Recently I spoke with a group from Lima, OH about how they could gain more referral business by narrowing their focus. I took them through a process that I developed about four years ago called the referral triangle. The triangle shape is positioned on the paper with the point at the bottom.
At the top is a request for do business with "anyone, everyone or someone." (that doesn't paint a picture for anyone trying to help!)
As the spaces get narrower each step down, the idea is to refine the request so at the end the last little pointed area is the request for a specific name.
One of the participants in the exercise, Sue, wanted to increase the referral business she receives from one specific doctor in the community. Guess what? Sitting right next to her today was the wife of that very doctor. While the wife said she didn't know how much she could help, at least there was a connection. Because the wife has an accounting business Sue had not thought of her as someone who had doctor connections.
It goes to show that the more specific you become with referral requests, the more likely it is to have a helpful offering.
What the most unusual connection you've made as a result of asking for a specific referral?