Dealing With This Referral Frustration

Ep #283: Dealing With *This* Referral Frustration

Referrals are not an easy button. Yes, referrals are amazing and can work wonders for your business. However, it’s crucial to understand that they don’t come effortlessly. There is work involved in building and maintaining a referable business.

So, if you’re the type of person looking for a quick and easy solution, this podcast might not be for you. But if you’re ready to put in the effort and embrace the challenges, you’re in the right room!

Throughout this episode, I provide insights and tips on managing your expectations, overcoming frustrations, and staying focused. We provide valuable resources and tips to help you identify your existing referral sources and build a solid referral network. Remember, referrals are the best way to grow your business, and we’re here to guide you every step of the way!

Links Mentioned During the Episode:

Download our spreadsheet resource to correctly identify your existing referral sources, the people who are referring to you. It’s free and easy to use.

Want to join the Building a Referable Business™ coaching program or check it out to see if you’re a good fit? Your first step is to apply.

Next Episode:

Next episode is #284, which is another episode created with you and your needs in mind.

Download The Full Episode Transcript

Read the Transcript Below:

Stacey Brown Randall: Referrals are the best way to grow your business. But that doesn’t mean it’s snap your fingers easy. In fact, there can be some things that might frustrate you. And knowing about them, that they are possible, allows you to manage your expectations, keep your focus, and keep going.

Hey there, and welcome to episode 283 of the Roadmap to Referrals podcast, a show about helping you build a referable business. I’m your host, Stacey Brown Randall. My journey from a business failure to a successful business now 10 years in, I know generating referrals naturally and consistently has made all the difference. Working with clients around the world, we leverage the science of referrals, protect relationships above all else, and help you build a referable business.

I need to start this episode with a very strongly worded statement. Here it goes. If you are an easy button seeker, you’re in the wrong room.

Let me say that again. If you are looking for the easy button, you’re listening to the wrong podcast.

Yes, referrals are amazing. Yes, when they arrive, there seems to be a simplicity and a magic to them. And yes, it is really freaking fabulous. But that doesn’t mean there’s not work behind it.

And the truth is, if you’re a business owner and you’re always looking for the easy button, well, you’re always then in the wrong room.

Because while growing a business and running a business, it doesn’t have to be terrifyingly hard all the time, of course. But it’s going to stretch you. It’s going to challenge you. You’re going to have hard days. You’re going to have amazing days.

But running a business cannot be done with an easy button. And it’s the same thing when we’re thinking about referrals.

So let me say this again before I dive in. If you’re like, hey, I just need an easy button answer. I’m just looking to push an easy button and all my problems disappear. I’m looking to push an easy button and all my referrals show up. You’re in the wrong room.

It really doesn’t matter how good you are. And it doesn’t really matter how awesome your clients are. Running a business is going to stretch you. You’re going to have good days. You’re going to have bad days. It’s just a part of being a business owner.

And any business owner that’s been a business owner for, oh, I don’t know, two minutes can tell you that. Some things are terrifying, and some things are, could never have imagined how amazing it is.

So if you’re here hanging out with me week after week, listening to these podcast episodes, you more than likely believe that referrals are the best way to grow your business. And I hope that also means that you know it’s not snap your fingers easy.

In fact, there can be some things about referrals that might frustrate you. And knowing about them, that they are possible, allows you to manage your expectations, keep your focus, and keep going.

So we’re going to talk about three frustrations that do happen with referrals. There’s probably more. Actually, I know there’s more. I picked these three on purpose. But I think three is enough for one episode. And we will end on a high note. I will tell you the good news after we talk about these three frustrations.

All right, so here’s the first one. One frustration you may have to deal with is quality. The quality of the prospects, of those prospective clients, that are actually referred to you. Because just because they are referred to you doesn’t mean all those prospects will all be perfect clients. No one gets 100% ideal clients from referrals.

Sometimes it becomes a pattern for referral sources. And you can notice it’s becoming a pattern for referral sources, right? Like they’re always sending you people that you cannot help, that do not fit your ideal client profile, that are not the right fit for you.

And sometimes it’s just a one-off non-fit. You get a couple of good referrals and then you get one or maybe two that aren’t so great of a fit. It happens. And it is okay for us to say that it is not awesome, but it’s reality. So you need to expect it.

I need to make sure the people who are listening for the first time, if you’re a new listener to this podcast, you’re like a first-time listener. Hey, how are you? We love you. Thanks so much for being here. Some of this may be a little harder to hear than you’re anticipating. Because we say referrals, and we think, magic, easy, fabulous. Oh, I don’t have to do a ton of work, and I get these clients to show up.

Because if you don’t have processes in place and strategies in place and a plan of attack in place to generate referrals, they show up whenever they darn well please, which usually isn’t all that often. And it does feel magical, and it does feel awesome. But most of the time, we get to the place where we’re like, okay, now how do I make more of those happen? And that’s a good place to be, right?

If you’re here and you’re listening for the first time and you’re finally like, okay, I want to learn more about referrals. Or for those of you who’ve been with me and listening to this podcast, you listen to every single episode. You’re my diehard listeners. Hey, I love you guys too. You know this because I’ve talked about this, and I will continue to talk about this because sometimes we need the reminder.

Sometimes we’re hearing it for the first time and sometimes we need the reminder. And sometimes you need the reminder so that you’ll actually hear it.

And so when people come up to me, like, I just get back from a conference. And that’s not typically how I handle this podcast, because I typically batch everything. And some things happened, and I wasn’t able to. And so I was like, you know what? This could be an interesting podcast episode to do once I get back from this conference. I think I was just trying to make myself feel better that it didn’t get done before I left as the batch for the November episodes.

And so at the time of this recording, I just got back from a conference, and I would have people come up to me, and they would be like, I get referrals, but some of them aren’t my ideal client.

And there was two parts to that question. There was this disappointment, like something’s wrong. And then there was the, and please tell me there’s a way to fix it, right? It was always two parts. It was never just one or the other.

If you get referrals and they’re not the perfect fit for your business, your referral source isn’t wrong. You’re not wrong. There’s not something wrong. That’s reality.

I had somebody ask me about when they’re talking about their ideal client, what should they say? And I was like, whatever you want the other person to remember. So what’s the one thing? Because we’re lazy, and we remember you for one thing.

Years ago, I used to do more than just referrals. I used to do goal, this reverse goal setting process. I had a goal finishers club, like all these things that I haven’t done since like 2020, 2021. Because I went in a couple of years ago and I like retired a ton of stuff. And I was like, Stacey, you’re going to force your brain to just do referrals. And you’re going to grow from there.

Because I’m like every other, I guess, entrepreneur out there in the world. And I’m like, ooh, but I’m good at this. And I’m good at this. And I can do this. And I can figure out how to sell that. And I can market that. And this is all great. And now I get to have other things.

But the reality of it is, when that person came up to me and they asked me that question, they’re like, yeah, so how do I get the type of referrals I want? I’m trying to figure out what I tell people when they’re asking how they can help me, or we’re having a conversation about business, or whatever it is. And they’re like, I can do this, I can do this, I can do this.

I’m like, yeah, what’s the one thing you want them to remember? Because that’s all it’s going to be, and it’s one thing.

It’s no different than when I say, you’re going to get referrals and it’s going to be amazing. And guess what? They’re not all going to be perfect clients. They’re not all going to be perfect fits. Guess what’s the other side of this coin? They’re not all going to say yes to you either, no matter how perfect they are.

I can’t tell you how many times I have conversations with potential clients that were referred to me by somebody else who’s had amazing results in my program, and that person doesn’t say yes to working with me. And I am like, no, because I can help you and it’ll be amazing, and you’ll be my next success story and I will help change your business. And I know I can do it because you are perfect for me to help.

There are people I still have conversations with a year later because I believe that what I do can help them. But I can’t help them unless they want to be helped, and neither can you. So not only will you get referrals that are not perfect quality, you will also get perfect quality referrals that don’t say yes to you.

It’s a frustration. Acknowledge it. Own it. But then bless it and release it. Because it is a reality of what it’s going to look like when it comes time to generate more and more referrals.

Now remember, this is gonna get positive as we get to the end of the episode.

Okay, let’s talk about another frustration. It will take time, maybe more than you want to give. I am always quick to tell people, “Referrals, and I, are not your Hail Mary.”

If your business only has three months or six months to turn the corner and make it or you’re going to have to go back and get a job or do something else, I’m going to tell you not to hire me. Not because I don’t believe that I can teach you what you need to do to become successful. That’s by the evidence, the clients that I have who hit awesome results in less than 90 days.

It’s because your mindset, the worrying if you’re gonna make it, questioning everything, will get in the way of the referral process being able to work.

You have to come into this with a long game mentality. You have to think about this, yes, what are you gonna get in your first year, or what are you gonna get in your first 90 days, six months, first year, right? But also, what will you still be receiving three years from now, five years from now, seven years from now, 12 years from now?

And here’s another version of time frustration. You might have to move slower than you prefer.

When we’re all on board about getting referrals, we’re like, we’re in. I see it with people when they join my coaching program, Building a Referable Business. When they join the coaching program, they’re all on board about getting referrals. And we want to see it happen. That is important.

So when I tell a client to start implementing a strategy, and then it calls for them to wait two weeks or two months to do the next step in that strategy, that can be frustrating. They’re like, why can’t I do all the steps right now? I’m like, because these are humans on the other side. and we’re going with a rhythm. We’re hitting a specific cadence. We’re not trying to do one thing and believe it’s gonna unleash all the referrals we need in one day that we need for a year.

Here’s the other hard thing I want you to hear me say: Your frustration is irrelevant.

I know, I know, I know. Like writing those words down, I was like, oh, I sound so mean. But I’m a truth teller, and I’m going to give it to you straight. I like being a straight shooter. That doesn’t always mean you like what’s coming out of my mouth, and I recognize that.

Your frustration that you want it to happen faster or that you have to go slower than you want for a strategy to work, that frustration you feel, it’s irrelevant. It would be like a client of a financial advisor giving him or her all of their money and then looking at them with a straight face and saying, don’t lose any of it. That’s not how it works.

And if, actually not if, that’s a crazy thing, when some of it is lost, which is not typically the financial advisor’s fault, it will then take time to build back up.

Or another example, it’s like an interior designer promising or guaranteeing that absolutely nothing will be delayed, backordered, or discontinued that they choose at the beginning of the design project.

Thinking about those two examples, the financial advisor who will lose none of your money and an interior designer who is like, nothing will go wrong in this process as we get to install date. I mean, I can hear them snickering right now because they’re like, yeah, that stuff happens.

Guess what? It’s no different in referrals. It’s no different in referrals.

So if your frustration with referrals is that it’s going to take time, you’re in the wrong room. If you can’t acknowledge that frustration, realize that it’s kind of irrelevant for the process being able to work, and you’ve got to move on and let it go. You’ve got to bless it and release it.

It’s not that it’s not normal for you to be frustrated that it’s taking time. But if that frustration causes you to do things that are out of what I’m teaching you or causes you to believe that it’s not working because it’s not working on your timetable, you’re not getting it.

Because that’s just what it looks like. That’s not how it works. Right? Your frustration is irrelevant.

Now, I want to be really clear about me saying your frustration is irrelevant. Some frustration is very relevant. Absolutely.

We teach 19 different strategies inside my coaching program. Not all of them work the exact way we would dream for them to work, because there are variables, and there are situations, and there’s other humans on the receiving end.

So I’m not saying you can’t be like, oh, that didn’t work the way I was hoping it would, right? That’s normal. That can be relevant. What I am talking about is you having this idea that something about this should be going faster or that you’re annoyed that you have to slow down for the process to work. And if you don’t, you’re going to mess it up. That frustration is what I’m talking about is irrelevant.

Stacey Brown Randall: Hey there, pardon the interruption. To make progress with referrals in your business, really, you shouldn’t go it alone. If you want to double, triple, or quadruple your referrals, then let me give you the roadmap and show you exactly how to do it. Join me, plus the other members inside the coaching program, Building a Referable Business. Join us today. Find out all the details of the program and the link to complete your application at Now back to the episode.

Stacey Brown Randall: Here’s the last frustration I want to talk about, because let’s be honest, three really is enough for an episode. The plan might have to change based on what’s happening.

Have you ever heard that saying, the most important part of every plan is planning on your plan not going according to plan? Such a good one. And frustrating, right? Irrelevant, but frustrating, but real. And I know this works actually both ways.

Sometimes a client of mine has amazing, fast success, like 30 referrals in just a couple of months. As was the case with a CPA in my program. They’ll get dozens and dozens and dozens of referrals, and they’ll do it in a very short amount of time. And that actually will cause us to shift the plan.

Sometimes, not always, but sometimes we’re going to slow down rolling out that next strategy while the company adjusts to capacity. Some companies are ready for it and capacity is not an issue. We don’t have to slow down for that. But sometimes we do. Sometimes it’s like, whoa, it happened. Now I got to pull back.

We have somebody else in the program. They got all these referrals in their first 90 days, and they were like, oh my gosh, I have to be able to adjust to handle this. And so it wasn’t like, let’s dive in to the next strategy. They were like, oh, wait a minute, I’m going to give myself 30 days to regroup and move forward. So the idea is that it didn’t go according to plan.

I mean, here’s the thing. We got what we wanted. It just came faster than some people are ready for and then we have to adjust. And that’s okay.

But here’s the thing. Please note that I said slowly. Like, we adjusted the strategy. We adjusted the plan. We shifted the plan. Note, I said slowing down, maybe pausing. But I did not use the word stop, because you can’t do that. But the opposite may happen as well.

I have another member of my coaching program that deliberately built her business with a slow and steady mindset, focusing on client referrals. It wasn’t the only type of referral she was focusing on, but it was where she was starting from, with a focus on getting referrals from her clients.

She was still looking at others outside of clients as well. And her goal to hit double-digit referrals, like more than 10 in a year, which she had never done, was amazing. And guess what? She did it. She hit her goal before the end of her first year.

And so moving into the next year, she kept the same strategy. But then the economic slowdown impacted her referrals. So her plan did not necessarily go according to plan. And now she’s shifting. She’s not stopping. She’s not even pausing. She’s like, wait, okay, readjust. And this is good. This is so good. I love that. And I can’t wait to help her restructure the variation of her plan to tackle different referrals as we move into the next year.

Like that stuff always makes me happy. Because it’s not about like, I have to put this into place, and it has to work perfectly or somehow it’s not valuable. No, because there’s going to be things that happen.

It’s like the person who is like, I’m going to do Facebook ads based on this algorithm, and it’s going to work for the next 10 years. Ha-ha, good luck with that. That is not how it works, right? And so some would look at a good year with referrals and then a down year as some kind of failure. It’s not. It can be reality. And it can be dependent on what’s happening inside and outside of the business. And it’s going to impact some industries more than others.

The most important thing was that she adjusted. She was like, before that down year was even over, she was like, okay, we’re doing this different. We’re looking at this different. We’re building out a different plan. And we have the strategies to support that inside the coaching program. So that wasn’t a big deal.

It’s like, yeah, we’re going to shift here. We’re going to take this piece of the strategy, and you’re going to apply it differently, which she didn’t want to do or needed to do earlier on. And that it’s going to work, which is going to be great.

Okay, frustrations aside, here is the good news. You can solve all of these issues or these frustrations if you can adjust. Sometimes you got to adjust your expectations and your mindset. Sometimes you need to adjust the strategies that you’re implementing or the pace at which you’re moving. This is about adjustment.

It’s why I teach so many different situational strategies to my clients. How to deal with quality issues, how to deal with getting referrals that are not quality. It’s like one, right? It’s like there are 13 different situational strategies that I teach that you may or may not deal with. So you may or may not have to go through that situational strategy training. But if quality is your issue, we got it. You won’t be the first or the last to deal with quality issues.

So if you’re willing to adjust, if you’re willing to learn the next thing to get better, to refine your referral approach, we got you covered. Because all of these issues, let me say this again, all of these frustrations, all of these issues, they can be solved, but you’re going to have to adjust.

Sometimes it’s your mindset. Sometimes it’s your pace. And sometimes it’s the strategy you’re deploying.

With all the strategies that we teach, it’s why I don’t teach referrals are a nail and all I’m gonna give you is a hammer. That’s why they’re so different. There are 13 situational strategies that I know you may deal with, and you won’t be the first and you won’t be the last. And as we add more clients to our program and we get different questions, we just create situational strategies from that perspective as well.

And that’s also why there’s more than just one foundational strategy. So you can learn how to generate referrals from more than just your clients that you think will be a good fit to refer you. You can also generate referrals from centers of influence or industry partners or trade partners or those already referring you, regardless of what type of referral source they are.

You have to pay attention to what’s happening in your business on all levels, on all fronts, and referrals is no different.

This is why I’m such a huge proponent of tracking. I talk about it a lot, particularly if you’re consuming a lot of my free content, you’re seeing it. I’m doing reels about it, even though I don’t love doing reels. I’m doing reels about, hey, you need to know, who are your existing referral sources, who are the people who are already referring you?

It’s why we have a resource you can download for free. It’s the template that my clients use when they start working with me to identify their existing referral sources.

One of my favorite things being at the conference that I was just at was having people come up and they’re like, okay, I did it. I did the homework. And I was like, what homework? And they’re like, no, when you told us to identify the existing referral sources, I downloaded the template and I did it.

And I was like, tell me what you saw. Tell me what you found. And they’re like, oh my gosh, right? Because it’s empowering. Even if the results aren’t great, it’s still empowering to know where you’re starting from or what is reality for you.

And so the idea here is, as you are thinking through making referrals a big part of 2024, of the next year in your business, you do need to make the commitment that you’re going to do the things you need to do, to do the work you need to do to generate referrals.

You do need to make sure that you are learning from somebody who is not just teaching you what has worked for them. But it’s teaching you what works consistently with strategies that are proven to work with different people, lots of different people, and can be adjusted based on your situation, which means there’s probably going to be a multitude of things that they teach you.

Because referrals are never a nail, and all the solutions are a hammer. That’s asking advice. People who believe that referrals are a nail, and the only advice I’m going to give you to how to solve it is a hammer, and that hammer’s name is ask for them, they see everything as one way, but it’s not. It’s totally different. There’s a whole ecosystem there of how referrals operate and reveal themselves, or don’t, inside your business.

And so as you think about moving into this new year, you really need to think about, if I want more referrals, I’m going to have to be willing to commit, willing to do the work, and willing to know that frustrations will come along with the process. It is a part of the process. It just is. And it is for all of us.

Frustrations can be solved if you are willing.

Okay, the resources mentioned in this episode, like the resource that I mentioned to identify your existing referral sources, and then, of course, the things that we talk about in this episode can be found on the show notes page for this episode at

All right, we’re back with another great episode next week created with you and your needs in mind. Until then, you know what to do, my friend. Take control of your referrals and build a referable business. Bye for now.


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