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Referrals, referrals, referrals.... sell more cars by asking for referrals.

Referrals, referrals, referrals.... sell more cars by asking for referrals.

Referrals need to be in your playbook. Why would you not ask for as many referrals as you possibly could get? Referrals are easier to sell, take less time, give you better gross, are more fun, have better CSI, and are an unlimited opportunity. There is no wrong way to ask for a referral but there are more effective ways than others. Your success with referrals is all based on one thing – the exact words and phrases you use.


Write down exactly what you would say if you were going to ask me for a referral. It doesn’t matter if it’s 3 days after the sale or if I’m even your customer. It could be a friend or relative or someone that even sold you your shoes yesterday. No matter the circumstance, you have to learn how to effectively ask for referrals.

Next to what you wrote write down these 10 words. Do you know anybody looking to buy a new car today? Look at those 10 words. How many of those 10 words are negative and would actually prevent you from getting an easy referral that might already be there for you. Remember people respond to the exact words and phrases put in front of them.

dealership referrals with tom stuker of stuker training

So what’s your number? Some people say zero. That just blows my mind. How many do you see wrong? Some say 2. Some say 4… well there are 7! There are 7 words that prevent you from getting referrals with this phrase. So let’s talk about the 7.

  • New is incorrect for most people because you sell both new and used.
  • Car is negative because we sell vans, trucks, SUVs, crossovers… instead, say vehicle.
  • Buy is negative because you’re asking for money – enough said.
  • Anybody is negative, that’s number 4. It’s too many people to think of. It overwhelms your brain. You have to make it easy for your customer to come up with a name. You have to segment the decision process for them.
  • Looking and today. Both are now words. They are present tense. You’re asking somebody to visualize somebody on the lot looking today at vehicles. It limits your response because it’s so easy for the customer to come back with nobody right now, nobody today. Those are pressure words – it’s like pushing a customer against the wall. You’re pressuring them with the limitation of time. There are so many more referrals that you would get if you didn’t limit the time. For that matter, eliminate all words that limit the response. Stay away from words like near, future, in the market, currently…. Any words that limit their response.
  • Number 7 is the worst negative of all. The word do. Do you, can you, would you, is there, are there – they are all negative. They are yes and no questions. The easiest way for them to respond is NO. “Are there any tall people in your household?”, “Who is the tallest in the household? “will give you a name. Is there anybody in your family celebrating a birthday in the near future? That’s yes/no. Who in your family is celebrating a birthday in the near future? That gets you a name.


Let’s learn the exact words and phrases you need to use when effectively asking for referrals. I get most of my business from people just like yourself. That sends a signal that’s very commonplace. Everybody gives me referrals. Here’s the referral question. Who do you know, maybe a friend, relative, neighbor, someone you’ve talked to, maybe someone that has seen your new car – that one of these days might possibly be thinking about some type of new or used vehicle for themselves.

Continue to ask for more referrals until there are none. I saw two of my students get 19 referrals on one call. My personal best is 12 referrals on one call. Don’t stop on one – make it fun with the customer! Use these words and phrases and try to ask at least 10 people a day for a referral.