Good article written by Paul McCord as it appears on MarketingProfs.com:
One of the critical parts of generating a large number of quality
referrals is, of course, getting quality referrals, as opposed to just
getting names and phone numbers. Often, when a sales professional asks clients for referrals, clients
respond that they either cannot think of anyone or that they do not
know anyone who wants or needs the salesperson’s products or services.
You can assure yourself of getting quality referrals if you take the
time to learn who your client knows prior to asking for referrals. If
you know who your client knows, or probably knows, you can suggest
potential referrals to your client.
How do you discover who your client knows? During the course of the
sale you need to be aware of everything you can learn about your
client. Does he or she have signs of membership in organizations in
their office or home? Are there bumper stickers on their car?
Photographs that might indicate involvement in organizations or clubs?
Has the client referred to a meeting or some other indicator of
involvement? Can you gather information about past employment, other
vendors, or customers?