Low-Pressure Ways to

Respectfully Ask Your Network for Referrals – Part 1


Now that you know how critical referrals are for finding paying clients, do you feel comfortable asking your network for business? No? That’s ok, you’re in the right place! You don’t have to be an aggressive salesperson to get clients, but you do need to create a sales process that fits your personality and values. The first batch of clients for a solopreneur consultancy should come from referrals. Those referrals will come from your network so you’ll need a strategy for delivering the ask in a referral campaign.


I created this series of Briefs to guide you through the creation of low-pressure and no-pressure asks that don’t make you feel gross. The key is to ask for small actions that are simple and cost-free for your connections. This means they can help quickly and you don’t feel guilty posing an unreasonable ask.


Common business tactics assume the need to bribe people for assistance, but many people find joy in being helpful. Your task is to use low-pressure requests to communicate 1) ways to be helpful, 2) the simplest steps to arrive there, and 3) appropriate gratitude for the help. These instructions support just one component of a 3-pronged Referral Engine that all solopreneurs should include in their Client Acquisition Strategy.


Before the Ask

Before you jump to The Ask, though, you need to prepare! In addition to what you ask – who you ask, when you ask, and how you ask makes all the difference. Requesting referrals when you aren’t ready to actually serve clients can make you look unprofessional. Asking for labor-intensive work to be done by distant acquaintances can make you look demanding or entitled. Matching the right ask to the right audience and opportunity is critical to success with your referral campaign.

The first Briefs in this series highlight how to be optimally prepared before deploying a referral campaign:


Boosting the Ask

Another preparation for posing The Ask is to punch it up. Make it the most effective ask so that you can get the best results. You’re here because you want to make a respectful ask and that takes conscientious effort. Being thoughtful means considering a few points that will make your ask more personal and more relevant to your audience. That helps boost their motivation to follow through, which is your goal. Quality over quantity is the name of the game at this stage.

The second set of Briefs in this series highlight ways to optimize your messaging strategy during your referral campaign:


Ask Options

The core tactics you came here for are The Asks. The previous guidance helps you create the right context and foundation. The situational grounding to optimize The Ask. Each of these requests serve multiple purposes for your business, though the main structure focuses on soliciting referrals and generating leads for you to pursue.

P.S. If you got excited about reading these before the other Briefs, consider going back and reading about good preparation for referral campaigns first. It’s entirely up to you. I just want to make sure your business building efforts are as successful as possible. Make every little bit count!

The final set of Briefs in this series highlight a few referral campaign strategies along with tactical details:

  1. Ask for feedback on your business idea
  2. Ask for shares of relevant opportunities
  3. Ask for boosts of social media posts
  4. Ask for mentions during relevant encounters
  5. Ask for warm hand-offs


Let’s take a look at the first step in referral campaign preparation…

Before the Ask: Prepare for engagement with referrals

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