Referrals are a great way to generate leads, but asking for them requires a bit of finesse. Here are five tips to help you score recommendations to boost your business.

1. Do good work first. Referrals are earned, so you have to create an excellent customer experience every time. While you can mention you’d like to ask for one once the work is done, don’t officially ask until the transaction is complete and you know the customer is satisfied.

2. Make sure clients know the value of a referral. Let your clients know how important they are to your business. You’re not looking for random contacts to bombard with a sales pitch; you’re looking for prospects with a genuine interest in your products and services — people you can help.

3. Develop a script to find your comfort zone. If you’re nervous about asking for referrals, preparing what you want to say ahead of time can help. For example, you could say, “I’m so happy you’re pleased with my work. I would greatly appreciate it if you could recommend me to your friends and family or anyone else who would be interested in my services.” If you’re asking for recommendations via email, a similar template can be created, with email forwarding, social sharing and referral links included.

4. Make the process easy. Landing pages and forms can be used to capture referral business online via email, your website and social media. Offline materials may include business cards, prepaid postcards and mail-in forms.

5. Remember to follow up with referrals. Follow up in a timely fashion. Use your CRM software to set follow-up reminders and develop a routine. It will allow you to strike while the iron is hot and bring about more leads.