I realized just how powerful a referral can be when my friend Amanda Marsh called to ask for my help. It was exactly one week before the 4th of July holiday weekend, and she urgently needed a surveyor in order to close on the house she and her husband Alex wanted to buy. I thought about her request. Then I spent a few minutes choosing the right words, selected the right people, and sent an email to those 21 people from my contact list. The email was simple:

Subject Header: Need Surveyor in Westchester Immediately

“Dear friends and colleagues,

This is a request from a very dear friend of mine. She and her husband urgently need to find a surveyor who can turn around a survey in 1-2 weeks (ideally 1 week) in Ossining. This is the remaining item they need to close on their dream home. Your suggestions and introductions are greatly appreciated – thank you!”


Within minutes, the replies came pouring into my inbox. They included names, phone numbers, advice, introductions and recommendations. An entire community had mobilized to help Amanda and Alex. I have sent many, many requests on behalf of colleagues and friends, with varying results. This was the most successful response I have ever received. Thinking about it, I realized why. The request was: 

1. Personal. This was a request to help close friends with a personal situation – not for business. In my experience, people take personal requests more seriously than business requests.

2. Urgent. The newlyweds had an immediate deadline. They needed the survey done within 1-2 weeks in order to close on that particular house.

3. Specific. The request I made was specific and precise. I included the relevant details about the services needed (surveyor), the location (Westchester) and the timeline (1-2 weeks); and I made a specific request for suggestions and introductions. These criteria helped narrow down the potential, and ideal, surveyors.

4. Emotional. The reason for the request was Amanda and Alex’s dream home. People care and genuinely want to help others. When you include a good reason or situation they can relate to, that speaks to the heart, they will respond.

5. Targeted.  I sent the email to a very specific subgroup of my contacts. I chose the people who would be most likely to recommend surveyors in the area: people who live in the area and would have hired a surveyor for their own homes; and people who work in the real estate and construction industries in the area. The volume of replies confirmed that the contacts I selected did have the information my friend needed.

With even more referrals coming in the next day, and people still reaching out to their surveyor contacts, I sent a follow-up email to everyone.

 “Dear Fireballs,

So many of you replied  – almost immediately – with many qualified referrals, personal introductions and recommendations. It is very much appreciated! I hope your surveyor contacts are equally grateful for the referrals.

This request – and your reactions  – also made me think more seriously about the power of qualified referralsIf someone sent a similar email to your network, with an immediate need for a contractor, architect, engineer, attorney, financial advisor, networking coach or ____________________{Insert your profession here}, would your contacts immediately think of you and make a glowing referral?



Do you know how your network would respond to a similar request for someone with your expertise? And what can you do to ensure that you are remembered and recommended by your network?

If you don’t know, contact Fireball Network for a complimentary consultation and find out how to make your network work for you.