The hardest thing to do in our society is ask and the reason it must be hard is that so few people do it.
When I’m coaching a client in their career, part of the creative job search process (download PDF) is to:
“Phone call, email, mail a letter and/or take a visit to follow-up. Very important. My experience is that only about 1-2% of job-applicants do this. It is very easy to bring your name to the top of the list if you just do a follow-up call. Don’t be afraid of being persistent! Call 4-5 days after sending résumé. In the phone call say, “This is Ree Markable. I’m following up on a recent letter and résumé. I know what your company does and really think I could add to your success. When can we get together and talk?” You’ll be surprised how frequently people will say, “Why don’t you come by tomorrow at 2:00?”
But that’s for your career. What about your company, or organization?
Do you follow-up? Do you ask? Not follow-up to sell something, but just to know. Just to find out. Just to double-check. Just to ask. Just to make things right if they were amiss or make things remarkable if they were just merely good.
The local restaurant knows your phone number. Why not have the owner call you the next day just to ask?
The doctor knows your number. Why not call a week later to see how that broken finger is mending?
The accountant knows your number. Why not check in to see if the taxes went out the door okay?
If you really want to generate those referrals, and have your reputation spread like a forest fire on a windy day in a very, very positive way, don’t ask for a referral, use the power of asking if everything was great. Offer to help. Do the follow-up, but most importantly, do it in a gentle way, with no strings attached, no additional add-ons, no sales pitch.
If you really and truly care, why not ask? Don’t use a form, don’t’ use a survey. Just one caring, genuine, and authentic person, asking. Not that hard, actually.