4 great times to ask for referrals

by Rob Brown on November 30, 2011 · 2 comments

Let’s talk about referrals. They are the lifeblood of your business. You know you need them and hopefully you’re good enough to deserve them. But you don’t ask for them!

One of the four main reasons you don’t get referrals is you’re not entirely sure of the best and worst times to ask. There are critical moments of truth when you have a ‘green light’ to ‘go for it!’

When you’re building your business by referral, you can undo all of your great positioning and relationship building work by asking at the wrong time. So here are four of my favourite, really good, safe times to ask:

  1. After You’ve Given Them a Lead or Referral. Be constantly thinking about what kind of introductions they want. Ask who would make a good customer, client or introduction for them. When you can pass business their way, you obligate them subconsciously into reciprocating.
  2. When They Have Been Particularly Demanding. If they have been over the top, make sure you leave them under no illusions that you’re putting yourself out. You can do this in a nice and professional way, as long as you do it. And it’s a great time to ask for something in return.
  3. After They’ve Moved the Goal Posts. When they change their minds, change criteria, change deals or change moods, you are in a good position to ask for something in return. They may well be feeling a little sheepish or bad for messing you around or making those changes. It gives you the leverage to ask.
  4. After a Meeting. Sometimes, as you are packing up your things after a good meeting, drop in a simple ‘By the way, I was meaning to ask you about a business development issue I’ve got. You’ve got a pretty good network. Who do you know who might …?’

If you don’t ask people, you’ve got to be pretty good to get referrals.

Rob Brown
Rob Brown is an expert on making more money from business networking, online and face to face. He loves working with people who want to network for more sales, referrals or career opportunities, Rob’s books, coaching and dynamic talks have helped clients such as GE, HSBC and a range of speakers, leaders and business owners. A regular media contributor, Rob is founder of the Global Networking Council (the world’s top 200 networking thought leaders, authors and gurus) and author of the bestselling book How to Build Your Reputation. For a free copy of Rob’s Networking Follow Up Checklist – 45 tips to Turn Your Business Cards into Business, go to www.therobbrown.com/nwfu-check-signup

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Val Williams December 3, 2011 at 13:59

Great article! Sometimes we need the reminders to ask for referrals when we have exceeded the expectation of our clients.

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Rob Brown December 5, 2011 at 11:09

Appreciate the comment Val. Referrals seem to be be simplest thing in the world but few people really understand how to get them. As the lifeblood of many people’s businesses, a little education goes a long way in. That’s why I do lots of Pocket Guides around networking and referrals – to give people the tips, scripts and coaching they need to master these vital business building skills!

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