In addition to simply informing your targeted referral sources that you are looking for new clients, there are a few other items that you can include in your meeting which will make your contacts feel more comfortable with referring their associates to your service. One of the most important issues to cover is explaining exactly how you plan on using any referrals that your clients, associates and friends might be able to provide.
The top reason that many professionals are uncomfortable with giving out referrals for some services is that they had encountered problems in the past by referring a colleague to someone who either failed to deliver or endlessly hounded him in order to close a sale. By providing the top members of your network with a clear explanation of exactly how you will follow up with their referrals, you will find that they will be much more likely to give a referral to their most important and influential colleagues.
At the same time, it is also important to manage the referral expectation amongst your professional network by following up with your contacts to let them know how their referrals have worked out. Not only does this help encourage your friends and associates to continue recommending your professional services to their contacts, it also lets them know that you take their referrals seriously and will give their contacts the care and attention that they deserve.
If a colleague provides you with a referral that turns into a new client, be sure to show your appreciation with a personalized gift or discount on their next purchase. When your contacts give out referrals to contacts that are not appropriate for the services that you have to offer, simply follow up with them to let them know how the referral turned out so that they will have a better idea of what to look for in the future.