A Different Way to Ask for referrals

by PAUL CASTAIN on MARCH 8, 2011

Perhaps the lowest hanging of the low hanging fruit is the referral and yet we don’t ask for them nearly enough!

I’m sure there are a variety of reasons for this ranging from “feeling funny asking the dude/dudette” to not having a good way to ask.

Today, we shall tackle both!

My Dad taught me something years ago, that I never forgot. He told me that everyone likes the feeling of being respected enough to be asked for suggestions on:

A cool restaurant

A book or resource

An opinion on something

And yes, other people to do business with! Why? Because it sort of gives that person an ego jolt. It tells them their perspective matters!

It makes them an authority, even if just for that moment!

File that one away just in case you ever feel funny asking.

Next, you need to understand something about the moment you ask for a referral. When you ask someone for a referral they have mucho other things they are thinking about and quite frankly, they don’t have you, your company and more importantly, who they know on the brain.

That’s why you have to jog their memory!

Here’s how it works. Go ahead and ask for the referral any way that you wish. I’m not here to change that. I would simply suggest that you jog their memory by suggesting Groups Of People. Why? Because it’s a much more logical sequence for the brain to process than trying to access 150 or more people in their world.

By suggesting a group, their mind starts to think of everyone who falls into that group.
Here’s how I do it:

Neil (make sure their name is Neil or you will piss them off) Is there anyone you can think of that could also benefit from the types of services I offer? Friends, perhaps someone you do business with, a golfing buddy?

I suggest 3 different groups because the mind can process things really well in 3’s!

Note: This requires some Pre Call or Pre Referral Planning on your part. You need to think about the best “3″ for this client.

Perhaps they are really active on Linkedin or a sports enthusiast. Perhaps they belong to several organizations, have a large family. Think about your client and where you can get the most bang for your referral buck!

Ok, that brings us to a rather “Sales 101” moment, but its worth mentioning. Hopefully, you agreed with my Dad’s philosophy about people feeling good about referring people. To that end we must anchor that behavior! We can do it by obviously showing immediate gratitude in the form of both a verbal and written thank you! We can give a sincere compliment about how well our contact is networked. (kind of strokes the ego, doesn’t it?)

But wait, there’s more. We should not only take exceptional care of the referral, we need to talk up (sincerely) the person who referred us and keep them posted on the progress!

The final advice I have for you comes from an old boss of mine who I will not dignify by writing his name, because quite frankly, he under paid me and jerked me around, but I digress. He used to tell me, every time I’d bring home the bacon:

“Like I always say Paulie. If you don’t ask, you don’t get”

So here’s to asking gang. Sometimes you just have to embrace the side of the brain that says “What the heck?”

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