I was recently in a group discussing how to appropriately seek referrals from clients and other sources, and someone present expressed that they really hate changing the tone of their interaction with their customers from being extremely relational to somewhat impersonal just to request leads. He seemed to really love to get to know his clients authentically, and asking for referrals or contacts was a huge disconnect. While many do not have this problem, it is easy for people to understand that this can feel like a sales pitch and much of the issue comes down to how much we buy into our own stories.
I have a very close friend, Dave, who is often a walking endorsement. If he has felt a benefit from a product or experience in his own life, his natural tendency is to promote it as thoroughly as he can whenever he has opportunity. I have heard him sell strangers at the grocery store on his new shoes simply as a form of small talk. This personality is the extreme opposite of my other friend from the group discussion, but there is something we can all learn from Dave. He is confident in evaluating his experiences and firmly believes that his experiences can be shared by others.
We can all learn from this kind of confidence. We live in a world where it is easy to perceive that everyone is simply out to sell something. While we are trying to promote our own businesses, being well grounded in the truth of how we can benefit our clients is the best way to create more frequent, confident, and authentic opportunities to spread the word. When our individual goals with each customer are attached to a larger vision for great service, it becomes easy to have true authenticity in creating conversations that will spark the spread of a great reputation.