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Referrals: Writing Direct Mail Letters that get you Referrals

Writing a Thank You Letter that gets you More Referrals

Jeffrey Dobkin

What’s the best way to get more referral business? It’s by writing a thank-you letter.

Here’s how it works: First, you get a referral. I know – I’m as surprised as you are, but sometimes it happens: someone liked you… and somewhere down the line they passed-on some good words to a new customer or prospect who calls you.

To encourage them to refer you again and again, send them a “Thank You for your referral!” letter. Here’s what happens: First, your “Thank you!” letter elevates you from the silent majority — you know – the people who never bothered to express their appreciation for receiving a referral.

So that got you noticed. Your “Thank your for your referral letter!” placed you well above 99.9% of other people who have received a referral from someone who never even said thanks, let alone write a nice letter.

Here’s how to get even more business.

But first, kindly note – a phone call to thank someone for referring you is not the same. Calling is fine, but when you hang up the phone, you cease to exist.

A phone call just doesn’t have the impact of a thank you letter. Whatever you said on the phone fades into the horizon – like yesterday’s sun. But not a letter. A thank you letter has time to sit on the recipient’s desk as a lasting memento of your appreciation. A phone call just doesn’t compare to the visual goodwill generated by an appreciative letter.

The Most Valuable Letter

“Thanks for your referral,” is the single most valuable letter you can write.

“Thank you for your kind referral. I appreciate the privilege to be of service to your colleague.
I don’t take referrals lightly – or for granted – and assure you I will provide good value…”

“Thank you so much for your referral and your trust.”  See how powerful this becomes.

A referral is the truest demonstration of trust a client or friend can show.

It’s the leap of faith that you’ll perform exceptionally well for someone else, even when completely out of view. The person who recommends you puts their own name and reputation on the line for you. Does it deserve a thank you letter? Yes! But wait, there’s more.

Why is your “Thank you for your referral!” letter so, so effective?

First, your “Thanks kindly for your referral” makes the person feel comfortable with their recommendation of you.  Because now they know you’re going to do the very best you possibly can for your new client.

They know you’re going to lean over backwards to look good, and to make them look good for giving you their referral. You can’t make them feel this good with an ad, brochure or a phone call, but it’s easy to do with a well placed and well timed “Thank you” letter.

With a personal letter it’s easy to convince someone who has referred you that you really do appreciate the trust they’ve placed in you, your products and services. You can make them feel, well, like they should refer more people to you, all the time. And therein lies the beauty, the value, and the monetary worth in the most valuable letter you can write: the “Thank you for your referral!” letter. The recipient will remember it, and when the opportunity comes up again, they’ll continue to refer more people to you.

Referrals: The best advertising method

You’ve heard of word-of-mouth advertising as the best (and the cheapest) form of advertising? Well, this is better. It’s how you make more referrals happen, again and again. So now this “Thank you for your referral” letter has become the least costly AND the most effective piece of advertising you can write, bar none. Least costly? AND most effective? Hummm…

Did you notice how casually the “Thanks for your kind referral” letter has now become the most effective piece of advertising you can write? So it’s no longer in the “I’ll just dash off this thank-you letter” category. It becomes an art form, your personal ad in the exact form and style of a letter.

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Sending a Hard-Working Gift

What does my company do for people who refer direct marketing consulting or copywriting clients to us?

We send them a Cross Pen.

And of course a wonderful referral letter that says thank you so much for your kind referral and your trust. Then we have THEIR name engraved on the pen. Hey, the only person who wants a pen with my name on it is… me! Don’t worry, they’ll remember where they got it!

By the time we ship their new pen to them, and of course our own personal letter of thanks, it costs us about $35.  Plus our time and effort to purchase, personalize and send it. Is it worth it? You tell me: the prospect who received the referral of us trusts us because he or she received the personal recommendation from a friend. If we do any work for the new client, our copywriting and market-consulting fees range from… well, we get our $35 back pretty quick. Many clients stay with us for years.

We don’t convert all the prospects referred to us into actual rent-paying customers. Some don’t need our marketing skills, or high-powered writing of direct marketing sales letters or direct selling sales material. Some aren’t ready to launch products just yet; and some are just tire-kickers or fishing. I’m OK with all of that.  Because, no matter, we still send an engraved pen to the referral source with our own nice letter of thanks.

If this time the referral someone sent didn’t pan out, maybe the next time they refer someone to us it will.  We think they still deserve our “Thanks for your referral!” Even if it’s sent without a pen, it’s still a wonderfully received letter.

Funny, the more letters we send, the more referrals we seem to get from the referral source. Which we really do appreciate.

If you’d like to get more business, write an exceptional “Thank you for your referral!” letter, and keep it at-the-ready – to send to customers and friends if and when they give you a referral. Hey, it could happen…

When you get a referral, send the letter. If you feel it’s worth it, send an engraved Cross Pen with your letter of thanks. If not, that’s OK, a letter by itself will thank people nicely also. You can’t buy that kind of advertising – that goodwill or trust, or those kind referrals – at any price. Or can you?

Continue reading: Free Sample “Thank you for your Referral” Letter

Jeff Dobkin will now take your questions.

No, seriously, he will.  Call Dobkin at 610-642-1000 with questions, or email him at Jeff at

This is just one of Jeff Dobkin’s articles on direct mail, and increasing your direct mail response.

Jeff Dobkin Selfie

Jeff Dobkin Selfie

Dobkin is a speaker (blah blah blah, yip yip yip) and a marketing consultant (marketing plans, pr, market strategy, plan analysis: audits and review, media review) who happens to be an amazing writer (corporate literature, articles, brochures, ads, collateral, annual reports, technical material), specializing in direct-selling print and web (DR Ads, catalogs, TV scripts, web copy) and direct marketing material (letters, direct mail, mailing packages brochures, catalogs, web copy and did I mention post cards?) He’s also pretty darn good at analyzing catalogs, ads and campaigns and direct mail packages. He has written over 250 articles and 5 books on direct marketing. He can be reached at 610-642-1000.