Friends, family can be referral sources

by MPA31 May 2016
Part II: I have read several of your answers about referrals. It seems like everyone is trying to sell me a referral based system. I realize that I need to get more referrals, but I don't know where to start. Can you give me some direction?

--Denise from New Jersey

Last week we set the stage to address this issue basically by saying referrals should be a way of life. Now we will delve into specifics by covering the importance of letting others know how they can help you and who you should ask. Our short answer is that you should ask everyone, but that would not be helpful. So let's take an example from your sphere. In this case we will cover your personal segment of the sphere – friends, family and neighbors. Many are reticent to ask for help from those they know. But if you read Stephen Covey's Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, he discusses the concept of an emotional bank account. Basically, these are the people that know you and should be willing to help you as you have helped them throughout your life.

Why are we reticent? There are two main reasons. First, we don't want to appear as "weak" to our close contacts. Secondly, we don't want to hammer them for business. In reality, asking for help is a sign of strength as we demonstrate how important our business is to us. And we don't need to hammer them for business. For example, your next-door neighbor is not going to buy another home because it would help you. We don't deal in Girl Scout cookies. But if they knew a real estate agent well, or perhaps a financial planner, would they introduce the two of you? The answer is yes. Thus, the big issue is that we don't ask for help and we don't define how they can help us. Your neighbor does not know you need to be introduced to financial planners or real estate agents. Next week, we will go through additional examples related to this concept.

--Dave Hershman

Dave Hershman has been the leading author and a top speaker for the industry for decades with six books authored and hundreds of articles published. His website is If you have a reaction to this commentary or another question you would like answered in this column? Email Dave directly at [email protected].