Published on 19th Jul, 2008 in Online Marketing

Asking Past Clients for Referrals-Best Practice Tips

By: Shama Hyder Recently, we decided to launch a referral campaign for one of our clients. They have just opened a new office in Texas, and would like to get the word out to past and present clients. Since we don’t specialize in direct mail type pieces, I turned to the one man I know who is the best in his field. Dean Rieck of Direct Creative. I asked:

Are there any best practices when doing a direct mail piece to current and past clients asking for referrals? As copywriter extraordinaire-I thought you might have some insight!

Dean replied:

I’ve always taken the straightforward approach when asking for referrals. During a phone conversation, I’ll just tell them that referrals are important to me and that I’d like the client to feel free to recommend me to others.

I’ve not done this in a direct mail piece, but if I did I’d be just as upfront. Maybe send a few business cards and say that while I’m choosey about clients, I know a referral from that client would carry a lot of weight. That way I get in flattery while asking for a favor. I might also send them a gift, like a free report or a recent article I wrote, as a thank you in advance. That gets reciprocity working as well.

I think the key to referrals is to build the groundwork well ahead of time. Do favors for your clients. Then when you need a favor, they’re indebted to you. I learned that from The Godfather.

I guess I owe Dean a favor! = )