The #1 Most Devastating Mistake When Asking For Referrals

This referral tip will stop you anhialating your already good customer/client relationships and ultimately make you more money!

That is at least partly why you are in business right? To earn good money?

Earning great money seems to be a dirty word in some circles. Yes, I agree business is far more than that. It has to have a vision bigger than itself be to be really truly successful too.

But let’s be honest and acknowledge there for a moment…

Business owners are the lifeblood of the economy. We employ people and hopefully also enhance lives.

And as such we deserve to be paid very well for it as well.

Do NOT Take This Referral Advice!

So in light of this, Well whatever you do, do not take the advice from this well respected online site and magazine. It will do you and your business more harm than good.

And it is really important you know what this ‘advice’ is, so you don’t go down this path…

I have just finished writing a morning email to my email list in my upstairs office and am grabbing a quick 10 minute break away from thinking. My coffee is ready.

I browse looking for business generation articles to see what’s new and open up entrepreneur magazine online. There is an article written by Ray Silverstein. The article is about generating referrals. Right up my alley…


What I see HORRIFIES me!









What I am reading is WRONG WRONG WRONG!

This Advice About Generating Referrals is Dangerous!

This advice will do more damage than good and it will squash any decent quality referral leads you were likely to generate.

This kind of TOXIC ‘advice’ is puked up all over the internet by ‘apparent’ referral ‘gooroos.

Now before I move on I want to explain, I like as a site. I think the contributors generally bring massive value. I respect the brand. But this is simply wrong and damaging advice. 

And, I wouldn’t mind betting that this type of referral system is NOT used in this way by the author. Becuase if it was tested nowadays, he would realise it doesn’t work.

This does not take into account whatsoever, what is ‘an essential’ for a referral mindset.

Which is about creating rapport and trust before you anything else, if you want to actually get high quality, high value referrals in any kind of volume.

What Silverstein of says:

“When you begin working with a new customer, make referrals part of your initial agreement. “If I do a great job for you–and I will–you agree to give me X number of referrals.” Chances are your customer will be impressed by your dedication and drive.”

He goes on to say…

Don’t feel sheepish about asking for referrals; there’s nothing pushy or smarmy about it. People won’t give you referrals unless you deserve them”

The first paragraph is flat out wrong. The second paragraph at is only partially true.

Allow me to elaborate if I may?

The first paragraph:

When you make it a condition of working with you, people feel pushed. Bullied almost. You are turning the relationship cold before it has a chance to warm up even.

Not everyone wants to refer you to other people.This is their right.  There is a much higher level of trust involved in referring someone. And because of this you need a completely different skillset.

A referral mindset ‘inspires’ people to ‘want’ to refer you new business.

Willingly. Because –  they want to.

Not because I have pushed you into agreeing to phone up granny for health insurance which she doesn’t want and already has anyway.

Second paragraph

The author is right about not being sheepish. Yes you should ask. At the right time only though. Asking at the right time will significantly improve your results.

However, asking for referrals IS smarmy when you push and bully people into giving you referrals,

Entrepreneur magazine goes go on to say …

“In fact, getting a referral is the highest compliment you can receive. Let your customers know you prize referrals, which you’ll earn by providing excellent quality products and services”


“Always be specific when asking for a referral. Looking for high net worth individuals? Say so. Interested in midsize companies? Let them know. If you don’t tell your contacts who your target customer is, you’ll waste time pursuing leads you can’t use.”

He also says:

“Ah, referrals. I can’t think of a more powerful selling tool.

It’s a fact: People would rather do business with people they know–or know of–than with strangers. When you’re introduced to a prospect through a personal recommendation, that prospect has a vastly higher comfort level than, say, a buyer you find through cold calling.

After all, few things are more reassuring than a positive endorsement from someone you know and trust.
So why is it that, while we all covet referrals, we don’t pursue them as much as we should? “

So here is my bent on asking for referrals

Referral marketing and selling is primarily about building trust. It is about nurturing the relationship. Not pushing it. You build rapport quickly first. 

The ultimate goal is for someone to WANT to refer you.

Referral Marketing and Sales are about trust and nurturing







When you ask for a referral right off the bat, it is like going up to someone you fancy, but don’t  know and saying to them in the first sentence…

“ If I buy you a drink and you are happy with the conversation, I want you to agree to sleep with me”

Not the best or most empathetic chat up line is it? 

In fact it is downright self-centered and will normally get you a slap rather than a knoodle!

There are many non-macho,intelligent and quiet feminine ladies who are strong in their own skin (which includes my own wife) who would tell you to F**K OFF if you said that.

…and perhaps rightfully so!

It is taking away choice and freedom.

You cannot force people to refer you








This leaves no space for you to ‘inspire a client to want to refer you’ 

The best time to ask for a referral then, is when a client feels grateful in some way. When they feel good about you are your offer.

There are ways you can ask open-ended questions to achieve this. This is more a ‘nurturing’ thing though, than a traditional sales type pushing thing.

Ancient Chinese wisdom & referrals

The ancient Chinese have a symbol of a circle like this.

The Energy Of Asking For A Referral Is More Feminine









It depicts yin and yang.

Masculine and feminine energy. It is about balance

You don’t have to believe in this philosophy to get this. Martial arts uses this symbol to to demonstrate the balance between required to use an opponent’s force against themselves.

There is a lot of common sense in this symbol.

Whereas sales is a lot about push, Yang  – or masculine energy…

…Referral sales are more about attract or Yin, feminine energy.

Referrals are about attracting clients







With referral selling you want people to ‘want’ to sell for you for free because they are willing to, and they feel good about it.

Not because they feel too embarrassed not to.

Poor prospects = poor results

Do you know what happens to people who make referrals a condition of working with them like this?

They get BAD referrals. They get poor Prospects.

People that are hard work and are less likley to buy from you .And, that are also bad fit for you and your business.So the close rate for converting these people to an actual sale is very low. 

And, getting referrals is less exciting, fulfilling and protitable than it will be when you learn how to do it the right way.

Here is the article on below.

<<<See what you think.>>>

“Getting ideal clients is the name-of-the-game.”

Referral marketing and sales are recognised as THE BEST WAY to achieve this.

Just make sure you ONLY  take advice from people who actually use referral marketing on a day-to-day basis…

Or you might do more harm to your business than good.

… and ultimately that will hurt your wallet.

Until next time

Barefoot “ Ying not Yang” Steve
” The business generator guy”

P.S. If this resonates with you, please do share it, so we can stop other people making the same mistake. And stop this kind of misadvice ruining our customer/client relationships. And ulitmately your business.


By Steven Cole

Steve Cole, also known as Barefoot Steve, the 'Referral Guy and 'The Business Generator', His passion is helping small business owners scale their business with simple, often low or no cost strategies that take very little time. Steve has built 6 different businesses with some up to 7 figures, all from the ground up. The strategies Steve shows are very direct and proven to work in the 'real-world' of business for himself and his clients. So any strategy, techqnique or philosophy he demonstrates, is based on real and measurable results. Everything he shows is steeped in integrity, so you can be assured that not only will this stuff work you, but it also aligns with your own values too. So you get ahead of your competition, your customers and clients will love what you do, and, you also get to feel great too.

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