This post explores 6 different ways to generate referrals from your existing clients. Many professionals typically do not realise the referral potential of their existing clients – and often wonder how to generate referrals from existing clients.

Before we dive into the ‘how’ to do this. One word of warning. If you are not delivering good client service now, and have a high attrition rate of clients then you need to work on rectifying these first, before putting effort into getting referrals from your existing clients.

1: Know who you want to meet!

This is probably the number one reason why accountants, lawyers and business owners struggle to get referrals from their existing client base. If you are asking in vague terms about who you want to meet – i.e

business owners of SMEs,

Then you will struggle with getting many targeted referrals.

Get really specific about who you want to meet – what size of company? Where in the UK will the company be based? What are the key characteristics of the company? (Structure, ownership, product/service) What typical things will you hear people from the company saying? Download our free Guide to choosing and capitalising on your niche, it's free and waiting for you right now in our JoinedUp Networking toolkit. This toolkit is a resource library stuffed with goodies to help you get better results from your networking (email address required). Click here to download it.

2: Do your research

Get active on LinkedIn and connect with your current clients on LinkedIn. Then each week give yourself a task to go through the one of your client’s contacts on LinkedIn. Which three people from their connections would you love an introduction to? (And, why – try to couch the ‘why’ in terms of a benefit for the client/contact, not you personally.) Then in your next scheduled meeting or call with the client, ask for an introduction to these three people.

3: Ask for introductions from your clients AT THE RIGHT TIME

When you get some good feedback from your clients take the opportunity to ask them the question:

“I love working with people similar to you, who else do you know who would also need this service? Can you introduce them to me please”

(If you have done your home work, then you will know the names of people you want an introduction too)

4: Start making introductions for your clients

Look through your client list. Who would benefit from knowing who? Give yourself a target to make one useful referral each week to one of your clients. You will be amazed how many of your clients will start to reciprocate.

5: Organise intimate networking lunches

With your best clients, start to organise a 2 by 2 lunch. I.e. you bring someone who they would like to meet, and they in return bring someone who you would like to meet.

 6: Organise seminars for your current clients plus a guest

Start to run really useful seminars for your clients. These are not about selling to your clients, these are about hosting genuinely useful events. When you invite your clients, encourage them to bring along a guest (for free). Do help your clients with bringing along a guest, by making suggestions who could be a good person to bring (once again, your homework will help here).


Written by Heather Townsend. I help professionals become the 'Go To Expert'. I am the co-author of 'How to make partner and still have a life', 'The Go-To Expert' and the author of the award-winning and bestselling book on Networking, 'The FT Guide To Business Networking'. To find out whether I can help you read 'is this you' Connect with me on ,  LinkedIn and Twitter