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Why Are We So Afraid To Ask For Referrals?

A quick Google search for “how to get referrals” yielded 57.6 million results. With such a large number of sources on how to get referrals, you probably are asking why we need another article on referrals.

We need this information because it’s important to understand that most agents and financial advisors suffer from “Referral Aversion Sales Call Reluctance.” They fear that asking for referrals will offend their clients or jeopardize their relationship with them.

What do you think about asking for and receiving referrals? Most satisfied clients are willing to provide you with the names of other people to call on. In fact, many will actively endorse you and your product or service if given the chance, and most expect to be asked for referrals. So why are we afraid to ask for them?

We need to overcome Referral Aversion Sales Call Reluctance because it disables the bridge to the next sale. Every time you hesitate to ask for a referral, you increase the association between asking for a referral and the resulting unpleasant sensation. Soon a self-destructive habit is born.
Four energy blocks keep salespeople from asking for referrals:

» Limited beliefs. This is the idea that clients will be offended if salespeople ask for referrals.

» Perception. Salespeople believe they need to prove themselves to their clients before clients will feel comfortable referring them to others.

» Assumptions. Salespeople expect their clients to get angry when they ask for
referrals. They may even fear that clients will throw them out of the office.

» Their inner critic. Salespeople doubt that their clients will have anyone to refer to them.

What is the negative thought that keeps you from asking for referrals? You need to deal with this question because your freedom from Referral Aversion Sales Call Reluctance lies in identifying the specific energy blocks that keep you from asking.

Shifting Your Mindset
Here are five tips to help shift your mindset about asking for and receiving more referrals:

[1] Starting today, give at least three referrals a day in situations where there is no payoff for you other than creating goodwill. Place three quarters in a pile on your desk. Let this pile be your visual reminder of how many people you’ve helped. Every time you give a referral or share a resource to help someone else, remove one quarter from the pile. Your aim is to remove all three quarters every day. Do this five days a week over the next three months. Then notice how many genuine referrals come your way and how much more business you are closing. In fact, agents who struggle the most tend to be those who don’t give referrals or share resources.

[2] Ask for the referral. It is naive to believe that just because you did a good job for someone, he will automatically refer you to others. Most clients are not naturally inclined to refer “just because.” So in order to receive, we must ask.

[3] Describe your ideal prospect. One of my clients typed up a sheet that reads: “When you hear people say ‘__________,’ please introduce them to me. For example, watch out for anyone who is expecting a baby, learned that his company is downsizing, sent their last kid off to college, etc.” How many of these can you come up with? Draft some conversations that are both serious and humorous.

[4] Ask for referrals slowly, and give your clients time to consider and respond appropriately. Pace yourself and allow your clients to visualize the people they might refer to you. Ask them questions like, “Who do you know who is thinking about retirement?” Let the client scan his brain’s database and visualize people whose names he can give you.

[5] Ask the client: “How many people do you know who would benefit from sitting down with me?” Most salespeople ask their clients whether they know anyone, which is a closed-ended question. When asked that question, the client’s brain automatically goes to “Yes, I do” or “No, I don’t.”


Connie Kadansky, PCC, is a sales call reluctance coach and trainer. Connie may be contacted at connie. [email protected] [email protected].

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