True or False – The More You Promote Yourself, the More Referrals You Get

Some people believe that the best way to get referrals for their business is to promote themselves in the traditional sense – talking about what they do.
Guess what? It’s not a particularly effective way of generating referrals because just talking about yourself is not enough–you need to teach people how to refer you to others.

You would think that people would listen when you describe what you do, and then they could naturally put two and two together when they come across someone who needs your product or service. Unfortunately, it usually doesn’t happen that way. People need to be led down the path to find referrals for you. You have to say, “This is what I do. Here is what you need to look for, and this is how you refer me.”

Referrals Are All Around Us

Every day, we all stand in the middle of a sea of referrals. They are all around us, they happen all the time. Yet unless we (and our potential referral sources) are trained to pick up on them or tune in to them, we remain oblivious to them. 

The secret is to train yourself and your sources to listen for the language of referrals. Tell them, “When someone says, ‘I can’t,’ ‘I need,’ ‘I want,’ or ‘I don’t know,’ whatever they say next is a possible referral for me.” 

Teach your referral partners to listen for words or phrases expressing a specific need related to your business, such as “I can’t get this lawnmower engine running right,” or “I’m not sure which tax form I need to use,” or “I want to remodel my living room, but I don’t know any good contractors.” One of these statements could translate into a referral for you or for someone you know.

Referral success arises from a system where information flows in both directions. The best approach is to first learn about other people’s business so you can find business for them instead of rushing to promote yourself. After you hear about their business, then you can explain to them what you do – that is, IF they are interested.

Talking About Yourself

When you do talk about yourself and what you do, be specific. Focus on only one or two parts of your business rather than naming everything you do as a long list.

Remember that you are the expert – there is nobody that knows your business as well as you do. Speak confidently about your expertise and your experience. And share your passion; you will be more memorable when people feel your connection with why you do what you do.

Professionals who focus on giving first and asking, “What can I do to help you?” rather than having an attitude of “What’s in it for me?” usually find more success in their business networking efforts. Maintaining a balance when promoting yourself, with an emphasis on the philosophy of Givers Gain®, is what will most effectively and efficiently bring you success in referral marketing.


Is there someone in your network whose business you are interested in knowing more about? Think about ways that you can get the ball rolling this week in to begin a discussion with them to learn about each other’s respective businesses.

3 thoughts on “True or False – The More You Promote Yourself, the More Referrals You Get

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *