Most people find this painful. But what I learned is, it works. No matter how much people love you, sometimes they will forget to refer you unless they’re reminded. And, no matter how badly you botch the asking, they’re more likely to refer you afterwards.
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.
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. 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.
One last thought: Always thank someone who has given you a referral. Send them a note, keep them informed of your progress and maybe even treat them to lunch.
The referral is the number-one tool in your tool kit. Get in the habit of reaching for it often--say, as often as you might glance at your watch.