Want More Referrals? Don't Thank, Update

If you want people to send you referrals on an ongonig basis, make it a two way street. Get-It-Done Guy explains how to ensure an ongoing relationship.

Stever Robbins
2-minute read

Your dear friend and colleague Bartholomew refers a new client to you. You’re excited, you love the client, and of course, they hire you. Congratulations!

You send Bartholomew a gift basket featuring dark chocolate-dipped dried apricots. Now that you’ve expressed your undying appreciation, you’re ready to move on. Only…not!

If you want more referrals, the gift basket is nice, but even better is to check-in occasionally and let Bartholomew know how you and the referral are doing.

Sending updates on your relationship with the client reminds Bart that he did something great for you. The reason he referred you was to help you, help the person he’s referring, and do something nice. Giving Bart updates makes it clear that you're benefitting because of something he did. Even if the referral doesn’t lead to new business, it might lead to new opportunities, in which case he still helped you out. Keep him updated on this too! He just wants to know how he’s contributed to your business.

See also: How to Make the Most from a Referral


It’s as simple as setting an alarm on your phone or calendar. Set up a system to remind yourself to email Bartholomew every 6 weeks or so. You don’t have to stick to it religiously, just have the thought in the back of your mind.

Alternately, you can email him every time something major happens with the client. You go on a team-building adventure to a rock climbing gym and the client makes it to the top. Send an email not just to describe the adventure with your new client, but also include a little background. What led up to the adventure? What other things have you been working on that culminated in the exercise? How did you decide rock climbing was a preferable alternative to eating Oreo Ice Cream cake?

Keeping your referrers updated lets them know how they’ve helped you and the person they referred (presumably their friend or coworker). Naturally, the Bartholomews of the world care about their friend’s success! An email here and there will help keep them happy. It will also keep you top of mind as the kind of person who deserves good referrals. And if they’re happy, and you’re top of mind, chances are they’ll give you a referral again.

Do you have a question about the best ways to network and improve your professional contacts? Send me an email at getitdone@quickanddirtytips.com or connect with me via Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.



About the Author

Stever Robbins

Stever Robbins was the host of the podcast Get-it-Done Guy from 2007 to 2019. He is a graduate of W. Edward Deming’s Total Quality Management training program and a Certified Master Trainer Elite of NLP. He holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and a BS in Computer Sciences from MIT.