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Effortless Networking A Better Way to ask for Referrals

By: Sri Dasgupta

Do you know how to ask for what you want in a way that gets you results, especially when it comes to asking for referrals?

When asking anyone for anything, there are 5 key elements to keep in mind (and use). When you do, it dramatically increases your chances of getting what you want.

One of these elements is making sure that the person you're asking, is willing and able to do what you want. And this is one of the things most people often overlook, when asking for referrals.

Think about the last time you asked someone for a referral.

  • Did you check first to see if he or she was willing and able to give you the kind of referral(s) you wanted?
  • Either way, did you get what you wanted? Why or why not?

Well, here's an example of how you can apply the concept of verifying someone is willing and able to do what you want, when asking for a referral.

Let's say you have a "lead" that you think is a good prospect for you.

This "lead" could be a person or an organization. And since it's a "lead", it means that you probably don't know each other. So any conversation you have with them would have to start with a cold call. (For the difference between leads and referrals, look for my article on this topic.)

Now, let's also say that you think one of your long-time customers may know this lead. So you approach this long-time customer for help. (By the way, this is another good example of networking -- leveraging existing relationships.)

Ideally, you want this customer to refer you to the "lead", so you can avoid a cold call.

But you start with a small, manageable request: you simply ask whether your customer knows the lead.

If yes, you make another small request: would your customer be willing to share some information about this lead based on their working relationship, so you can decide whether this lead is a good fit for your products/services.

Through these incremental questions and conversation, you gradually work your way up to your final question: would your customer be willing to introduce you to this lead? And when doing so, also explain to the lead why he or she was making the introduction?

At this stage, if your customer agrees, you've accomplished several things:

  • you've converted a "lead" into a "referral",
  • you've avoided a cold call, and
  • you've greatly increased your chances of actually talking with this referral.

You may have also acquired useful information from your customer about this prospect, which you can use to your advantage during your conversation with the prospect.

If you notice, throughout this example, you asked for very specific and "manageable" things, and each time you checked in to make sure the person was in a position to give you those specific things. And in the end, these small, incremental requests added up to getting you exactly what you wanted.

This is just one example.

However, you can probably see that the same principle can be easily applied to any conversation or situation.

Sri Dasgupta - EzineArticles Expert Author

(c) Copyright 2006, Srirupa Dasgupta

Sri Dasgupta helps business professionals get better results from their business networking efforts. She is the author of the Effortless Networking, and writes regular articles offering business networking tips and related resources.

I hope that you have found useful this article on Effortless Networking A Better Way to ask for Referrals

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