Use This Networking Trick to Increase Business

One of the most common networking questions I get asked is, “How do I generate referrals for other people?”  Well, this same question is exactly what I was asking myself in the early ’80s when I was just starting my consulting business. I came up with a technique that had a huge impact on my ability to provide quality referrals to others–which, of course, led to me getting referrals.

I realized that I needed to be the person whom people came to if they needed a referral for anything–the “gatekeeper” of referrals . . .  the “go-to guy.”  So I composed a letter that I sent out to my client list several times a year.  Today you could send out a quick e-mail to your database, but you should send it at least once a year as hard copy just to stand out from everybody else who’s e-mailing your clients.  Here’s a sample letter:


I really believe in the process of referrals, so part of the service I provide is to be sure to refer my clients and associates to other qualified businesspeople in the community.

Attached is a list of areas in which I know very credible, ethical and outstanding professionals.  If you’re looking for a professional in a specific area I’ve listed, please feel free to contact me.  I will be glad to put you in touch with the people I know who provide these services.


Dr. Ivan Misner

Notice when you read this letter that I just listed professions; I didn’t list names and phone numbers.  I wanted my clients to contact me so I could put the referral and the contact together–so I could build business relationships through being the go-to guy.  What began to happen was that others would ask someone on my client list, “Whom do you know who does XYZ?”  If they didn’t know anyone, then they would send that person to me.

The importance of becoming a gatekeeper is huge for anyone seeking to grow a business with word-of-mouth marketing.  It’s a strategy that gets people not only to contact you for a referral, but also to open up a dialogue with people about what your business is all about and how you can help them.  This, in turn, leads to more business with existing clients and new business with prospects.

Allow this to open the door for reciprocal sharing and giving.  You’ll be amazed at how much more business you’ll find you’re able to do as a result.

‘Do You Matter? How Great Design Will Make People Love Your Company’

I just read a great book called Do you matter? How great design will make people love your companyCo-written by my good friend, bestselling author and corporate consultant Stewart Emery along with former Apple industrial design director Robert Brunner, the book begins by asking if you, in fact, matter to your customers.


Think about it . . . this is a really important question.  Has your product, service or brand established an emotional connection with your customers to the extent that they’re invested in your lasting success?  If you disappeared, would their lives be diminished in some way?

As the book explains, when you know how to use design as a complete strategy, starting with the ideal customer experience and then building an internal supply chain to deliver in a way that exceeds expectations, you’ll create products, services and experiences that truly matter to your customers’ lives–and your business will thrive.  However, the reality is that few companies know how to create great design, and even fewer know how to implement a design strategy that will secure enduring success.

This book offers tremendous value to anyone who reads it because it clearly outlines how to transform any business into a design-driven business that follows in the steps of companies such as Nike, Apple, Ikea and BMW, all of which use design values to make a positve difference in the lives of their customers.  The authors also include some really great stories of successes as well as missed opportunities, all of which make it a really interesting read.

Well done, Stewart: I love the book.

To find out more about the book, click here.

‘Happy for No Reason’

happy-for-no-reason.jpegA couple of weeks ago, I attended the Speakers-Authors Networking Group (SANG) in Las Vegas and got to spend some time talking with my good friend Marci Shimoff.  Marci is one of the teachers in the movie The Secret and I met her some years ago at a meeting of Jack Canfield’s Transformational Leadership Council, of which we are both members.  While in Vegas, Marci shared with me some ideas from her new book, Happy for for No Reason. I found her ideas about finding happiness amid a recession to be particularly valuable, so I’d like to share them with you here.

Marci’s “Rx for the Recession,” as she calls it, is to follow these four simple techniques:

1. Reach out and touch someone.  Schedule time every day to call or visit someone you love or care about.

2. Anchor yourself to silence.  Take a moment to step off the hamster wheel of your everyday activity and just “be” for a change  . . .  sit quietly, close your eyes and breathe.

3)  Become a “joy juice barista.”  Your brain contains natural happiness-enhancing neurochemicals–endorphins, serotonin, oxytocin and dopamine.  Use this to your advantage by releasing those chemicals as much as possible through proper nutrition, exercise, getting plenty of rest, and–simply enough–smiling.

4) Don’t just stand there, express yourself.  When you’re being creative, the parts of the brain associated with fear, anxiety and worry are less active.  So instead of stewing about the state of the economy, think of a creative project you can begin or a workshop you can take.

“In times of uncertainty,” Marci says, “when the events in your life seem beyond your control, the key to staying afloat–and even thriving–is to find that place of unshakable peace and well-being inside.  Join the ranks of the resilient by becoming ‘happy for no reason.’  It’s the best Rx for the recession there is.”

I can tell you from firsthand experience that Marci is a person who really walks the talk.  She has achieved a significant amount of success by putting her ideas about maintaining a positive mindset into action. I highly recommend her material to all.  If you’d like to find out more about Marci and her new book, click here.

Penny Wise and Time Foolish

mikemacedonio_77.jpgMy  good friend and partner in the Referral Institute, Mike Macedonio (pictured here), is my guest blogger today.  He recently wrote a great article about referrals that takes an interesting look at the two investments involved in referral marketing–time and money.  If you want to learn how to avoid falling into the trap of being penny wise and time foolish, I recommend that you read this material–it’s great content.

Penny Wise and Time Foolish
By Mike Macedonio

Is it just me or is anyone else shaking their head at the assertion that “word-of-mouth marketing and referral marketing are FREE advertising.” Clearly, referral marketing (done properly) is a cost-effective way to get businness, but the only way I can possibly see making it FREE is to do nothing at all.

So what is the investment for referral marketing? There are two investments with building your business by referral: time and money. I’m surprised when I ask business owners how much they are investing in referral marketing and they don’t have any idea. Is it because it is so cost-effective that they don’t think it is worth budgeting or tracking? Maybe. However, I also see businesspeople turn down opportunities to get involved in networking organizations, acquire training, attend conferences or sponsor strategic alliance events for financial reasons.

What about the hidden cost? How much time are you spending networking and meeting with referral sources?  What is your time worth? Often when I ask that question, I get the billable rate.  Here is the simple formula I use. How much you earn, divided by how much you work. For example, if you’re making $120,000 a year working 40 hours per week, 50 weeks a year, your time is worth $60 per hour. You may be billing $150 per hour; however, after you factor in everything else you are doing, this is what your time is returning to you.

When you consider that the serious active networker will spend eight hours a week attending networking events, networking online, meeting with referral sources and giving time to activities with his network, that works out to 400 hours per year or $24,000 of time invested a year. Hmmm, that doesn’t sound like FREE to me.

Referral marketing is the most cost-effective way to grow your business. Getting the best return on your time and money requires a clear referral marketing plan. Will you be spending your time doing the right things, with the right people, in the right organizations? Investing in referral marketing knowledge will help you get the best return for your time investment.  Be careful not to fall into the common trap of being penny wise and time foolish with your referral marketing.  Create a budget and invest appropriately in your referral marketing.

I’d love to pass your feedback about this article along to Mike, so feel free to leave any comments below.

Join Me in Las Vegas on March 19-21

I’d like to take this opportunity to personally invite all of my blog readers to join me in Las Vegas, Nev., less than two weeks from now for the iLearningGlobal Launch Conference and Mastermind Event.

I will be speaking at the conference on Friday, March 2o, and I would love the opportunity to meet you face-to-face.  John McLelland, CEO of iLearningGlobal, has generously provided me with a link to share with my network that offers a 10 percent discount on registration fees.  In addition, if you use this link to register for the event, iLearningGlobal will donate $50 to the BNI Foundation in your name to promote children’s education worldwide!  CLICK HERE to take advantage of this offer and register for the event, and feel free to pass this offer along to your friends, family and colleagues.

Not only is this event going to be an amazing networking opportunity, it also features 14 of the world’s foremost authorities on success and achievement, such as Bill Bartmann, Tony Alessandra and Steve Siebold, just to name a few.

My friend Brian Tracy said, “Getting ahead in this uncertain time can be a great challenge, but considering the economy’s potential for future growth, it can also be a great opportunity.”  I think the iLearningGlobal conference is extremely important in relation to this idea because one of the main goals is to enable people to access the tools and resources they need to really build business–especially during a down economy.

History has shown that more fortunes are built on the back of a down economy than a good one, but in order to succeed you have to follow the pattern of the most successful people in history and become a lifelong learner.

I am really looking forward to participating in the iLearningGlobal Launch Conference, and it would be great to be able to connect with my blog readers there.  CLICK HERE to register for the event and CLICK HERE if you’d like to learn more about iLearningGlobal.

‘Legends in Excellence–The Series’

legendsadmisner2_300×250.jpgMy long-time friend Annie Armen, better known as “The Hurricane” on Annie Armen LIVE Talk Radio, has just come out with a great new CD called “Legends in Excellence–The Series,” which features 20 of the world’s top authorities on success.

Annie took hundreds of hours of recorded interviews she’s done over the past decade with people such as Zig Ziglar, Stephen M.R. Covey, Denis Waitley, John Demartini of The Secret and yours truly (just to name a few), and she edited all that content down into 15 hours of powerful advice on how to create real wealth, achieve greater success and find opportunity no matter what the economy is doing.

CLICK HERE to get more information and to purchase the CD.

When you visit the web page above, if you scroll down you can also listen to a five-minute sampler track by clicking on the blue-and-white play button above the words “Listen While You Read.”

If you listen to the sampler track, feel free to come back and leave a comment about what you thought of it.

Make a Referral Week (March 9-13, 2009)

johnjantschlogo.gifAs I’ve said time and time again, I firmly believe that the way to survive and thrive in an economic downturn is to ignore the doom-and-gloom headlines and focus instead on what you can do to grow your business despite fluctuations in the economy.

That’s why I’m hoping all of you will join me in participating in Make a Referral Week, which is a campaign inviting everyone around the globe to make 1,000 referrals during the week of March 9-13.  It’s an entrepreneurial approach to stimulating the small-business economy–one referred business at a time.

The goal of generating 1,000 referrals to 1,000 deserving small businesses highlights the idea that by taking one simple action and generating one referral to a small business, you really can make a difference and help jumpstart the economy.  Small business is the lifeblood and job-creating engine of the economy, and if we all pledge to make one referral, we could possibly generate millions of dollars in new business.

The weeklong, virtual event also features daily education programs focused on teaching small-business owners and other marketers how to tap the power of referral marketing. I’ll be featured, along with my friends Bob Burg and Bill Cates, on Tuesday, March 10.

Click here to learn more and join the campaign.

If you do join me in participating next week, I’d love to hear back from you about the referral(s) you generated.

Five Ideas for Writing Great Blogs

I’ve often talked about how blogging is a great way to get yourself known and establish a lot of credibility with your readership.  The thing is, however, that to really make the most of your blog, you need to be posting at least once or twice a week. If you don’t post enough, people will lose the incentive to come back time and time again.

People who are just starting out will often struggle to come up with enough ideas to allow them to blog this frequently. If you face this problem, check out my new TV episode on yourBusinessChannel where I describe nine different popular subjects for blogs. The show is available to watch for free by clicking here.

To give you something to think about, here are the first five ideas from the show:

1.  Write a “how to” blog (much like this one). Share your best tips about how to do something you know all about.

2.  Lists.  For some reason, people absolutely love to read lists. Think of a topic relevant to your field of expertise (“The Top Five Faux Pas of Networking,” for example) and start listing.

3.  The Straw Man argument. Set up a premise and then argue against it.  This always makes for interesting reading, and you get plenty of blog comments if you choose a controversial subject.

4.  Case studies. Discussing case studies from your professional work and the lessons you’ve learned from them makes for a great blog. Just watch the word length. Ideally, blog posts shouldn’t be much more than 500 words, so split the case study over two posts if you need to.

5.  Interviews.  Have you interviewed anyone knowledgeable or well-known recently?  What did they say?  Write about it.

I share the rest of my tips in the show–take a look.

Don’t Forget About VCP When Networking Online

I’ve always believed that it’s critical for businesspeople to participate in a range of networks, from fairly informal networks like chambers of commerce to dedicated networks like BNI, where people meet to pass referrals.  More recently, online business networks such as Linkedin and Ecademy have emerged, and these should now also be part of your networking activity.

The important thing to learn and remember when you’re first getting involved in online networks is that the same principles apply to online and offline networking.

This may sound obvious, but you’d be surprised–people behave differently online. Here’s what I mean. I recommend that people follow a VCP Process® in their networking, both online and offline.  That is, your networking efforts must begin by achieving Visibility. Next, you can build Credibility in the network. Then, and only then, should you seek Profitability through pursuing business relationships with your contacts.ybc.jpg

What happens in online networks, however, is that people try to skip “V” and “C” and jump straight to “P.” In other words, they start hunting for referrals before they have built up trust and relationships with the people they want to do business with.

I give my thoughts on how to approach online business networking in my latest show on online business TV network yourBusinessChannel.  You can watch it for free by clicking here.

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