There is a little part of your brain called the reticular activating system, or RAS. The formal name for it is extrathalamic control modulatory system, so we will stick with calling RAS. It’s the size of your pinky and its located right at the base of your brain.
The RAS is the filter for what is allowed to enter your brain, your consciousness. Every second you are bombarded with millions of bits of sensory information: sights, sounds, smells, feelings. And your RAS will only allow about 130 bits of information into your brain for you to “notice”.
And how does your RAS know what things to let in and what to keep out?
YOU HAVE TOLD IT WHAT TO LET IN. You have formed your RAS by telling it what is important to you and what isn’t important to you.
The classic example is when you visit the car lot and find a beautiful blue car that you fall in love with. The interior is all leather, the engine is something special, you get my point. You buy it! And you think, this is such a unique car- I never see these around town.
As soon as you pull off the lot, you stop at the first red light, look to your right and BAM, there is the same freaking car you just bought. What?! What a coincidence! Two blocks later you spot another one just like yours, then another one passes you… the same blue too!
See, you opened up your RAS and opened up your mind to notice this exact car.
This is a great example of how you can literally change your surroundings. If you tell yourself that most people are jerks and most people will treat you bad, what do you think you will notice everywhere you go? And the opposite is true. If you get up every morning for 30 days and say out loud, “The world is full of amazing and wonderful people”, what will you be open to see everywhere?
More of that type of person did not suddenly appear. You have just opened up your conscious mind to notice it. You told your RAS to let it in.
So, what’s the best time to ask a client for a referral? It’s right at the beginning of the relationship.
Building a new website.
Setting up a new LLC.
Signing up a new insurance customer.
Your clients are never more excited and engaged then right when the service is happening. That’s when you are emailing them, calling them, and their mind is on the project.
So bring up the referral early in the game.
“John, I want to set the expectation that over the next few weeks, as we put this website together for you, I hope you will consider sending us a referral. No doubt you have other business owners in your social circle (vendors, friends, neighbors) and we’d love to provide the same level of service to them.”
Then it’s on John’s mind when he’s at his son’s softball game and hears someone three seats over say they need to find a web design guy.