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How to Ask for Referrals (Without Looking Creepy)

by Bill Cates
How to Ask for Referrals (Without Looking Creepy!)

A subscriber to our weekly blog asked me this question, “How do I ask for referrals without looking like that ‘creepy referral guy’?”


While I had to laugh, I do understand this concern that many people have around asking for referrals (and I should really say “Introductions”).


2 Things You Can Do to Ask for Referrals without Looking Creepy, Pushy, or Desperate


1. Make the Request Fun

When you add a bit of humor to the process, everything gets easier, and more comfortable, for everyone involved. Without being silly or unprofessional, there are a number of ways to lighten the mood. Below are a few ideas:


  • Doug – a financial advisor in Omaha – says to his clients, “We’re just brainstorming here. First off, do you know any lottery winners?”  His clients laugh and then he says, “No worries. When you hit it big, you know I’m here for you. In the meantime, I have a few ideas I’d like to run by you.”
  • One advisor from Canada invented a game he called “Referral Tic Tac Toe” where he had clients fill in a grid of possible introductions.  Okay, this might seem a little over the top … but it worked for him!
  • If you’re using LinkedIn to identify a few folks connected to your clients, you can have some fun by saying, “If you got the feeling that someone was stalking you on your LinkedIn page, you’re right. It was me.”



Want more specific tips, techniques and strategies for acquiring more ideal clients using Linkedin?

On October 10th, I’ll be teaming up with Claire Akin, president of Indigo Marketing Agency, to bring to you a complimentary webinar on how to use LinkedIn to grow your business. CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

DATE:  October 10
TIME:  12:00pm Eastern, 11:00am Central, 10:00am Mountain, 9:00am Pacific


If you prefer to watch rather than read, check out this video to learn more about how to ask for referrals without pushing or begging:

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2. Make it About Your Why


The “I” in our V.I.P.S. Method™ stands for “Treat the Request with IMPORTANCE.”  We want to treat the request with importance because we want to bring confidence to the process. When we are confident in the process, that confidence transfers to our clients.

The best way to treat the request with importance is to make it about your belief in the value you bring to others.

After the Value Discussion (The “V” in the V.I.P.S. Method™), you might say something like, “I’m glad you see the value in the work we’ve been doing together. As I mentioned when we first met, I’m on a bit of a mission to bring this process to others. I was hoping we could brainstorm for a minute to see if we might be able to identify a few folks you think should at least know about the important work that I do. I have a couple of people in mind – folks you’ve mentioned in the past. Can I run them by you, to see if you might feel comfortable making an introduction?”

As my friend Rory Vaden says, “It’s hard to be nervous, when your heart’s in service.”

Be genuine. Have fun. Make it about the belief in your value.


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