Even though I knew referrals were a strong source of growing business, I’ll admit I was hesitant to ask my clients for a referral because I felt it was asking for a favour.

During the past year, I started asking for referrals. When I completed the analysis of our new business source, over 80% came from referrals! Referrals are powerful.

In our Cracking the Buyers Code panels, all our buyers agreed that when they are contacted by a salesperson, they are more likely to accept the meeting if the seller uses the name of a referral. The consensus was that when the name of a common connection is used, they will accept the meeting out of respect for their contact.

When you call the new prospect, you have to reference the referral name early in the conversation or first line of the email. I thought it was name dropping, but it’s a necessity to get the attention and credibility of your prospect.

Clearly, a good referral lends you credibility by association.

Referral Statistics

  • People are 4 times more likely to buy when referred by a friend or colleague.
  • 84% of B2B decision makers start the buying process with a referral.
  • 83% of consumers are willing to refer after a positive experience – yet only 29% actually do.
  • The Lifetime Value for new referral customer is 16% higher than non-referrals.
  • 87% of frontline sales sellers, 82% of sales leaders, and 78% of marketers surveyed agree that referrals are the best leads your business can get.


Even though I know referrals are a strong source of growing business, I’ll admit I was hesitant to ask my clients for a referral because I felt it was asking for a favour. Click To Tweet

Without a referral, our respondents indicated that the only other reason they would grant a meeting with a seller was if they presented them with a very compelling reason to do so. The case for a compelling reason must be made based on research the salesperson has done, prior to making that first contact. The website of the prospect is a good start, but likely contains very limited information and may function primarily as a marketing tool. Sellers should check a company’s annual report, industry publications, and trade publications for more insights. Set up a Google alert or RSS Feed to receive information daily or weekly by email.


Buyers we spoke to agreed on some key traits that sellers need to have, to get and keep their attention:

  • Healthy respect for their time; it’s valuable to them and should be to you
  • Ability to lead meetings in an organized and concise manner
  • Tenacity
  • A genuine interest in building relationships with their clients
  • Integrity
  • The insights to ask thought-provoking questions that show understanding of the prospect’s business