Low-Pressure Ways to

Respectfully Ask Your Network for Referrals – Part 2


Before you actually deploy a referral campaign, you need to setup some basic structure for what you expect to happen and how to respond.


Before the Ask:

Prepare for Engagement with Referrals

When someone wants to send you a referral, what steps should they take? How should they contact you or tell people to reach you? You’re requesting help with your business from people who are not part of that business. As you compose The Ask, consider the fastest way for people to send you referrals. Make it simple, clear, and easy to do. This increases the likelihood they will say “Yes” and gives them guidance for how to help.


What will you do once someone gets in touch with you? Are you ready to actually receive a referral? BEFORE asking for referrals, make sure the right components are in place so you’re ready to maximize the opportunity. Remember to have at least a minimal plan for how to get them started on the Client Journey.


1. Sites, socials, and contact medium prepared for incoming engagement

Wherever you want referrals to land, you should have this space setup prior to asking for the referral. Your credibility suffers when a referral ends up at your unfinished Contact Me page, unprofessional voicemail message, ignored email account, etc.

Beyond setup, take the time to walk through each step yourself, as if you were a referral following instructions. Be sure everything is connected, flows into the next logical action, and entices the audience to continue. Even better, ask a friend or two to do a test run through to find gaps. This part may seem obvious, but is easily overlooked. You need all the credibility you can get before inviting potential clients to interact with your business.


2. Craft a concise description of the problem you solve

A 5-7 word description of the main problem you solve should be ready for you to share with your support network. They need to know your specialty to make productive referrals.

I’ve previously mentioned how briefly explaining the benefits of your product should be the core of your pitch, however, your network won’t be delivering your pitch. They’ll be listening out for signals that they should mention you. The most common signal they will hear is someone mentioning a problem. Help them make that connection as quickly as possible.


3. Craft a brief description of your ideal client

A clear, yet broad description of the audience and industry you serve alerts your support network to the kind of people who might be a potential client. It is tempting to be specific, but that requires your network to do a lot of vetting and filtering, which is a heavier burden and not their skillset. Remain general and be prepared to qualify the leads yourself.

Remember, instead of training your network to be unpaid salespeople, you want them to be opportunity collectors. They will sometimes send opportunities that don’t fit, but that is because they are not deeply familiar with your business. That’s okay. You want to cast a wide net because you don’t want your network to mistakenly filter out someone who would be a great fit with your work. Your network’s job is to identify possibilities. Your job is to vet those possibilities and walk them toward conversion. Keep that top-of-mind as you craft The Ask.


4. Simple, low-effort call-to-action

Keeping the request low-pressure includes focusing your ask on a single, easy task. Which of these two asks could you easily remember and follow through on?  

Ask #1

Can you help me build my business by resharing one of my LinkedIn posts when someone you know mentions a recruiting problem?

Ask #2

Can you help me build my business by resharing my LinkedIn posts, hitting the ‘like’ button, commenting on the post, and telling people about my recruiting services?

Remember, you can have multiple asks deployed across many people, so avoid piling too many requests on each person. For example, your past coworkers could be asked to reshare relevant social media posts, while close colleagues in your field could be asked to comment on those posts. Family members could be asked to share your business card while acquaintances could be asked to share an invitation to a free webinar.

By distributing The Asks across different groups of people, you won’t feel pressured to ask anyone to do an excessive amount of work. Give people simple tasks and they are more likely to remember and follow through, which is your goal. You can always make exceptions for people who eagerly volunteer to help you do multiple tasks.


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

Before the Ask: Identify members of network to contact

Back to the overview Low-Pressure Ways to Respectfully Ask Your Network for Referrals

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