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Posted on Sun, Jan 8, 2012 : 6 a.m.

Asking for referrals: You can use your networking resources to make personal requests, too

By Greg Peters


So, could you recommend a good hotel in Mazatlan?

Photo by Heather Sorenson

This is part five in my series on asking for referrals. I'd recommend that you read the other parts, but you can probably get by without them.

Last time, we covered some of the other business referral requests we could make beyond asking for more clients. Today I want to remind you that networking isn't just for business. You can call upon your networking resources for personal reasons, too.

Here are a few ideas.

  • Doctors, dentists and other health experts. Of course, you can always just pick a name out of the phone book. Wouldn't it be nice, though, to have the recommendation of someone you trust before you open your mouth and say, "Ahhh"?
  • Vacation destinations. I'd guess you have more than a couple of inveterate travelers in your network. If you are planning a trip anywhere, you might mention it to your connections. You might be able to avoid some of the mistakes they made and see some sites you might otherwise have missed.
  • Household help. Last summer, Lisa and I lost power over a weekend. It sure would have been nice to know someone in my network who would have been willing to lend us a generator. You know I'll be asking around for next time.
  • Education. Whether it's a recommendations for a cooking class for yourself, or maybe your kids need a reference or two to attach to their college application forms, check your network. Remember, people love to help. Giving them an opportunity that doesn't involve becoming your client is a great way to make them feel indispensable in your life.
  • Advisors and mentors. This could easily have fallen under the business-related category, too. If you are trying to succeed in some goal in your life, whether personal or business, mention it in the course of your networking. Not only will you get the support of all of your friends, but you may discover someone else who has traveled the same path and would be willing to warn you about the challenges which lie in your way.

As with client referrals and other business requests, your best bet is to be as specific in your requests as possible. The more information you can provide to your connections, the better able they will be to help you.

Remember, networking is not just about business as usual. Properly nurtured, it can also be a force in your life which helps you reach your highest potential.

Next time, we'll have a brief review on some of the techniques of the actual process of asking for a referral. After all, it would be a shame to make a misstep and leave yourself worse off than if you hadn't bothered to ask at all.

Greg Peters, founder of The Reluctant Networker LLC, writes, speaks and coaches about good networking practice. For more tips that can help your connections count, go to