Many companies ask customers and prospects, “How did you hear about us?” I’m going to tell you why that’s the wrong question.
First up, “How did you hear about us?” is a bit of a cliché
by now. Because of that, people answer the question too quickly with their own
go-to response instead of really thinking about it.
What’s more, if you don’t give them a reason why you’re
asking, they’ll just think you’re cynically checking to see if your marketing
There’s a better way to get the right information and increase the chances of prospects and customers offering a referral down the road, whether they came from one or not.
Start with “Who referred you to us?”
This question is specific and different from what they’re
used to hearing. If someone referred them, they’ll tell you. To be extra sure,
you can always add, “Because we’d like to send the person who referred you a
Now you’re cooking with gas. They have a valid reason for why you asked the question, and they’ll be happy their friend is going to be thanked. It shows how much you appreciate referrals and that you look after your customers. The prospect is also more likely to refer even more people to you.
But the benefits of this question don’t stop there. “Who referred you to us?” assumes the prospect came from a referral—and tells them you do a lot of business through referrals—meaning you’ll give them personal attention. Of course they’ll want to work with you. And you’ll also learn which customers are actively referring others.
If they weren’t referred…
If the person wasn’t referred to you, they’re more likely to
correct you after you ask “Who referred you to us?”
The response will probably go something like, “Oh, I just found your name when I did a Google search.” Now you’ve got valuable data about your marketing and/or SEO efforts. They’d be much less likely to offer these kinds of specific details if you’d asked “How did you hear about us?” instead.
“Who referred you to us?” is a question designed to build better relationships.
Changing what you ask will get more accurate info for where
people are coming from, and you’ll also be putting them in the referral
mindset from the get-go.
Plus, you’re subtly letting everyone know referrals are
important to you, meaning they’re more likely to give them. We’ve seen that
when people are recognized for a referral, they are several times more likely
to do it again—so don’t forget to always say a big thank you.
As you can see, there are a lot of benefits from such a small, simple tweak to the way you speak to customers and prospects. Start asking “Who referred you to us?” today and experience the difference for yourself.