badly on you as the referral source. 

Therefore, we highly suggest you do your research before sending anyone towards another business. Be sure you can trust the people and workmanship involved, or it could come back to bite you. In contrast, be mindful of the fact that colleagues sending you clients are risking their reputations to help you. Respect that choice by giving their referrals the best possible service. 

  1. Use Multiple Channels

Laptop and phone displaying Facebook screens

Recognize that not all referrals are made in person or over the phone anymore. On the contrary, the modern consumer largely interacts with the world through digital mediums. While phone calls and emails are still useful tools, social media outlets like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter can play huge roles in helping you give referrals. 

Not only are social media platforms extremely accessible, they make clearly referring companies to large audiences easy as you can include reviews, links, photos, etc. to back recommendations. Plus, other online users can tag their friends and share your posts, meaning your one referral could quickly multiply to become dozens of sales. 

  1. Make Personal Introductions

Three people at a coffee shop table

Remember, we aren’t advocating that you eliminate personal introductions altogether. You know your contacts better than we do, and some people respond much better to coffee meetings than anything else. When this is the case, go for it! Taking the time out of your busy schedule to have a face to face conversation shows that you’re serious about serving your client’s best interests. 

Get together with your referral and a member of the company you recommend for lunch, coffee, or drinks after work. Give everyone about 30 minutes to an hour to become familiar with one another. Avoid making the entire introduction into a glorified sales pitch, but be sure your contact understands the benefits of using your referred business before the meeting ends. 

This strategy is time consuming, but it leaves potential customers feeling comfortable and personally connected to the referred party, meaning they are more likely to finalize commitments. 

  1. Get Feedback

Man giving a thumbs up

Ensure your referral contacts are happy with the goods and services you recommended by following up. Reach out with a short survey, and ask how your they felt about their experiences on a scale from one to ten. 

If the client rates the company you suggested at a nine or ten, ask for one or two of their contacts who you could recommend as referrals as well, people they know who might be in the market for similar goods or services. If your client rates his experience lower than a  nine, ask what went wrong, what could be improved. Find out how the company you vouched for could have done a better job, and pass that feedback along to your partnering business. 

  1. Join a Networking Group

Conference Room Table

When you’re referring your friends and customers to other businesses, you want to have built rapport with those companies, so you can trust they will reciprocate your help by sending clients your way as well. One of the best ways to ensure you’re part of such mutually beneficial partnerships is to join a professional networking group like Professional Network Connections. 

As part of one of our teams, you will regularly interact with a closed community of elite individuals from the Southeast region from diverse career fields who can help you brainstorm new ways to make sales and acquire customers. You’ll have the opportunity to participate in regular meetings and networking events. Plus, the relationships you’ll form as a member of our networking group are likely to result in an influx of referrals for both you and your team members. 


There’s no question that referrals are essential to success, but you can’t expect to receive recommendations from others if you never offer any in return. Besides the typical professional courtesies which say you should always be punctual and honest, follow the five best practices we’ve explained above to reach your fullest referring potential.

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