myth about referrals we shouldn't believe

The Lies We Believe About Referrals

The holy grail of bringing in a new client is referrals. Of all the business development or sales tactics – referrals is the most coveted of all. Most people want them because they understand how powerful referrals are.

We understand referrals are powerful because the referred new client, or referral, is “dropped in our laps” already trusting us (a key in deciding to buy) which means they are quicker and easier to close.

A referral is also less price sensitive because our value has already been established by the person referring us before we even meet.

Because we understand the power of a referral, we know why we want them.

But there is so much misinformation on how to generate them or even what a referral truly is that myths about referrals have been created. And believing these lies or myths keep us from trying to generate them.

So we need to unpack these referrals lies – these myths – so we can understand what is true and what is not. But before we dive into the top 5 myths we believe about referrals, let’s look at why referrals are so misunderstood.

Section 1: Why Referrals Are So Misunderstood
Section 2: The Top 5 Referral Myths
Section 3: The Fear Based Myths (Myth #1 and #2)
Section 4: The Incentivize Myth (Myth #3)
Section 5: The Time Suck Myth (Myth #4)
Section 6: The Control Factor Myth (Myth #5)

 

SECTION 1: Why Referrals Are So Misunderstood

Referrals are misunderstood because we don’t define them correctly or understand how to generate them.

For decades the definition of a referral – a true referral – has been diluted. The definition has been made murky because we have broadly applied the definitions of other sales terms as referrals.  Sales lingo terms like the “word of mouth referral” and “referral marketing.” It seems we will slap the “referral label” on just about anything that isn’t a true cold lead.

The WHAT of a Referral

It seems that if the prospect has any level of “warmth” (meaning not a cold lead), we say the prospect is a referral when nothing could be further from the truth. When I hear people describe a warm lead, introduction or word-of-mouth buzz as a referral, it is clear they are fuzzy on what a referral is, the actual definition of a referral. And it is dangerous to think any type of prospect sales lingo (sales lingo = sales term) like an introduction is a referral because it sets us up for disappointment. Let’s unpack what a referral is and why we can’t confuse referrals with other sales terms.

Here is the definition of the common sales terms that are often confused with referrals.

  • A Warm Lead.  A warm lead is the name and contact information of a potential prospect that is given to you by someone else (your contact) who may not have identified a real reason why the prospect would want to meet with you. Also you are typically passed this information (verbally in passing at an event, coffee meeting or in an email) from your contact but they didn’t connect you directly to the prospect.
  • An Introduction. An introduction is when a contact of yours connects you with someone else who may or may not have the potential to become a client. Effectively an introduction is just a connection made (typically over email) in which no real need has been identified in the potential prospect that needs to be solved .
  • Word-of-Mouth Buzz.  Word-of mouth buzz is when a contact of yours has talked to a potential prospect and identified that they have a need that you can solve but your contact fails to connect you to the prospect. Effectively they say awesome things about you and why the prospect should hire you but leave it up to the potential prospect to reach out to you.

To be a referral you need two incredible pieces that all three of the sales terms above are missing on some level.

1) You need to have a real need identified in the prospect. Meaning a problem, pain, or issue that needs to be solved. And the identification of the need is discussed through a conversation with someone they trust (your contact or referral source) and your contact suggests you as the solution because they believe you can solve the prospect’s problem.

2) You need to have a connection made between you and the potential prospect. And that connection is made by your contact.  Typically the connection is made over email and in the email the contact provides the reason for the connection, letting you know the prospect has a need that you can solve.

When we apply the wrong definitions (like calling an introduction a referral), we give the wrong impression of what a referral actually is, which dilutes its power.  The same goes for the over-use of the term referrals; like “referral marketing.”

Truth is, even I have misused it…referring to the idea of generating referrals as “referral marketing” because the business world has defined it that way for so long. When we think of generating referrals as one of our “marketing tactics” we approach the process differently.  Like thinking if I stay in touch – with those postcard mailers or emailed newsletters – then I have done the work to generate referrals.  But referrals don’t happen, especially in a consistent way, because you stayed in touch.  It takes much more than that. A referral is putting our reputation on the line for someone we care about.

Referrals need their own plan in your business, separate from your prospecting plan and separate from your marketing plan. You need to follow different “activities” with a different mindset when it comes to generating referrals.

Okay, so now that we are clear on the WHAT of referrals – the true definition of what makes a referral a referral – let’s focus on the other part of referrals that truly confuses people.  The HOW.

The HOW of a Referral

Most people are confused on how you generate a referral. When I ask business owners and professionals how they think they are supposed to generate referrals I receive a few key misguided answers. The answers are about how to ask, when to ask, gimmicks to use, when to manipulate feelings of reciprocity. Or the answers are about not being sure how you generate referrals – they just happen, based on luck, not predictable.  Or the answers center on the time it takes to make referrals happen or how big your network needs to be.

Why do we believe we have to ask, for referrals or spend a lot of time working to receive them or believe we have no control over them?

It seems that the majority – like 90% – of the articles we can find online speak directly to asking for referrals.  Like here, here, here, here, here, here and here. (I could go on, but you get the point.)

And consider some of the most popular books on referrals – they discuss how to ask, how to network or how to use some other gimmick to generate referrals.

One-sided information and incorrect beliefs have created the myths or lies about referrals we believe, which is keeping most people from truly enjoying referrals.

Let’s look in-depth at the five top lies or myths we believe about referrals.

 

SECTION 2: The Top 5 Referral Myths

When we are confused on what a referral is and what it takes to generate them (without asking, of course) – that drives a number of referral myths.

By definition a myth is not real…but since it is so widely held, it feels really, really real.

For years now, I have been teaching business owners and professionals how to generate referrals by not following the conventional advice. And there is one question I love to ask to gauge how deep someone’s belief is in the conventional advice. The question I ask, which produced the list of the top five referrals myths, is “What is the one thing that holds you back from consistently generating referrals?”

The answers – hundreds and hundreds of them – all fall within the same 5 categories, the same 5 referral myths.

The good news…thank goodness these top referral myths are not real.

Let’s look at each of them and then over the next few chapters I’ll dive in deeper to each of them.

  1. To receive, I must ask and that makes me uncomfortable.
  2. To receive, I have to network and know a ton of people.
  3. I have to pay or incentivize to receive them.
  4. It takes so much time, time I don’t have.
  5. Receiving referrals cannot be controlled

The first two myths are fear based and the third myth is all about money. The 4th and 5th myth are based on an incorrect perception of time and control.

The “fear factor” is driven by the belief that I have to ask for referrals which make myself and those I’m asking uncomfortable through the process of being asked.  Plus, I have to be “out there” getting to know lots and lots and lots people through lots and lots and lots of networking. Which even the most outgoing, extroverted and social person would dread over time.

This then leads to beliefs that generating referrals takes a ton of time, time none of us probably have.  All that time networking, all that time preparing to ask, all those meeting in which I have to ask…all. that. time.

And if you toss in that you might have to pay for them and cannot control any part of receiving referrals…then it only makes sense that you would decide receiving referrals is just not a business development strategy that you should pay much attention to.  The attitude becomes “why bother?”

But, despite these myths, referrals have an allure…as they should.  Even though people believe one or all of these top myths they still are interested in how to generate them.

Because we all know, ultimately, referrals are the best way to receive new clients.

So naturally we want them, even if we believe the only ways to generate referrals will make you uncomfortable (asking), or that you must act inauthentic, or waste a huge amount of time.

We need to change our beliefs and to do that we have to acknowledge where the beliefs come from.   

Our myths are driven by what messages we have been exposed repeatedly, that then become the beliefs we believe and drive our actions or in-actions.

It is time we get our facts straight.

In the upcoming sections, I will dive deeper into the myths that to receive referrals you need to ask, or focus your energy on networking to know a ton of people, or dedicate a massive amount of time to have success, or pay for referrals or that receiving referral cannot be controlled (unless you ask, of course).

All of these myths are false – they are just lies – and I’ll prove it. But to get our facts straight when it comes to generating referrals we have to dissect they myths, unpack the evidence and then provide a successful, proven alternative.

 

SECTION 3: Fear Based Myths (Myth #1 and #2)

The top two myths of generating referrals are fear-based.  It includes the fear of asking people you know and don’t know for referrals and the fear of having to know a ton of people to generate referrals. Let’s look at these two fears deeper.

Fear

It seems that fear has a stranglehold on people’s ability to generate referrals.

Here’s exactly what I hear:

“I hate calling referrals sources and asking them for referrals.”

“Not knowing how to ask for referrals without feeling sleazy.”

“Fear of calling and meeting with people.”

“Afraid of putting myself out there.”

“I feel like I will annoy people.”

“Feeling pushy about it. Also, what if they don’t really like me to refer me?”

“Putting myself out there.”

“Hiding in my office.”

“Asking the right people at the right time, I don’t want to alienate friends.”

“Networking isn’t one of my favorite things.”

“Lack of confidence.”

Their fear – represented of hundreds of answers I have received when I ask what stands in the way of consistently generating referrals – comes from the misconception of how you should generate referrals.

The two major incorrect notions on how to generate referrals are:

  1. You have to ask for referrals
  2. You need to be “out there” with calling and networking and knowing lots and lots of people

Up first, let’s tackle the fear of asking.

Understanding Our Fear of Asking (and making it go away)

Believing that you have to ask to generate referrals brings up a lot of issues like dreading the feeling of being uncomfortable when we ask our friends, associates and other business professionals for a referral. Our uncomfortable-ness is only compounded by knowing we are making the person we are asking – our associate, contact, another business professional –  uncomfortable as well.

Asking for a referral feels a lot like a cold call.

You know the person picking up the phone doesn’t want to be pitched or sold to when you make a cold call. it is the same with asking for a referrals.

It makes people uncomfortable on both sides of the ask.

Why?

The reason why we are uncomfortable asking for referrals is because we are manufacturing and forcing a referral.  A manufactured referral is one you ask for, where you are attempting to artificially create or “manufacture” a vital piece of the referral process that must occur naturally.

So what is this vital piece of the referral process?  What is it that cannot be manufactured or artificially created?

It is the need, problem or pain of the prospective client has and their willingness to solve it which is why the prospective client would be open to being referred to you and want to meet with you.

When you attempt to artificially create the pain, need or problem by asking your referral source or contact to “come up with” people who need what you do, you force the referral process. And unfortunately once forced, the referral process never works.

The reason why referrals are so powerful is because prospective new clients have already identified their need (the problem they need solve) and is open to meeting with someone who can solve their problem.

You just can’t manufacture this need by scrolling through your contacts on your phone looking for someone to refer.  You have to know they have a need.  And when you ask someone for a referral they are forced to start thinking about who has the exact need you can solve for…a request they are not expecting and now work they have to do for you.  When you ask for a referral…you make the referral process about you and it is never about you.  Making it about you goes against the psychology and human dynamic of why a referral works so well.

The good news is that you don’t have to ask to generate referrals, in fact if you are asking you are going about generating referrals all wrong.

Why We Think We Have to Ask (Myth #1)

We have a fear of asking for referrals because asking is the only advice out there.

Most books on generating referrals are focused on asking for referrals, like:

Million Dollar Referrals by Alan Weiss

The Referral of a Lifetime by Tim Templeton

The Referral Code by Larry Pinci and Phil Glossserman

And articles are published – every year – providing answers to generating referrals with one main solution…to ask.  Articles like:

Get More Referrals By Asking

25 Way to Ask for a Referral Without Looking Desperate

3 Steps to Asking for Referrals Today

It is no wonder that we think to generate referrals we have to ask because that is the advice the experts and gurus have been telling us for years.

But asking for referrals makes us uncomfortable so we believe that if we don’t ask, then we won’t receive referrals.

Well thank goodness that is wrong.

Why We Think We Have to Know a Ton of People (Myth #2)

The other fear we have when it comes to generating referrals is that we have to know a ton of people so we can consistently generate referrals. And to know all of these people – hundreds and hundreds of them – it means a lot of networking, attending many networking groups or joining “leads” groups (sometimes cleverly disguised as “referral” groups).

Now for some, the idea that I have to get to know a ton of people to generate referrals is really no problem. Some people love to network and meet new people. But if you only generate referrals when you are “out and about” – you are going to be “out and about” a lot and that won’t be the best use of your time when you have a business to run.

For others, the idea of a ton of networking is a draining and an uncomfortable activity. They would rather pull out their fingernails (yes, someone said that to me before) than spend a lot of time standing around trying to talk to strangers.

But most of us fall somewhere in-between. We don’t mind some networking but we dread the idea of spending hours and hours in a state of constant networking.

So where did the idea of “knowing a ton of people is needed to generate referrals” come from?

Well, from the same place the advice “to ask” came from.  There are referral books and articles on how to network, when to network, and what to say when networking so that when we read one – thinking we are learning how to generate referrals – we believe that to generate referrals involves a lot of networking.

And there are many networking and leads groups disguised as referral groups. “Receive referrals” is a part of their value proposition (or it is in the name of their group) so when we look at option for how to receive referrals…we see groups advertising about referrals and we make the connection that we need to spend time in these groups to increase referrals.

But just because you can read about networking tactics as a way to generate referrals, doesn’t make it the best way or the only way.  Same goes for asking for referrals.  Just because we can ask for referrals – following the experts advice – doesn’t mean that is the only advice we have to take.

There is another way to generate referrals without asking and without knowing hundreds and hundreds of people.

But before I dive into how to do it…I want to unpack the other three myths.

 

SECTION 4: The Incentivize Myth (Myth #3)

I cannot find in researching the past the exact moment the notion began that referrals should be paid for or we should incentivize for them. But based on a few changing trends over time, you can trace why many people believe – incorrectly – that it is necessary for you pay a direct commission for referrals or incentive through a discount for referrals.

At the heart of the issue is when we see something working in one industry we consider how we can apply it to our own industry or situation.  But our application typically happens without understanding the nuances of why it works in one industry

And – most important – paying or incentivizing for referrals in relationship-driven, high-touch businesses, like CPAs, attorneys, realtors, coaches, consultants, insurance agents, financial advisors, interior designers and more, tend to backfire.

Common Practice in Some Industries

In some industries there is a common and acceptable practice of paying a commission on a sale in an affiliate or joint venture relationship.  But in those relationships the commission is disclosed up front, so everyone is aware of the payment. Two examples of this are in the real estate and the online information industries.

Since the paying of a commission is disclosed – in writing – in advance of the purchase, it allows the buyer of the product or service the time and opportunity to consider the “strings attached” to the offer.  Some won’t see it as “strings attached” and some will.  But the beauty of upfront disclosure keeps the offer honest for all parties involved.

For example – if you are buying or selling a home and a realtor offers to connect you to another realtor who can help you (different state, city, need, etc.) – the realtor who makes the connection typically stands to make a 25% commission if you end of making a purchase or selling a home (this can be different depending on your state’s or country’s laws). But in the real estate world the commission is disclosed in writing and all parties sign of on it so no one is left in the dark about what will transpire.

Explosion of Loyalty Programs

Another changing trend is the explosion of loyalty programs. It seems just about every company has a version of a loyalty program.  I believe this started in the hospitality and retail industries where restaurants offered loyalty cards to encourage repeat visits with the enticement of a freebie to reward you for your loyalty of repeat visits.

Then the loyalty program took the technology-based companies by storm.  Companies like Uber, Dropbox, VRBO, Paypal offered an incentive – a free month, free ride, credit to your account – for sharing a link with your friends so they would try the service.

But there is a difference between the hospitality industry rewarding repeat customers and the technology companies offering an incentive.  The difference is a restaurant or store is typically a highly transactional relationship with a lower dollar ticket price (so the carrot and stick principle works) and a technology company is just that – technology we like and buy but can cancel at anytime and don’t typically form a human relationship with.

I’m going to guess your business is neither of those.

Your company is a relationship-based company.  For a client to decide to work with you they have to know, like and trust you. The way your service is offered – there is time to get to know you, spend time with you and trust you. What you offer isn’t low-dollar and in some cases a considerable purchase – think buying a home – or a considerable leap of faith – allowing you to manage their wealth.

So when you pay for a referral – commission or incentive – you violate the way you do business.

Here’s Why We Don’t Pay 

Some people are willing to ask to be compensated for sending a referral your way. Their willingness to ask for compensation creates the impression that when you receive referrals from them, you should be willing to pay. But just because they ask doesn’t mean you should feel any obligation to meet their request.

We know referrals only come from relationships and you should not commoditize your relationships.  When you offer to pay for a referral you commoditize the relationship by turning the referral into a transaction, which it is not.

Let’s put ourselves in the prospective new client’s shoes (the person who had a need or pain and is being referred to you).  Imagine how they would feel to know that they were – potentially – only referred to you because the person referring them to you (the referral source) was going to make a commission.  That is called sales.  That is not a referral.  That is not a buddy or colleague helping them with their problem; just a person making a buck off her problem or pain.

Which means, you do not have to pay to receive referrals, and in fact, you shouldn’t agree to pay or offer to pay ever.

 

SECTION 5: The Time Suck Myth (Myth #4)

Time. Our most precious commodity. Makes sense we’d prefer not to waste it, right?

But we do, don’t we? It is unfortunate but true.

One business growth strategy you might think takes a lot of time – possibly wasted time – is generating referrals.

But the opposite is true – generating referrals saves you time.

Let’s take a closer look at the “Time Myth.”

Time

Besides fear, the lack of time or belief that is takes so much work (i.e. time) to generate referrals is what I hear when people tell me why they don’t try to consistently generate referrals.

Here are just a few of the comments I receive regarding why people don’t believe they can generate referrals consistently.

“Time”

“Time to do marketing”

“Lack of networking”

“Time to network”

“I tell myself that I am always so busy with actual work (often non-paying) that I don’t have time to attend marketing events, etc.”

“Not honoring the time I block for it each week.”

“Time and focus.”

“Time to network.”

Understanding our Wariness of Wasted Time

When I dig in deeper to the “it takes too much time” reasons, most of the concerns come from believing – incorrectly.

All the networking we have to do, all that time getting to know people, all that time preparing to ask and all those meetings in which we have to ask…that generating referrals just takes So. Much. Time.

If we only believe that our referral generation is in direct proportion to the size of our network, then of course it makes sense that we would assume we need a lot of time to grow our network (like attending networking events, 1-on-1 coffee/lunch meetings and marketing events).

But our general network doesn’t refer us…people we know well within our network are the only ones who refer us.

People we have a relationship with, people who trust us – these are the people who refer us. The size of our network doesn’t impact the number of referrals received.  In fact, the metric that dictates the number of referrals received is the strength of our relationships with a key group of referral sources.

Why We Think Referral Are A Time Suck

Most of the time we believe what we believe because of an “expert” or training. (Really, my referral training is no different. I just teach the opposite of all of these myths.) We believe referrals are a time suck because that is what we have read, been taught or experienced ourselves.

It is What We Read

Most of us don’t mind some networking but we don’t want to spend hours and hours every week or month doing it when we inherently know it is not the best use of our time.  It just takes a few poor or sub-par networking events to teach us that. But we think we must engage in constant networking to know a ton of people and that takes a lot of time.

So where did the idea of “knowing a ton of people is needed to generate referrals” come from?

Well, from the same place the advice to “ask for referrals” came from, what we read.  There are referrals books (meaning the title, subtitle or description gives the impression the book is about referrals) on how to network, when to network, and what to say networking. So, when we read one of these referral books that are really networking books – because we wanted to learn how to generate referrals – we believe that we must do a lot of networking.

It is What We are Taught

Besides books, we are also taught other networking strategies, like a networking “system” to generate referrals for us.  For example, one interview I listened to was an “expert” explaining about his referral process which was in effect these “rings” or “groups” of people we spend time with to generate referrals. His strategy was to have as many rings or groups as possible and work with them weekly and monthly to send referrals.  There was how to spend the time within the rings and the immense amount of follow up. I was so exhausted and stressed just listening to him that I can only imagine how others must feel when they hear that advice and they don’t know there is another way.

Just the pressure of the time to create, coordinate and manage those groups on top of all the other work we must do as business owners – delivering client work, book keeping, email and more – is an exhausted proposition and naturally creates the perception we need a lot of time to make this process work if we want referrals.

It is What We See in Our Professional Community

There are many networking and leads groups disguised as referral groups. Group tout “receive referrals” as part of their value proposition so when we look at options for how to receive referrals…we see groups advertising about referrals and we make the connection that we need to spend time in these groups to generate referrals. But some of these groups meet weekly.  That’s a lot of time.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t join networking or leads groups…just don’t assume that joining one or even a dozen is going to open the flood gates of referrals.  Referrals don’t work that way.

Just because you can read or learn about networking tactics as a way to generate referrals, that doesn’t make it the best way or the only way.  In fact, most advice does sound like a time suck, and none of us can really afford to waste time.

Setting the Record Straight

Generating referrals isn’t about quantity.

It’s not about the quantity of time spent networking. Or the quantity of how many people you know.

Generating referrals is about creating quality relationships with a group of referral sources in which your focus is on them, not on you. And when you focus on your referral sources, creating quality relationships and follow a system, you naturally save time. Building relationships with your referrals sources can be done through specific outreach that is impactful and done without spending a lot of time “networking” or “marketing.”

Most of my Growth By Referrals students only need to know a few dozen quality referral sources (unless you need massive volume) and a plan to follow to focus on spending quality time building relationships, which doesn’t just mean face-to-face quality time. There are many ways to build impactful relationships that let you stay top of mind with your referral sources which leads us to overcome Myth #5, the idea that you cannot do anything to “control” referrals.

 

SECTION 6: The Control Factor Myth (Myth #5)

The ultimate confusion of referrals is how you generate them consistently.

This myth – believing that referrals cannot be controlled – is the belief that referrals are sporadic that just happen randomly with no reason behind them.

What I am told when people believe that referrals can’t be controlled is that:

“I have received a few referrals over time, but nothing consistent.”

“For the referrals I have received in the past, they just showed up, I didn’t do anything to make it happen.”

“You can’t control referrals like you control your networking or marketing activities.”

“Referrals don’t work that way.”

“They are random and you can’t count on them – not consistently anyway.”

Now let me be clear, when I use the word “control,” I don’t mean I can look at you and command a referral (that’s a creepy thought, isn’t it.)  I also don’t mean I can snap my fingers and referrals will just roll in. My use of the word “control” is focused on the actions we can take to generate referrals with consistency. What we control are our actions mixed with the right language to plant referral seeds with the right people.

It is true in sales – as with referrals – that what you control are your activities or actions, not the results.  But when people tell me referrals can’t be controlled, what they are referring to is that they think there is nothing they can do to generate them, to receive them.  I use the word “control” to combat the myth that referrals are sporadic, that there isn’t anything you can do and if you receive them, you just got lucky.

Well luckily for us, those beliefs are just myths. What I and my Growth By Referrals students have learned is that there are actions you can take – completely within your control – that when done correctly and with consistency will allow referrals to happen. Maybe not as many as you would like or maybe more than you can handle.

I asked my Growth By Referrals students to share what they have learned by creating and following their referral plan and here is what you need to know.

  1. That generating referrals doesn’t have to be left to chance.
  2. There are easy steps to follow to manage the process (so you know what to do)
  3. Receiving referrals can be consistent when you follow the process/plan consistently

Let’s look more closely at what my students shared specific to each of these three.

1. That generating referrals doesn’t have to be left to chance.

Steve Stewart, a financial planner, shared “having specific activities you can implement help you understand the things you control and the things you can’t control.” He goes on to share that “asking for referrals is something you can control but almost no one like doing it and it does not increase the chance of receiving a referral. In fact, it may reduce the chance that you will get a referral.” I think we can all agree with Steve and if you are unsure of Steve’s assertion – that I wholeheartedly agree with – then read this article: Manufactured Referrals Never Work.

Gray Langley, a CPA, explained, that “by identifying who is in my true circle of friends, I control the amount of time spent trying to grow a network. I can avoid the “let’s meet and see how we can help each other” invitations, freeing up time to meet with the individuals and business owners being referred to me and making the sticky connections with the people that are important to my business.”

Kathi Wilson, an education consultant and advocate, shared that “small actions (like handwritten notes) have a big impact and sets you apart,” making sure you aren’t leaving your relationships or referrals to chance.

But let me be clear – you cannot plan to spend a year writing handwritten thank you notes and think referrals are just going to flow in.  You need a well craft year-long plan where your actions are memorable and meaningful.  Handwritten notes are part of the plan, not the whole plan.

2. There are easy steps to follow to manage the process (so you know what to do)

When I tell people that you need a referral generating plan to follow, the first response I receive is “that sounds like a lot of work.”  (Hint, I believe this belief is fueled by the overarching myth that generating referrals takes a lot of time, Myth #3, the time-suck myth.)  Luckily that is not true.

Michelle O’Connor, a property and casualty insurance agent, explained that “spending a little time upfront to create a system makes it easy to consistently follow through with your plans.”  One part of her system – and is step two in the Growth By Referrals process – is to take some time to create an easy to follow process when you receive a referral which takes the guesswork out of how you will thank, so you are more likely to thank right away.

Steve added that “having a clear set of proven activities, implemented on a regular basis, makes it very easy to stick with the plan.” And he stressed that following the plan means, “you avoid recreating the wheel and you pick up speed and efficiency when you are not constantly having to figure out what to do to maintain meaningful and memorable outreach with your referral sources.”  This is the what you do for your referral sources in-between receiving referrals.

Amanda Mingo, an attorney, felt after going through the Growth By Referrals program that she had a process that worked for her and who she was.  Authenticity is a big component of the program and she was able to build a process or system that would work for her.  Those easy steps to follow were “extremely manageable and it is using a method that is tried and true to plug-in pieces that will work for you.”

3. Receiving referrals can be consistent when you follow the process/plan consistently.

The key word here is consistency!  For anything to happen, you need to be willing to be consistent.  That is one thing all of my students in the Growth By Referrals program clue into pretty quickly.  One outreach to your referral sources will only get you so far. One handwritten note will only be remembered for so long.  You need a plan to follow that allows you to be consistent.

Steve shared, “the beauty of Stacey’s system is that you can concentrate solely on your definied activities (which you control) and the trust that the referrals will follow. But the activities lead to referrals over time.”

The plan/process is also easy to manage because technology is not everyone’s friend, as Kathi explained, “as a solopreneur I found the steps easy to follow which is good since technology is not my love language! The plan Stacey shows us how to build can be tech-free if you want or need it to be!”

I think Gray summed it up perfectly when he said, “By following Stacey’s easy process that her program outlines, the referrals come in fast and steady.  And amazingly, I am now adding the type of client I enjoy working with.  I am also not spending time in introduction meetings hearing “I have three other CPA firms to interview” and “how much do you charge.”  The dynamic of my referral meetings with first time prospects is completely different than with the prospects who come through another source.”

Generating referrals doesn’t have to be hard, complicated or complex. You just need an easy to follow system or plan focused on the RIGHT activities to generate referrals, and becomes manageable once you know what to do.

I encourage you to take the free 7 Day Referral Growth Challenge and let’s go one step further to build the foundation of unleashing a referral explosion and leaving behind all of the referral myths – the lies we believe about referrals.

 

 

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