Referrals are some of the best leads you can get. Why? Because the prospects arrive with a genuine need for your products and services — and they’re coming to you with a ringing endorsement from someone they know and trust.

At first, asking for referrals can be awkward, but getting into a referral-generating routine is well worth the effort. With that in mind, here are five ways you can earn more referral leads in 2018:

1. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask

Provide an exceptional experience, and your clients will be more than happy to put you in touch with their friends, family and business colleagues. Asking for referrals should always be part of your routine.

2. Communicate the Value of Referral Contacts

Initially, clients may worry that you’ll overwhelm their acquaintances with hard-sell business tactics. It’s your job to reassure them. Explain how valuable referrals are to your business and how you approach such connections with respect.

3. Always Do Your Best Work

Even if a transaction hits a rough patch, focus on providing the best client experience possible. Practice empathy and work to make interactions exceptional; showing you truly care can forge a bond that will last for years to come.

4. Make the Referral Process Easy for Your Clients

Create referral marketing materials you can hand directly to your client. Likewise, set up an automated system with a dedicated landing page, form and thank-you message. Follow up via email and include referral links, email forwarding and social sharing options in your signature.

Remember, clients appreciate a job well done. Make things easy for them, and they’ll be happy to send more referrals your way.