It wasn't the quotation marks. It wasn't the folksy, off-hand style (Oh! By the way! I just thought of something!!). It wasn't the fact that everyone from her best friends to her clients, to her business partners will get this request.
It is all of those things together.
Amazingly, I got an Article by Dirk Zeller today about just this very thing. It is about asking for referrals from people you know.
The whole article is worth reading, but one of the standout quotes was:
Don’t merely use a throw away line like “Oh, by the way” before you ask for the referral. This tactic cheapens the referral process rather than raising it to the high level of honor and respect it deserves. The client can see right through this cheap technique.Wow. He read my mind! In a nutshell, if you respect your business and your clients, take the time to do things right. You are asking them to let you into their circle, and what's more, you are asking them to vouch for your professionalism and trustworthiness. This is a 2 way street, so show them the consideration you are asking them to show you, and you will see your referral business boom.