How to Generate More Referrals for Your Company

If you want to grow your business, one of the most effective ways to do it is by seeking word-of-mouth referrals. The best source of those referrals, however, might surprise you, according to CNBC contributor Lee Frederiksen.

"Most companies believe their existing customers are their best source of referrals. Data suggests they may be wrong," Frederiksen says. "Nearly 82 percent of firms get referrals from people who have never worked with them before rather than through existing clients, according to a recent study by Hinge Research Institute."

And the best way to get strangers to refer you? What's known as "visible expertise."

"The visibility of a firm's expertise is the single most important factor in someone making a referral," continues Frederiksen, who says the Hinge study showed that the most effective types of visible expertise are blog posts and speaking engagements. "Many referrers became aware of a company's capabilities when a member of its team spoke at a conference or wrote blog posts and articles that demonstrated the firm's knowledge. In some cases, the company showcased a successful project on its website or otherwise publicly demonstrated its skills and knowledge. In other words, professionals made their expertise visible to the outside world."

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