Referral Program 101

As a business owner, it’s up to you to capitalize on word-of-mouth, but encouraging clients to share their positive experiences isn’t always easy. They value their time just as much as you value yours. If they can’t identify exactly how they benefit from taking time out of their day to tell others about your business, there’s little likelihood that they will do so.

Sure, they’ll still share exemplary experiences in which you went above and beyond … but that’s self-limiting. Though your ideal goal is to make every experience exemplary, that just isn’t realistic.

Referral Program

So, how can you encourage referrals from every customer—including the ones who have positive experiences that don’t quite meet the qualification needs for “miraculous”? New research shows that they may just need a gentle push in the right direction. Here at Prudential Overall Supply, we want to help you better understand referral programs and how you can use them to your advantage.

What’s a Referral Program?

A referral program is any business-led program that encourages new leads, sign-ups, or sales through word-of-mouth. Most referral programs incentivize referrals directly to achieve this goal, though the benefits aren’t always the same. Referral programs can be as simple as a 10 percent discount for every referral or as complex as full-scale Air Miles reward programs.

Referral Friends

Referral programs fall into four main categories:

  • Direct
  • Tangible
  • Implied
  • Community

Programs where you provide something of value to the customer for directly referring a friend or a family member qualify, obviously, as direct. Tangible referrals involve giving current customers products or samples to hand out to people they’d like to refer.

Implied referrals are indirect and include paying a customer for vehicle ad space, leaving a flyer in a business client’s office, or simply advertising in the area you’re working in. Community referrals grant benefits to your local community when new clients sign up; this includes programs that donate a percentage of the first service or product sale to a specific charity.

How Do Referral Programs Work?

Referral programs work by giving the customer a good reason to tell others about you (beyond great service alone). Some businesses incentivize referrals by providing a monetary bonus to the customer, while others offer discounts on products or services. Still others rely upon point systems, letting a customer who refers many new leads turn in the points for prizes.

Which Referral Program Is Right for Your Business?

Referral Programs Work

Exactly what form is best for your business depends on the nature of your business as a whole. A dry cleaning company will experience better results from offering one free dry cleaning service for every five referrals, while a bank may experience results upon offering current customers a $50 bonus for every five new accounts they bring in. Other businesses may provide free services to customers who continually bring in new accounts.

Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide exactly how referral programs best benefit your business. Your main goal is to provide value to the customer in exchange for each referral without losing money in the process; as long as you maintain a good return on investment (ROI), you’re doing it right.

We utilize referrals through associations with several excellent referral networks, including BNI Leading Edge and the Apparel Services Network. These connections afford Prudential Overall Supply the unique opportunity to exchange referrals with other businesses, letting us work hand-in-hand to create more business for everyone involved.

How Can I Promote My Referral Program?

The best way to promote your referral program is to make it highly visible in the first place. Have your staff remind customers when they make a purchase, keep signs posted (either online or in a brick and mortar location), and include a short snippet about the referral program on your receipt or invoice. For best results, be sure to outline clearly exactly how customers benefit when they refer someone.

Learn More About Prudential Uniform’s Refer-a-Friend Program

If you’re currently working with Prudential Overall Supply, why not take advantage of our own Refer-a-Friend program? Simply provide your friend’s contact information, and we’ll follow up with them directly to see if they’re in need of our services. If they decide to take advantage of our services, we’ll gladly pay your employer an amount that’s equal to one full week of their uniform rental charges. Feel free to reach out to our team today to learn more about this great referral program today at!