According to a recent survey by, Alignable, 85% of small business owners agreed they that they solely depended on word-of-mouth referrals to strengthen growth and increase clientele. When we read this stat, we were like WHAT? But then the more we thought about it, it’s totally true – In fact, it might even be a higher number than that. Referrals and introductions are imperative to securing growth and profit for small businesses.

We took some time to investigate why this is the case and how you can employ referral strategies in your own business (or enhance the ones you already have).

How Do You Ask?

 Most people may feel super awkward asking their family and friends to help promote their business, but THIS IS SUPER IMPORTANT. Referrals and positive reviews have a direct impact on profit and your business’s ability to grow and expand. Just do it. Ask your friends, ask your family to put the word out about your goods or services. People know people, and people love to help people they know. The amount of satisfaction that comes from someone being able to say “I know the guy who owns this store, or I know the lady who runs this website” is HUGE. Take advantage of it!

Always, always, always ask clients to refer your goods and services on to other individuals, there is absolutely nothing odd about it. It might feel weird the first time you ask for someone to tell their friends, but 2 seconds of discomfort is worth the potential revenue it will bring you. Plus the more you do this, the more used to it you get. It will be come second nature and you’ll just be asking for referrals all over the place.

You could offer a few business cards and let your customers know they are free to hand them out to whoever they believe may be interested. If you and your customer are both business owners, within similar industries, then it may also be wise to set up some kind of referral partnership where you can both support each other in the marketplace. The sky is the limit.

Who Do You Ask?

 Ask any individual or group that you know will be invested or interested in your business and what your company offers. Seriously. Sell your business to anyone who will listen. Family, friends, customers, neighbors, neighboring businesses, other people in the same industry who have different services than you, friends of friends…Talk to everyone you can about your business and why it is great!

Email Referrals / Links

It is extremely easy to profit from email referrals and introductory links. Make sure you are collecting the email addresses of your customers so you can send them offers. Encourage them in the email to forward it to their friends! Get on social media and ask for shares and likes. Remember that social media is one big referral network. Use it to your advantage!

Final Words

Especially in precarious times (like this pandemic), you need to continue to engage your customers and the local community in your business – Get out there and ask your friends, community, and customers to support your business. A face to face or personalized ask for a purchase or referral will drive your business forward. Trust us.

And since we’re on the topic of referrals, did you know that Merchant Growth has a referral program? If you are one of our clients, and you refer a friend, family member, supplier, or neighboring business owner, we will incentivize you (seriously, we love helping friends so the incentives are pretty good)! Get in touch with our customer success team at success@merchantgrowth.com to send us a referral – It’s worth a conversation!