Referrals are by far the best source of new business.  Especially when your ideal clients are sending you more ideal clients.  To do this, you want to “teach your clients how to sell you.”

People send you referrals for their own reasons (motivations), not yours.  Some of these include:

  • Hope of reciprocation, compensation, freebies, etc.
  • Significance, connection, contribution, etc. 

However, the best reason of all is because:

  • They want to share with someone the great experience and solution your product, service, or company provided them.  They literally would like to have someone with whom they can share the experience. Therefore,

The key to referrals is a great, memorable, and shareable client experience.

So …. You have to make it shareable.  You want to give your current happy clients the “language” they need to be able to share your great service with others.  Two great ways to make your problem/solution and client experience “shareable”:

Give your clients the “language” they need to share your great product or service.

1. Create a list of customer-centric problem-based trigger phrases:

  • People aren’t looking for your product or service, they are looking for solutions to their problems.
  • You want to match up with language of their problems, so you can be the solution.
  • Create a list of phrases people who need your service are most likely to say.  This is similar to online keywords for SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
  • Ask your current clients how they benefited most from your product/service?  What they value most about doing business with you?  What they have enjoyed/liked the most?  What problem they were originally trying to solve?  Then LISTEN to them.  Don’t “prompt” them for the answers by inserting your own language.  Listen to THEIR language of problem/solution; and they will give them to you.  These are your customer-centric phrases.  The “keywords/phrases” that other ideal clients are likely to be using when they need your services.  
  • Examples:
    • No one is looking for “snow removal.”  They just “want their driveway cleared early in the morning.”
    • No one is looking for “an accountant.”  They just “want financial #’s that help they run their business and get their taxes done quickly.”
    • No one is looking for “online marketing.”  They just “want to market and sell better using the internet.”

Once you have these customer-centric problem/solution trigger phrases you should be using them in ALL your marketing materials.

Including when you ask your current clients for referrals.  

Rather than saying “If you know anyone who needs a good snow removal company ….”  Say instead “If you know anyone who wants their driveway cleared early in the morning, please send them our way.”  Or “If you know of anyone who needs their taxes done quickly and accurately, please let us know.”  Or “If you know anyone who needs help marketing and selling better using the internet, we’d love to help them..”

By matching customer problem/solution based language, your referral sources are much more likely to identify problems you can solve.  And send new clients with those problems to you, so you can provide great solutions.

2. Create a “Comparative phrase” that highlights your competitive advantage in a memorable way.

A “comparative phrase” is a simple, memorable phrase that make your business easy to understand and highlights your competitive difference and advantage.  Phrases like this are often used when pitching a new business idea.  Or in the entertainment industry when pitching a new film idea by comparing it to something else.

The structure is usually “We’re like ___X___ (a recognizable business/service/idea) BUT with ___Y___ (your key product/service differentiator and competitive advantage).


  • The enormously popular Twilight movie series which is a love story about vampires and werewolves could be described as:
    • “It’s like Romeo and Juliet BUT with werewolves and vampires.”
  • Or the “Five Guy” high-end burger restaurant might use:
    • “We’re like McDonald’s BUT with a cool environment and much better food.”
  • Or, for the Rebus Digital Marketing company recently launched:
    • “We’re like other web design firms BUT we just handle everything for you.  Web sites, social media, content marketing.”  

Create a “comparative phrase” for your business that highlights your key competitive advantage.  Use this in your marketing and customer conversations so your referral sources have a “short, sweet, memorable” phrase they can use to instantly describe your business, and your advantage, to new potential customers.

Key Takeaways:

The key to referrals is to provide a memorable “shareable” customer experience that people want to share.  Teach your current clients how to “sell you.”  Give them the language of problem/solutions you provide.  Make it easy and memorable so they can talk “good” about your business.


  • A list of “trigger phrases” of problems for which your product or service provides the solution.
  • A “comparative phrase” highlighting your competitive advantage. In a way that is memorable and communicates how you are similar too, but unique, different, and better in the market.