Referrals from trusted sources are the bedrock of growth in any relationship-building sector. Don’t believe us?
Work in sales?
Sales referral leads are 30% more likely to convert than leads from any other channel. And 37% more likely to stay than non-referral leads. Kerching! 🍒
What about recruitment?
Over 45% of hires recommended by other employees stay for more than four years, according to one study, and the entire hiring process can be shortened by at least 30% with employee referral programs. 👏
But whether it’s sales, marketing or recruitment, how do you spin those networking threads into referral gold? 💫 It’s simple. By following up.
And to nail the follow up, in fact, even just to make the first move if you’re networking digitally, you’ve got to get to grips with professional referral emails.
Keeping it personal and still following up on every lead you generate takes ages though right? Just say the magic words: Referral email templates.
Referral emails come in all shapes and sizes, and as we’ve already mentioned, 👆they can be used in a pretty wide variety of contexts, from sales to recruitment. So there isn't really a one-size-fits-all template.
What there are though, are:
- some guiding principles that you can use which apply across the board, and
- this starting menu of referral email templates, that you can take and adapt for free!
With these samples, you should have a great starting point for a referral email in any context.
Oh… and there’s one more thing:
If it’s still taking you an age to cut, paste, edit and personalize templates, you could probably do with a free text expander like Magical. It makes repetitive phrases vanish in seconds by saving and recalling text instantly with shortcuts. No installation. No complex integration. It just works. And like that 🪄 all that boring typing is gone. ✨
But that’s one step ahead. First we need the basic principles.
How do you write a referral email?
As with any professional email template, the rules for writing referral emails aren’t complicated.
In general, you want to do all of the following:
- Spend time crafting a compelling subject line and a strong opening sentence.
- Use the first line to demonstrate your connection. Try and include a reference to where you met, or how they know you, right off the bat. If you’re approaching them for another reason, i.e., they’re a top customer, they’ve been selected by a random process, they live in the right area…whatever. Make sure that comes first. Don’t leave them wondering what your email has to do with them.
- Get the tone right. Be polite, professional, and warm but not overly friendly. Using informal language is fine. Writing “CNT W8 2 👂frm U, man!”? Not so much.
- Use the second paragraph to get straight to the point. Tell them your referral request in as few words as possible. If there’s something in it for them, i.e., an incentive or reward as part of a referral program, mention it here.
- In the third paragraph (or line, depending on how succinct you are) give them any follow-up info they might need.
TIP: If you’re unsure whether or not to put something in, ask yourself whether it’s something they definitely need to know to take the next step. If there’s extensive extra info about the referral program, send that to them in a follow-up once the conversation is open. For now, keep it strictly need to know.
- Finally: a call to action. Is it a link they need to share, a form they need to complete, or a name they need to send you? Ask them politely, clearly and directly and make it as obvious and simple as possible. The fewer clicks they need to make, the higher the chances they will actually make the referral happen.
- Don’t forget to sign off with all the contact details they need. 🤝 If you can work in one last short but sweet reference to whatever you have in common, that can make a nice touch.
- Check, check and check again for typos, grammar mistakes and spelling errors. 👀These have a habit of magically appearing—after you’ve pressed Send, So make sure that you make them disappear first!
- Have you got their details correct? There is nothing worse than telling someone how much you value them while getting their name wrong. 😖 “Did someone call for a cloak of invisibility?”🧙
The most important thing? Emphasize your relationship. Whether in sales, marketing or recruitment, the value of a referral email lies in the trust already built in. Aim to re-ignite the connection.
Now that we’ve got the principles down, let’s take a look at these referral email templates. Use them for inspiration or take them as is. With a wave of your Magical wand, you can have them personalized and sent in the time it takes to make a card disappear from the pack. ♠️
Sales referral email templates
In sales and marketing, businesses send referral emails to their existing customers to try and bring in prospective clients or customers who are likely to be a good fit. The point here is to get
- A positive referral from a customer likely to speak well of you
- A higher chance of a good fit with whomever they refer you to
These might be sent as part of a specific campaign or an ongoing incentive program. You could make the campaign targeted (for example by only sending referral emails to those customers who would recommend you to others, i.e. your best customers (Templates 2 and 3) or you could take more of a spray-n-pray approach and send them out to everyone on your books (Template 1 and 4). Tone your referral email as if you’re expanding on an already warm and good relationship with someone whom you respect.
Try these on for size:
Referral Template 1: Short and sweet
Referral Template 2: Simply the best
Referral Template 3: The best with detail
Referral Template 4: Spray n’ pray
Sales referrals for customers to pass on
What if you don’t have a referral webpage link and instead, you’re asking your customers to forward your details on to others. Minimize the risk of losing referrals in this way by preparing a referral email template to pop over to your customers that they can pass on themselves.
A few name changes and one click of a Send button later, and Voila! A new name will magically appear CC’d in your inbox and you’ll have the referral you need.
Referral Template 5: Writing it for them
Referral requests from friends and family
Referrals from friends or family can be a great way to build up a customer base at the start of your business journey.
Here, all the same principles listed above apply, except that you won’t have a business connection to emphasize. A good alternative to include a line that captures any success or recognition you’ve had so far. This gives your friends something solid to mention when they pass on your details.
Take a look:
Referral Template 6: Helping a brother or sister out
Employee referral email templates for recruitment
It’s not just sales where referrals can help you. Employee referral emails are sent internally to employees asking them to recommend anyone they know when a role opens up.
As we mentioned earlier, employee referrals can make recruitment a million times easier too, and are much more likely to result in hires that fit. It’s also a great way to strengthen the ties within your employee network, increase trust and camaraderie among your workforce and often reduce the hiring time. 👯
If you offer a decent incentive, it is often less necessary to make these emails as personal as sales referral requests. The incentive should do most of the heavy lifting for you.
Referral Template 7: Tell’em I sent you
Referral Template 8: Specific shoes to fill
So there you have it—8 great templates for sales or employee referrals to make your work a million times easier. And with Magical to make your boring re-typing disappear, you’ll be all set for referral success!