Celebrations in Cusco and how to ask for referrals from friendsIt’s easy to get referrals, until you realise your best placed business contacts are friends. Have you ever felt awkward, or wondered how to ask for referrals from friends? This article will help you with how to ask for referrals and get more referrals from friends

What should I do? How to ask for referrals from friends?

It’s a great question, that many people face, I was recently asked it by an excellent lawyer. She had many business contacts who had become friends over time. Now she faced a quandary, she was expected to get referrals; but didn’t know how to ask for referrals from friends without feeling bad.

The trouble is that on one hand you know that they could help….on the other you don’t want to push “good friends”.

What to consider when deciding how to ask for referrals from friends

How to ask for referrals from friends may be easier if you consider:

  • Assessing or re-assessing the line between friend and colleague.
  • Being in the position to ask for referrals, without it seeming mercenary
  • Prioritising, so that you focus on those most likely to help.

The boundary between friend and colleague

I wouldn’t want to upset my friends by badgering them, in case it damaged the friendship. Where you draw the line is a personal decision. Each of us have to make a judgement about who we will, and won’t ask.

However, I have noticed that more people veer on the side of not asking, even though the other person would be happy if they did.

The reticence is often in the mind of the requester, rather than the friend. If the friendship has developed from a business connection, there’s a business relationship. How to ask for referrals from business colleagues might be easier than asking friends. Maybe reminding yourself that they’re originally business colleagues will help.

Asking, without being mercenary

To pick up the phone and ask may not be the best option. To move on and turn chit chat into business chat and then asking is a better option. There are a couple of things that often help:

  • Talk more regularly
  • Always be on the lookout for ways in which you can help them
  • Look out for referrals for them
  • Introduce them to people in your network who they would benefit from meeting

The world is changing, and marketing your firm along with it. Download a free copy of the seven new realities of marketing for professional service firms , it's free and waiting for you to download right nowClick here for instant access (email address required).

Focus and maintenance of the right relationships

I’ve worked with several people on the Excedia 5 level relationship model. The word that comes back very often is focus. It helps people to focus on the important and “likely to pay off” relationships. If you want to improve the way you’re strategically managing relationships, click here.

Getting more referrals

If you want more referrals, and don’t always want to ask friends, think more about your networking. You may find “10 safe and easy ways for asking for referrals from your network” very useful.

How do you go about asking friends for referrals, do you always feel comfortable?

Written by Jon Baker The 5-50 Coach. I help professionals grow their firms from 5 to 50 employees, sustainably, profitably and still have fun. Have you got your "next step kitbag yet"? It's stuffed with guides, reports & templates helping you grow from 5 to 50 employees Click here for immediate access