The Right Way to Ask For, and Get, Referrals

Asking a client for a referral is no big deal. Provided the timing is right, there’s no reason to worry that you’ll look pushy, presumptuous, or out of place. To boost your chances of success, however, it’s important to know just how to ask.

For example, if you just blurt out “Do you know anyone who could use my services?” with all the sensitivity of a masochistic game show host, what answer are you likely to get?

“Ohhh… mmmmm… no.”

Asking the question in that manner puts your client on the spot. It makes her brain lock up. End of conversation.

Instead, ease into it. Use very casual, but courteous, language to make a very specific request. Something like this:

“Referrals are the primary way I grow my business. And since you’re happy with the way this project has turned out, I wonder if I can ask you for the names of three people who might have a need for my services, either now or sometime in the future. Would that be okay?”

Every happy client will say “Certainly.” And then you ask for the three names. You may only get two names, or one, but consider this: If you ask 15 people for three names, and you get an average of two names each time, that’s 30 potentially warm prospects placed right in your lap!

[Ed Note: This great tip comes from Pete Savage’s new book, The Wealthy Freelancer: 12 Secrets to a Great Income and an Enviable Lifestyle, which Michael Masterson describes as “… chock full of useful, profitable ideas. Written by pros, this book is an excellent tool for anyone who wants better clients and a higher income.”

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