All through a recession, I coached a creative agency from a million in annual revenue to $22 million in $18 months using my referral gadget. In the previous 18 months, they had been a $four million dollar enterprise. They had been losing the floor. They ran several steeply-priced advertising campaigns and weren’t getting any enterprise from them. Their best assignment becomes getting sufficient possibilities to do business that generated enough earnings for them to grow.
I requested in the event that they had any strong relationships that could refer commercial enterprise to them. They assumed that if a person desired to refer commercial enterprise to them they would have done it via now. At one time, they were looking to get referrals with the aid of saying, “Who do you know that is approximately to do some new products that you may refer us to?” This got no outcomes so that they cease asking.
Via the system that I am going to percentage with you, we were able to get 279 names of those who could refer them to possibilities to get more business. We centered our attention on the pinnacle of 16 maximum influential relationships and asked them to attach us with individuals who may want to advantage from their carrier. In only 6 months, they grew from $2 Million to $10 Million. And in 18 months, that they had grown to $22 million annual sales. But earlier than I inform you how we did that, I might like to tell you a little approximately my adventure of gaining knowledge of the way to get a big quantity of referrals to make my own enterprise profitable.
Locating common floor
The finest assignment for lots of groups is they don’t know the right manner to ask for referrals. In my first five years in the commercial enterprise as a financial guide, I had an identical mission. Just like the development corporation, I’d ask my customers, “Who do you already know…?” This became met with many clean seems. It was this kind of wide query that no person knew the way to solve. They had a difficult time arising with names.
In the few instances, I was capable of getting referrals, the individual that referred me to their pals did so because they’d something in commonplace the one’s humans. So, as opposed to “Who do you know,” I started out to ask these styles of questions: “wherein did you grow up? What sorts of companies do you belong to? What are your favored activities for amusing?” I discovered that if I asked questions in four classes, it usually brought about commonplace ground. The one’s categories are pastimes, pastimes, life-style, and values (circle of relatives and network).
Harold and Clara Jane Johnson were a couple in their seventies and one of my favorite clients. When I asked, “What are your favorite things to do for fun?” They said, “We LOVE square dancing!” They told me how much fun they have when they go dancing and how they love the people in the group. I asked how many members there were in the square dancing club. He said, “311. Would you like to come to one of our square dance nights? Most of our members will be there.” Knowing I would likely feel foolish at a square dance, I said, “Absolutely!”
Getting a Personal Introduction
At a break in the music at the dance, Harold took the microphone and from the stage said, “I want to take just a minute and introduce you all to my amazing financial advisor. He’s the reason why we’re retired and we never have to worry about money. If you get a chance, you ought to sit down and see what he has to say.” I couldn’t have asked for a better endorsement!
During our next meeting, I asked Harold and Clara Jane what people I should work with from their square dance club. Harold took out the directory and marked 156 names that he would be happy to refer to me in person, either through a phone call or meeting. And that is when it really clicked. People will refer you to people that they have something in common with that many times has absolutely nothing to do with business. I asked Harold why he hadn’t referred me to these people previously. He said, “I thought you were too busy to take on any more clients!”
Thinking in Categories
Building on what I learned about the power of finding common ground with individuals, I created a process to get referrals from businesses. I call this exercise the “Wheel, Hub and Spokes.” You can use this to get referrals from other businesses, whether they are your clients or not. And, you can use this exercise to show other business owners how to get referrals and get referrals yourself while doing it.
I want you to imagine for a minute that you were sitting down with a financial advisor and you are going to show them how to get referrals. Take a blank piece of paper and draw a big circle, like a wheel. In that circle, about a third of the size of the original circle in the middle, draw another circle. It should look like a doughnut. We’re going to call this the hub. In the center of the hub, you’ll write the type of business you want to get referrals for. So in this example, in the hub, we’ll write “financial advisor.”
A financial advisor has many categories that they connect to on a pretty consistent basis. We want to think about some of the primary connections that a financial advisor has. For example, they might have a relationship with an estate attorney. So, between your hub and the wheel, draw a straight line that looks like a spoke. On that line, write the words “estate attorney.” Then, draw another spoke and write accountant and another spoke, write a property and casualty insurance agency. We can continue around the wheel adding several spokes with many categories.
If this financial advisor works with business owners a lot, add spokes for business categories. For example, a business broker could be a good person for a financial advisor to work with. You could also add companies that specialize in staffing, web, technology, payroll, and property management.
Then we might switch gears a little bit. What are some associations they might be connected with? Are they connected to any chambers of commerce? Next, you might add a spoke for clients. Or add multiple spokes for clients, where you could write what type(s) of business clients that they work with, focusing on the categories where they’d like to increase clients.
Getting Names from Categories
If you were teaching a financial advisor how to get referrals and get more business, you first help them to think about possible categories where referrals might come from. As they’re looking at various categories and you get clear about those, then you can dig into names. As an example, there’s probably more than one insurance agent. They probably belong to more than one association. Work with them to write down the names of people representing the categories you wrote on the spokes.
This was the exercise I used when I was working with a construction company. We used “general contractor” in the middle and started thinking of subcontractors, advisors, various outsource, and vendors. As a result of all those relationships, we came up with 81 categories for our spokes. We came up with 279 possible names for those spokes. If you started out with that many names, how many referrals do you think you could get? Do you think you could get more business doing this?
Now do this exercise using your own company as the hub You can use relationships that you work with as spokes, then go to each of those relationships and show them how to do this using their companies as the hub. As you help other business owners come up with sources for referrals, you can combine your lists of categories and names with other business owners and start working together. And when you help each other find common ground with people on your lists, imagine how many referrals that you could get!
Earl Kemper, two-time global coach of the year in the world’s largest business coaching organization, ActionCOACH Business Coach, is the authority on developing strategic alliances and getting referrals. Over the past 28 years, he has successfully coached more than 1,100 individuals who on average, double their business in less than nine months. Referrals and teaching others how to get referrals to continue to be his number one source of new business for his company, ActionCOACH Empowerment. To learn more about how to get referrals, increase clients, get more business and make your business profitable, contact Earl Kemper at