The best way to get referrals is to do such a good job solving problems, in a way that is both enjoyable and convenient, that people just want to brag about you to their friends. I call this earning the referral.
Then simply ask them for the referral. But don’t just ask them for names of people you can contact. No one wants to unleash a hungry salesperson on their unsuspecting friends. So instead, ask them for names of people who have similar problems.
For example, let’s say you just took photos of a couple getting married. When you go over the finished pictures with them, ask them if any of their friends are getting married, graduating, having a baby, etc. This is more likely to get you a referral because they can remember people in those situations easier than the mysterious someone who may want their picture taken.
Start by scripting your referral request.
The last step of the referral process is rewarding them. This can be as simple as a thank you card or call. But it is much more effective to offer an incentive for referring. A discount for both them and the new customer often helps overcome people’s hesitance. Just look at the power of affiliate marketing.
You also might want to consider a contest for getting more referrals.
Write down how you will reward your valued customers who do you the favor of referring their colleagues, friends, and family.