The fabulous thing about a referral incentive program is that it feeds into people’s natural desire to help each other out. You would be amazed to learn that your current customer base doesn’t even know you want referrals. If you have provided your customers with prompt, reliable, quality service, they’ll be happy to spread the word on your behalf without any incentive. So, go ahead and ask for the referral.

Incentives can range from gift certificates to discounts to cash payments based on the amount of business generated by a referral. Finding the perfect incentive can be a challenge, but it’s well worth the effort.

Be creative and develop an incentive program that people will really appreciate. At my business, we often give people a discount or sometimes free work for a referral but we have also given cash. By asking for a steady stream of referrals, you will find more pre-qualified leads who are much more likely to make a final purchase.

Always acknowledge a customer’s referral with a thank-you note or phone call. If you send a card, consider including a gift card or discount on a future product or service. This may seem obvious but you need to make sure the “rewards” you offer fit in your budget and that you have clearly defined the rules and guidelines and set a time limit on the offer.