Insight of The Day

Do You REALLY Want To Ask for a Referral?

Executive Speed Read

Referrals are the lifeblood of most coaches, consultants and professional advisors.  But if you’re feeling a bit ‘referral anemic’ this post offers an alternative that does the same thing as a referral but is a helluva lot easier to ask for from other people!

Business people — especially revenue-responsible business people — have long been told that asking for referrals is a key to success.  It’s true.  Referrals are associated with successful individuals who sell products and services. But that admonition needs some clarification.

As noted in other posts, asking someone for a referral can be problematic for a number of reasons.  This is especially true if your service addresses problems people aren’t likely to know they have or acknowledge publicly to others.

Inbound Referrals . . . Someone’s Asking Someone for a Referral
People Sharing Information
A referral made to you implies someone has recognized a need for the service or benefit you offer.  These are called ‘inbound’ referrals.  These are initiated by someone being referred to you and fulfilled through someone who knows, likes and trusts you.  When these are made — and received — celebrate them!

Outbound Referrals . . . You’re Asking Someone for a Referral
When you’re asking someone for a referral to someone they know, that’s an outbound referral.  And when you request one, there’s a good risk they either won’t know someone who needs what you do, OR they may know someone who needs what you do, but they won’t be comfortable ‘judging’ someone as needing the kind of service, product or program you offer.

Ask for an Introduction . . . Instead of a Referral
When you ask for an introduction, it relieves your source from knowing if someone needs your valuable services or judging someone as needing what you do. Removing these two issues from the referral equation will increase your likelihood of getting to the people you want through the people who know, like and trust you.


Seek Introductions because they are easier for your sources to provide. Celebrate referrals being made to you as an incentive to generate even more.

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