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  • Writer's pictureDr Raewyn Sleeman

The Secret to More Effective Referrals: Ask The Customers Most Likely to Tell Their Friends & Family

Updated: Oct 18, 2023

Are you using Word-of-Mouth to grow your small business? You're on the right track, but there's a fresh approach that's been uncovered by new research.

It's not just about asking customers to refer their friends; it's about focusing on those who were referred themselves. This article reveals a special way to make Word-of-Mouth work even better for your business.

1. Referrals from Referred Customers Spread More

New findings show that customers who were referred by someone else are more likely to refer others. This means if you focus on asking people who were referred to refer their friends, you'll get better results. The value of these customers is 20-36% more than we thought before.

2. Making Referring Feel Good

People who join through a friend think it's good to refer others. A simple message like “You were referred by a friend – now refer your friends!” can make them refer even more.

3. It Works for All Types of Businesses

This idea works in many businesses like finance, staffing, phones, software, and more. So, no matter what your business is, you can use this special way of referring.

What You Can Do as a Small Business Owner

  • Use Word-of-Mouth in a New Way: Ask customers who were referred by friends to tell their friends. This new way can bring more people to your business.

  • Make Referring Feel Special: Use words that make people feel good about telling friends.

  • It Works Everywhere: No matter what you sell, you can use this new way of referring to grow.

Examples to Encourage Referrals

Here are some ways you can ask your customers to refer others:

Verbal Script:

  • "You joined us because a friend told you about us. Why not tell your friends too?"

  • "We're glad you like our service. Can you tell your friends about us?"


  • "Subject: Share the Love! Tell Your Friends and Get a Reward!" "Hi [Name], you joined us through a friend. Now, it's your turn to refer your friends and get a special gift!"

  • "Subject: Spread the Word! Refer a Friend Today!" "Dear [Name], you were referred by a friend. Share the joy and refer your friends to enjoy special offers together!"


  • "You were referred by a friend. Now refer your friends and get a surprise gift! Click here."

  • "Share the love! Tell your friends about us and enjoy special rewards. Reply YES to know more."


Word-of-Mouth is a friendly way to grow, but this new research shows a special way to make it even stronger. By focusing on asking people who were referred to refer others, small business owners can get more customers without spending much money.

Tell your customers to tell their friends. Let them help your business grow in a new and better way.

This article is based on the research by Gershon, Rachel and Jiang, Zhenling, titled "Referral Contagion: Downstream Benefits of Customer Referrals" (September 9, 2022). Read the full paper here.



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