Paul Haarman: How to use referrals as a means to cut through the crowded marketplace

Referrals can be a powerful source of new business for you especially when every other means to attract new clients is almost tapped out or exhausted says Paul Haarman. Through referrals, you leverage the trust that your existing customers have with you and this will lead them to introduce you to someone who can benefit from your product/service.

One of the most difficult (and expensive) tasks in marketing is finding good prospects. Finding someone who not only needs what they are selling but also has the ability and desire to buy it. Customers referred by an existing customer are more likely to become long-term relationships because they were brought in through trusted referral channels. Such prospects are usually (1) better qualified (because they heard positive things about your company), (2) easier to work with (because you have a good track record together), and (3) more likely to give you referrals in return.

And when it comes down to numbers, the power of referral marketing is significant: 50% of all new business comes from existing customers or referrals. This means that if you can get just 10 positive customer referrals every month, you’ll bring in over 1/3 of your revenue from these sources alone!

The Anatomy of a Referral Process:

A virtuous cycle begins when an existing customer introduces you by name to someone else who needs what they are selling. In this case, it’s referred to as “Referrals”. It works best if your company asks for introductions rather than expecting them. Some companies with a strong referral process include:

1. Lexis Nexis –

If your name has been in the news, you might have been asked by someone from this company if you would be willing to be interviewed for their next newsletter or media section

2. Financial Institutions –

In order to open a new account, they ask each of their existing customers if they could refer anyone who would benefit from opening an account with that financial institution explains Paul Haarman. The company then sends reminders and follows up calls to all of these referrals until at least one person becomes a customer

3. AirBnB-

A website that offers online services allowing people to rent out there or spaces for a limited period of time

4. Uber-

A company that provides on-demand car service for their customers

5. Air conditioning, heating, and electrical companies-

They ask all of their existing customers if they know anyone who needs these services. They then call these people to see how they can be of help

6. Insurance Companies –

A common way insurance companies solicit new clients is by offering an introductory discount or rebate to the first 10 or 20 new policyholders, making it worth your while to introduce them to someone you know

7. Hotels –

If you are a loyal customer staying at one particular hotel, chances are they will ask if you could refer them to other businesses as well because every time you visit during different seasons, there are always other people who come in through referrals

8. Tech companies –

Many IT-related service providers solicit their existing customers. By offering a referral fee for bringing in new business or recruiting others to use their services. These include (but are not limited to): web developers, website designers, graphic designers, SEO experts, data recovery experts, mobile phone repair experts, personal trainers, and home healthcare workers. Paul Haarman says They often promise the customer a percentage of what the referred client pays them for this specific job/service/product or even offer flat rates (e.g., $100 if they refer someone who uses your services but ends up purchasing an additional service that you provide)

Why do your clients refer you?

A lot of businesses fail at making good relations with their customers, and this is often the reason why they don’t ask for referrals. The key to a successful referral process is to ensure that you are delivering amazing customer service.

 Here are some questions you can ask yourself to help improve your customer service and increase referrals:

  1.       What does my company offer that is unique?
  2. How do I make it easy for my customers to refer me?
  3. What are the different ways I can say thank you to my customers for referring me?
  4. Am I providing exceptional customer service?
  5. What can I do to make sure that all of my customers feel valued?
  6. Do my customers know about all of the services/products I offer?
  7. How can I provide value for my customers in ways that are unexpected?
  8. What specific actions have I taken lately to show gratitude towards my clients, and have they noticed?
  9. Do all of my employees provide the same level of customer service regardless of their role at the company?
  10. Am I doing everything possible to ensure that my employees are well trained on how to handle difficult customers/situations?


Even if you have a great product or service. It’s not going to mean anything if you don’t have happy customers. Implementing a referral system is one way to ensure that your customers are satisfied and more likely to refer their friends and family members says Paul Haarman. It also makes them feel appreciated, which is always a good thing. Keep in mind that customer service is key; make it easy for your customers to refer you. And show them how much you appreciate their loyalty by thanking them in different ways. You should also make sure that all of your employees are providing the same level of customer service. So that no one feels left out. Finally, continue to find ways to provide value for your customers in unexpected ways.


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