5 Simple Sales Referral Tactics Your Salespeople Can Use Today

5 Simple Sales Referral Tactics Your Salespeople Can Use Today

Sales referrals are one of the most powerful ways to generate high-quality sales leads.

When buyers are faced with making a purchasing decision, they want to be confident they’re making the right one. What helps their confidence more than anything? A recommendation from someone they trust who has experience with your product or service, and can vouch for the quality or effectiveness.

Getting a customer referral helps salespeople over the first hurdle of the sale—establishing trust. And since 84% of B2B buyers now start the purchasing process with a referral, it’s key for your sales reps to take an active approach to gaining more sales referrals, instead of just hoping they turn up on their doorstep.

Here are 5 simple sales referral tactics that your salespeople can start putting into action immediately.

1. Be Referable

You can’t expect your clients to recommend your company to others unless they truly find what you offer to be valuable, and are delighted with the service you provide. Stress to your salespeople the importance of building a trusting relationship with clients by meeting—and going beyond—the clients’ expectations. 

That starts with using a buyer-focused, consultative selling process to determine exactly what the client needs to be successful. It then requires going the extra mile to help clients out whenever possible. If your reps establish these close relationships with clients, they can look forward to referral business in return.

2. Give a Sales Referral First

If your salespeople want their customers to make referrals for them, what better way to encourage that than to give the customer a referral first!  

Your salespeople likely have a large pool of connections, and some of them are bound to be a good fit for their clients’ companies. It’s the classic “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” scenario, and it’s very effective, but reps often overlook it as a referral tactic. 

3. Just Ask

If your organization has customers who are satisfied, you have a great pool of future referrals. According to Texas Tech, 83% of satisfied customers are willing to refer a product or service but only 29% actually do. To fill in that gap, your salespeople simply need to ask!

Most people are more than willing to give a referral, as long as they truly value the product or service your company provides them.  

Make asking for referrals part of your reps’ follow-up routine so that it never gets passed over and your salespeople become more comfortable with it. Have your sales reps set a reminder to follow-up with customers after a sale to:

  1. Make sure they are delighted with the product or service, and
  2. Kindly request a referral (or multiple referrals)

4. Get Specific

Your salespeople might have the attitude of “I’ll take what I can get” when it comes to referrals, but as you refine your referral strategy, it helps to get specific.

If you’ve already established your organization’s ideal buyer persona, your salespeople can get very clear when discussing with clients the type of referrals that are most useful.  Have them clarify who makes a quality referral (CFOs at technology companies larger than 1,000 employees, for example).

This will help the client know exactly what your salesperson needs, and at the same time, provide the salesperson with names they can really use.  

5. Look Beyond Customers

Referrals from people who have experienced your product or service will be the strongest, but it’s not the only place they can come from. Coach your salespeople to use any networking opportunity they have to gain referrals.

Perhaps they make a connection with someone whose organization isn’t a good fit for your product or service, but they know of others who would be. You’d be surprised at how many successful referrals can come about as a result of a brief conversation.


Asking for sales referrals is a key component to any successful sales professional’s lead generation strategy. Coach your salespeople with these 5 simple tactics and they’ll be filling their pipeline with quality referrals in no time!

Improving referral business is just one aspect of a strategic business plan for salespeople. The Sales Territory Planning Workshop helps salespeople get organized with key areas of business, and build detailed action plans that they can execute, track, and measure for success.

This customizable and interactive program is a great option for your annual sales meeting! Learn More.

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David Tucker

David Tucker is a Business Partner for The Brooks Group. In his role he is responsible for developing strong, mutually beneficial relationships with clients, helping them to effect long term cultural change inside their sales organizations.

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