Who influences your customers? Who will allow you access to them? Who will endorse you?
Those are three important questions that will guide you to your credibility partner. You must learn how you can serve the organizations, or people, which will provide you with a credible endorsement.
The power of partnering with credible and trusted authorities will place you top of mind with potential customers.
Your input must help this partner achieve their goals. If you can help them serve their customers or stakeholders, they will allow you to work with them in their efforts to improve their customer relationships while tacitly endorsing your authority in a marketplace.
These are the centers of influence you look for who serve and guide your ideal customer. By positioning yourself as credible through such an endorsement, you become perceived as a useful or helpful resource recommended by someone they trust and respect.
So stop asking for referrals from your current customers.
They don’t know how to sell you and while they might like you and respect you, they might not want to sell you to others. Identify, engage, and serve your future credibility partners. You will gain more leverage and build better relationships with future customers while removing the added pressure of asking for referrals from your current customers.