Four More Referral Sources to Tap into for Business Growth

A week ago today, I outlined a brief description of each of the first four of the eight referral sources.  I encouraged blog readers to spend the past week taking action in developing at least two of those referral sources and promised that this week I would explain the last four referral sources. 

* Remember, the more you learn about each referral source, the more referral sources you will develop; the more referral sources you develop, the more referrals you will get and the more your business will grow!

The Eight Referral Sources: Sources #5 — #8

  • Staff Members
    Except for customers, no one understands better than staff members how your products or services perform.  Not just sales and marketing staff–generating sales is what they were hired to do–but part-time or full-time staff members in administration, production, and other functions give your business a boost when they talk with friends, neighbors, associates, and people they meet in their daily lives.  Keep them happy; a disgruntled employee can do your business a lot of harm. Don’t overlook former staff members, either.  Working for your company will always be a part of their history, and often part of their conversation with prospects as well.
  • People to Whom You’ve Given Referrals
    You’re more likely to get a referral from someone to whom you’ve given a referral.  The more you give, the more you’ll get.
  • Anyone Who Has Given You Referrals
    People who give you referrals for business or direct others to you for networking or advice are demonstrating that they think highly of you and what you do.  If they didn’t, they would refer people elsewhere.  Strengthen and nurture these prospective referral sources; don’t take them for granted.  Show your appreciation with personal gestures and by referring prospects to them.  Call on them for further referrals, but don’t abuse their generosity.  Maintain the business standards that earned you their respect.
  • Other Members of Business Referral Groups
    Referral groups are set up by their members mainly to exchange leads and referrals.  A typical weekly meeting of such a group includes time devoted exclusively to networking and referring business.  If you’re a member, this is what you signed up for: ready access to potential new clients.  To encourage communication and limit possible competitive conflicts, business referral groups often restrict membership to one person per profession or specialty.

Between last Monday’s blog and today’s blog, you should now have a good understanding of the eight referral sources and there is no better time than right now to start developing them for more referrals! 

If you accepted last week’s challenge of developing at least two of the first four referral sources, I’d love to hear about which sources you chose to focus on and what your experience was.  Now the question is, which of these next four sources are you going to work on developing next?  Please leave your thoughts in the comments section.

Business Networking and Sex: Survey Says . . . Transactional vs. Relational

In this short video, I share a portion of the results from the survey of 12,000 businesspeople on which my most recent book, Business Networking and Sex: Not What You Think, is based.   The results I discuss here indicate that men and women act differently when it comes to the VCP Process®, transactions, and relationships.

Based on your experience, would you say these results jive with what you’ve found to be true in the networking world?  Please share your thoughts in the comments section–I’d love to hear them!

The Eight Referral Sources–Learn More, Get More

Last week I posted a video blog featuring Referral Institute Trainer Cheryl Hansen talking about the opportunity to significantly increase the number of referrals you receive by developing more than just one of the eight referral sources.  The fact is, the more you learn about each referral source, the more referral sources you will develop; the more referral sources you develop, the more referrals you will get and the more your business will grow!

Since last week’s video blog, I have received requests via social media to explain each of the eight sources in a little bit more detail, so today I am posting a brief description of the first four sources below and (for the sake of space) next week I’ll post information about the last four sources.

The Eight Referral Sources: Sources #1 — #4

  1. People in Your Contact Sphere
    A group of businesses/professions that complement, rather than compete with, your business.  A Contact Sphere can be a steady source of leads.  It’s almost a sure thing: if you put a caterer, a florist, an entertainer, a printer, a meeting planner, and a photographer in the same room for an hour, you couldn’t stop them from doing business.  Each has clients who can benefit from the services of the others.  This is why a wedding often turns out to be, on the side, a business networking and referral-gathering activity.
  2. Satisfied Clients
    One of your best referral sources is satisfied clients.  Having firsthand experience with your products or services, they are true believers and can communicate convincing testimonials.  Keep track of these clients; they are your fans, your best promoters, and they can be very effective in helping others decide to do business with you.  Of course, a dissatisfied client is equally effective in turning prospects away from you.
  3. People Whose Business Benefits from Yours
    Of the eight kinds of people in your referral network, none stand to gain more than those who get more business when you get more business: business suppliers and vendors, for example.  If you sell workbooks, the printer who prints them for you benefits.  A related business located close to you may benefit from your customers–for example, a health-food restaurant located next to your family fitness center.  In these circumstances, it is obviously in the other businesses’ self-interest to give you referrals.
  4. Others with Whom You Do Business
    Perhaps your business doesn’t have anything to do with dentistry or hairstyling or automobiles, but every day you do business with dentists, hairstylists, and auto mechanics.  By contributing to the success of their business, you will gain their goodwill; to keep you as a customer, they’re inclined to help you secure customers of your own.  If you’ve been using their services for some time, these vendors probably know what you do and that you’re a reliable, trustworthy person.  Sometimes this is all the recommendation a potential client needs.

Now that you know more about the first four referral sources, why not start developing them now?  Reach out and connect with one person from at least two (or all four if you’re really motivated!) of these different referral sources this week and be sure to come back next week to learn about the last four of the eight referral sources. 

Only Focusing on ONE Referral Source Equals Missed Opportunity!

In this video, Cheryl Hansen, a Trainer and Franchisee with the Referral Institute, explains that most people tend to focus only on existing clients as their main source for business referrals and they neglect the seven other referral sources which they could be developing simultaneously to generate unlimited opportunity for new referred business!

Cheryl highlights community service organizations and casual contacts as just a couple of commonly untapped referral sources and urges businesspeople to start developing all eight of the referral sources which are outlined in the book The World’s Best Known Marketing Secret and listed below . . . which of them are you going to make a commitment this week to start developing?  Leave a comment and let us know . . .

The Eight Referral Sources:

  1. People in Your Contact Sphere
  2. Satisfied Clients
  3. People Whose Business Benefits from Yours
  4. Others with Whom You Do Business
  5. Staff Members
  6. People to Whom You’ve Given Referrals
  7. Anyone Who Has Given You Referrals
  8. Other Members of Business Referral Groups

If you’d like a more specific description of any of the eight referral sources, simply leave a request in the comments section–I’m more than happy to write a blog with further details regarding any/all of the above sources.

Too Much Visibility?–“Navigating the VCP Process(R) to Networking” Series

TR Garland (pictured with me in the photo below) is a friend of mine and co-author of one of my most recent #1 best-selling books called “Building The Ultimate Network.”  He’s also considered a top trainer for the Referral Institute. 

For some time now, we’ve both observed a need to drill down on one of the most important and foundational concepts to networking – The VCP Process®.  Two months ago, we started a much-anticipated 12-part monthly series of blog posts which addresses this and contains some very timely information for networkers across the globe.  Today, we’re proud to share with you Part 3 of the series.  Enjoy.

WHEN IS TOO MUCH VISIBILITY, WELL, TOO MUCH ‘VISIBILITY’?
(Part 3 of 12 of the “Navigating The VCP Process® To Networking” Series)

In Part 1 of this series, we introduced you to the moniker – The Networking Nomad™.  In short, this moniker describes the type of networker who appears to be misinterpreting the very definition of Business Networking.  Click here to review that blog post.  In Part 2 of this series, we recommended you understand that ‘perception is reality’ when it comes to networking – and we encouraged you to be careful about whether or not your network perceives you as a PREDATOR or a PARTNER.  Click here to review that blog post.

Today, we’d like you to give some serious thought to the very first letter in the VCP Process® to Networking.  In short, your goal should be to first enter Visibility with people, then perform activities that will help you build trust and Credibility with them, and finally through time and the strengthening of that relationship, they will most likely pass you consistent referrals in the Profitability stage.  After all, “It’s not who you know, it’s who knows you.

Years ago, only the elite networkers were privy to this powerful concept.  These days, chances are this valuable information has trickled down to the average networker.  This is both a good thing – and a bad thing.  From our perspective, the good thing is that the average networker is now aware of this concept.  The bad thing is that the average networker typically misinterprets and mismanages the implementation of this concept.  Don’t agree?  Please hear us out . . .

Remember the movie “A Few Good Men” with Jack Nicholson where he forcefully delivers the famous line “You want the truth?  You can’t handle the truth!”?  Well, the facts are clear and the truth in business networking is that the average networker’s strategy doesn’t focus on successfully navigating through the VCP Process® and doesn’t focus on finding Referral Partners whom they cultivate long term, mutually beneficial relationships with to provide them consistent referrals.  Or worse yet, the average networker has no strategy at all.

The goal of networking is to build the ultimate network of professionals who, when asked:

  • Can and will support you
  • Can provide you with information to make you more valuable
  • Can vouch for you
  • Can lend you their credibility when introducing you to people in their networks
  • Can refer to you on a consistent basis

If you put yourself out in the marketplace as a person of value, others will want to connect with you.  Your role is to expose yourself to your local business community in a valuable way so that people feel a personal connection with you and feel compelled to assist you.  Most people have no concept of this strategy.  That’s what makes it so potent.  And then the dilemma is that a large percentage of those exposed to this strategy will never do the hard work that it takes for success to become a reality.  But, as noted above, the average networker typically misinterprets this concept.

Here’s an example:

Ivan met a woman years ago who told him she was the consummate networker – 100’s of contacts and a wide-ranging network of people from all walks of life.  Then one day in a conversation with him, she dropped a bombshell and said her networking efforts weren’t paying off.  She went on at some length about all the groups she went to, people she met, and how she made all these contacts but wasn’t getting any business.  The truth is that she was so busy running around and making appearances that she wasn’t learning how to actually ‘work’ these networks and build deep relationships.

A music teacher once told his students: “Lousy practice makes a lousy musician.”  The same holds true for networking; lousy networking makes a lousy networker!  This is why “practice doesn’t make perfect – perfect practice makes perfect.”

In closing, we’d like to recommend that you consider reflecting back upon your own networking journey and ask yourself:  “Have you exhausted all opportunities in your local community to attend Business Networking and/or Referral Marketing Training workshops?  Have you sought out an expert or someone that has proven results from their networking efforts that you can ask to be your accountability partner?  And…if you have attended workshops in the past, what are the results you’re getting today?  If you’re not getting the number of referrals you expect, maybe it’s time to revisit those workshops?”

We thank you for reading today’s post and extend an invitation to be on the lookout for next month’s contribution to this series – Part 4 called “Expose Yourself!”

Business Networking and Sex: Survey Says . . . Networking Skills

In this short video, I discuss the five ways people learn to network, based on the results of the worldwide survey on which Business Networking and Sex is based.  The results clearly show that there is a vast difference between how men and women learn to network.

As I say at the end of the video . . . to all the men out there, please don’t shoot the messenger.  The survey data is what the survey data is. 😉

Health Update

As promised, when there is something important to announce, we would do so here on my blog.  I’m pleased to say that after meeting with my doctor this week to receive the results of last week’s CT and PET scans, I am happy to share with you that my cancer is localized within the prostate and has not spread anywhere else.

This gives me a lot more options regarding treatment protocols and more time to make decisions about which course to take.  As my doctor said to me when we spoke, “You got about as good of news as anyone with cancer can be given at this point.”

I’d like to thank all of you who have reached out with your personal messages.  They are truly appreciated.

Please keep your positive thoughts, prayers, and energy coming this way.

Work Positive in a Negative World

  Today I’d like to let you know about a fantastic book that I believe can be a great eye-opener and an invaluable resource for businesspeople around the world.  It’s called Work Positive in a Negative World: Redefine Your Reality and Achieve Your Business Dreams and it’s written by Dr. Joey Faucette who is an internationally known author, speaker, and coach.

The book arms business executives, managers, sales professionals, and people in every other industry you can imagine with the five core practices to creating success for themselves and their employees–perceive, conceive, believe, achieve, and receive.  Using the strategies outlined in the book will empower you to discover how to redefine your reality and change your focus from failures to successes, losses to leverages, and the negative to the positive.

What’s more important is that these strategies do not simply apply to business–they can dramatically improve your business and your life as well.  I was so impressed with Dr. Joey’s insights that I endorsed Work Positive in a Negative World by stating that the insights offered in the book provide a powerfully effective blueprint for achieving higher levels of success in all areas of  life, to the point where others will be specifically seeking you out because they want the chance to network with you!

I highly recommend the book and if you’d like to find out more about the book and download a free chapter, CLICK HERE.

To find out more about Dr. Joey, CLICK HERE.

If you’ve read the book already, I’d love to hear your thoughts on it–please leave a comment in the comments section.

 

Tim Houston on Why You Don’t Want to be a ‘9 to 5 Networker’

About a month ago I was in New York, home state of my good friend Tim Houston who is the author of a book I highly recommend called The World’s Worst Networker.  I had the opportunity to record this brief video with Tim to get his thoughts on a really interesting topic: ‘The 9 to 5 Networker.’

In the video, Tim explains what a 9 to 5 Networker is, why you definitely do not want to be one, and how to avoid becoming one/stop being one.  Says Tim, “The 9 to 5 Networker is one of the world’s worst networkers . . .”  These types of networkers are overlooking a very, very prominent network which is at their very fingertips and they confuse business acquisition with business transaction.

I agree with everything Tim says here and if you want to ensure you aren’t missing out on the huge opportunities that 9 to 5 Networkers are missing on a daily basis, I really encourage you to take the two minutes out of your day that it will take to watch this video.  After you’ve watched it, I’d love for you to leave your thoughts in the comments section . . . have you been guilty of 9 to 5 networking?  If so, after hearing Tim’s points, do you think you’ll rethink your 9 to 5 networking strategy?

The Facts about My New Health Challenge–EGBOK!

I announced on my social media pages last Thursday that I have a new challenge on the horizon–early stage prostate cancer.  The good news is, I am fully confident that everything is going to be okay (EGBOK!) because my primary doctor made the diagnosis last week very early on in the beginning stages of the cancer, which appears to be a slow-growing type that is immensely treatable.  What’s even better news is that this type of cancer has an 85-90% cure rate and my doctor has predicted full recovery for me just as many of his other male patients with this same diagnosis have achieved after undergoing treatment.

In addition to the traditional medical approach, I am also being treated by a team of doctors at the Center for Advanced Medicine in San Diego County.  The treatment includes a specialized regimen of nutritional support, including supplements and other alternative modalities.  One of the doctors treating me is Dr. Mark LaBeau, a BNI member–talk about your network being there to help when you really need it!

I am so thankful that this was found early and I can definitely now speak from experience about how important it really is to get the routine medical exams done which are recommended by  health practitioners for your age bracket and gender.  I have learned that often prostate cancer has no symptoms at all and IF symptoms do appear, it is usually when the cancer has become very advanced and difficult to treat–my doctor was only able to catch this so early because I made sure to go in some months back for the routine recommended procedure to check for things like prostate cancer in men around the age of 50.  The results of that procedure revealed an abnormality which required a subsequent biopsy procedure to be done and last week, I found out the results of the biopsy uncovered the presence of prostate cancer.  I am very, very lucky that this was caught in the beginning stages when the cancer is so treatable and I most certainly realize now, more than ever, the real importance of routine medical checkups, exams, and procedures.

I am sharing the facts about my diagnosis here today because I want to be completely transparent about what is going on and to assure everyone that I wholeheartedly believe “this too shall pass” and that I will be completely vital and healthy again post treatment.  As I’ve spent much of my life building relationships based on trust and teaching others how to generate positive word-of-mouth, I want to be sure I am maintaining the trust I’ve built with all those in my network by communicating honestly and directly and that I’m walking the walk to keep the word-of-mouth surrounding this focused on accurate information with no room or need for the invention of rumors.  In the weeks ahead, I promise to keep everyone informed of my progress and the state of my prognosis as it unfolds. I will be posting the most current, accurate, up-to-date information via the BNI Social media pages (www.facebook.com/BNIOfficialPage ; www.twitter.com/#!/bni_official_pg), my social media pages (www.facebook.com/IvanMisner.BNIFounder ; www.twitter.com/ivanmisner), and here on my blog.

I’ve received so many wonderful messages of encouragement from people since I announced my diagnosis on social media last week and I am very appreciative for all the kind words.  As I’ve said before, my wife Beth (pictured with me above) and I are beyond grateful to have the support of such an amazing network around the world–we really appreciate the love and thank everyone for their prayers.  Beth and I are confident that we’ll be able to look back on this as a challenging time from which much good came and the top-notch team of medical doctors we are currently consulting with has given us quite good reason to feel strong, positive, calm, and in great spirits!

Thank you so much to all those who have voiced concern and sent me kind words of encouragement (if anybody reading this would like to offer an encouraging story or comment, I’d love to hear it and you can post it in the comment section below)–I truly know EGBOK and I will certainly keep everyone updated as to how my treatment progresses. Thanks again everyone for all the support!

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