Since it’s generally easier to sell to a referral, because someone they know gave positive testimonial about you and/or your product or service, wouldn’t it be great to get more referrals? Let’s see how the pros set up a revolving door for their referrals.

ASK: Direct Mail
Include a “PS” at the bottom of a letter mailed to your readers or send a simple postcard asking for referrals. Marketer Bob Leduc, an expert in postcard marketing, creates mini-newsletters on postcards. People can read more if they click online or request reports. And Leduc reports that over 95% of people look at postcards. A quick glance is easy to attract with even simple creations from a home computer. You can create a little ad about yourself and your product, then insert a balloon or Red Tag Special graphic with the words: Pssst – tell your friends! Or “Pass this along to your neighbor!”

Have scripts ready for all occasions and referral cards and writing tools handy so that you can ask for referrals. Then you’ll know what to say to readers, business associates, friends, clients, etc…who call during the day.

During Appointments
Have referral cards and writing tools ready when people come into your office or for when you go elsewhere for appointments. Have them out and in the open for IMMEDIATE use. For example, the moment your visitor begins to speak, say something like, “ Oh, my new book is being released next month. Can you jot a couple names down here of people you think might be interested in a copy? I have bookmarks to mail out for them." 

Conduct surveys either online, by e-mail, fax, via regular postal mail or telephone and ask for referrals. First focus on an area for your survey to cover. For instance, you could inform your prospects that you have a book about to be released and would like their input for future editions.

Then choose a method or a couple of methods to conduct your survey. For example, you can conduct your survey by placing a poll online with help from Yahoo Groups! Or design your own online form on a page of your website.

Reward / Incentive
Offer something in exchange for referrals; a free bookmark, booklet or eBook. Or create a gift basket and fill it with all those samples of soap, toothpaste, dishwashing liquid and detergent that arrived in your mailbox last year along with a copy of your book and host a drawing. There are all kinds of items to give away in all budget ranges.

Become an expert
Get your name out there – speak at community events, business luncheons, organization meetings, etc. That survey you took can make you an expert in that area. Get your name out there and share the results. Then hand out your referral incentive plan, referral cards, business cards, etc. during your presentation. Have packages of information that include these items on hand.

Free Giveaways
Conduct free seminars about your services (writing, freelancing, home business, etc.) at public libraries or meeting facilities. Give away what you can – free brochures, bookmarks, postcards with your book cover and contact info, etc. Hand out business cards with free tips on the back or something free that prospects would like (calendar, holiday list, etc.) 

So polish up your prose and become a pro at asking for referrals. You'll hear that "cha-ching!" as sales ring up and your income increases.

Diana Barnum is president of Moving Ahead Communications, a company that offers marketing, public relations & freelance writing services. She teaches a 4-week course called, “Marketing and Public Relations Using Computers for Writers” at Word Museum at  . She has a new book coming out at - - -have any referrals?