Here’s part 3 of our series on ineffective ways to ask for referrals. You can also view the previous parts: part 1,   part 2.

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Here’s part 2 of our multi-part series on ineffective ways to ask for referrals. To see part 1, click here.


If you’ve seen our other blog posts on referral marketing, you’ve heard us hammer two points over and over: 1) referrals are the most effective lead generation activity, and 2)  if you want more referral business, you have to ask for it.

Most people simply don’t ask for referrals. If you do ask for referrals, we salute you for your efforts. You are among the few that actually ask.

In our experience, those that do ask, do it in a way that doesn’t produce many referrals. We call it the if-then request. It goes something like this:

“Tom, if you run into anyone who could use my services (or products), then please let me know or have them call me.”

Usually, Tom will respond, “Sure, I’ll be glad to,” or “I can’t think of anyone right now, but I’ll keep you in mind.”

The person who did the asking usually feels really good that he made an effort and that he got an “encouraging” response from Tom. So why do we say that this request for referrals is ineffective?

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