I think that most salespeople would agree that the fastest, best, and most sustainable way to build your business is by asking for referrals. Yet, having surveyed 5,000 of our clients on why they were not asking for referrals on a consistent basis, two-thirds of them said they haven’t gotten into the habit of doing it and the other third of them said they were concerned they would sound salesy, pushy, or desperate.

So, if you are overly concerned about how your clients will perceive you when you ask them for a referral, you don’t need to worry about that any more. You will never have to ask them for a referral, all you need to do is ask them for their advice.

So, why is this strategy so effective? Here is what I have learned. Many people like to be asked for advice and many people like to give advice; because, it makes them feel good about themselves.

When I get asked for advice, I take it as a compliment. I develop a greater affinity and a liking for that person. When I give them my advice, I become more vested in their success and want to be kept in the loop on how they carried out the advice I gave them.

Building your business through referrals is a way to grow your business with the highest degree of velocity, especially if you are duplicating your best clients. There is a high degree of probability, due to the law of similarity, that your clients affiliate and assimilate with other people that are similar to themselves.

It might sound something like this, “Clyde, thank you for your business.  Do you have a few minutes to give me some advice?

I would like to build my business with people that are similar to you. What advice would you give me on how to meet people like you?

  • Where do they get together?
  • What clubs, groups, or associations do you belong to?
  • Besides you, who are the three or four most successful people in your personal network?”

I have been fortunate in my life to have great clients and have asked many of them for their advice. What I have found is that one of four things typically happens. They coach me on how to meet more people like themselves; they invite me to come with them to an event; they ask me to come speak at an event; or, they give me a name.

What to do? Ask five of your best clients for advice on how you can meet more people that are just like them. The time is now.