Your customers don’t provide referrals because it’s a risk to their credibility. Remove the credibility risk, and your referrals will follow.

As an entrepreneur I imagined my user count would grow by leaps and bounds as soon as my happy customers started providing referrals. However, when it came time to start providing referrals, my customers kept saying they would, but didn’t follow through.

At first, I assumed my customers weren’t providing referrals because they were lazy. Thus, I spent a bunch of time nagging my customers. Guess what? No referrals.

Then I assumed the problem was that my customers had no idea what to say for the referral. So I spent a bunch of time creating a referral message my customers could use. Guess what? Still no referrals.

Then I got wise and asked one of my favorite customers why he wouldn’t refer me - and he told me the answer. “Igor, I won’t refer you because when I refer you it’s my credibility on the line.”

So there it is. The three reasons your customers aren’t referring you are:

A. The work of doing the referral B. The message to give to the person to be referred C. The risk to the credibility of the person providing the referral.

And in case you’re confused, the order in which to tackle these problems is C, B, A. Future posts will talk about how to minimize credibility risk.