You probably already know that selling more to your existing customers is the fastest and easiest way to bring in more revenue. Pounding the pavement for new prospects is tough and time-consuming. One path to easier prospecting is all about getting your existing clients to give you referrals. John Rampton, VIP contributor at Entrepreneur.com, has come up with over 20 clever ways to score referrals.

Cultivate Relationships

It’s awkward to ask a client for something, without offering anything in return. As you work with clients, pay attention to the individuals who seem to genuinely like you and are on the ball. People who understand what’s going on in their industry, and who are outgoing, are also likely to know plenty of other professionals in the local market. Cultivate relationships with these accounts by sharing information they might find helpful. Is there a new competitor starting up in the market? Is there a new product being launched that could help or hurt them? Giving your clients information they may not have puts you in a better position when you ask for referrals.

Lagniappe

The French created their own word for a concept which is popular in New Orleans. It’s all about giving a little extra something at the time of purchase. Is one of your best clients having a tough year? If you have the power, why not offer her a free month of service or a deeply discounted upgrade. Your client will remember your generosity, especially when you ask him for a referral.

Make it Easy

Your clients are busy people. You already know that asking for a referral is a bit of an imposition. So, make the referral process easy for them. If you’re looking for a testimonial or an email, draft the text for them. Ask them for approval and then use the material. When you’re visiting a client in person, mention a company that you know might benefit from her products or services. Taking that step will make it easier for you to ask if she can give you contact information for businesses that might be interested in what you’re selling.

Referrals are tricky to get right, but mastering the process can lead you to prospects who may be open to doing business with you.