myth about referrals we shouldn't believe

The Lies We Believe About Referrals

The holy grail of bringing in a new client is referrals. Of all the business development or sales tactics – referrals is the most coveted of all. Most people want them because they understand how powerful they are.

We understand referrals are powerful because the referred prospective client, or referral, is “dropped into our laps” knowing they have a problem they need to solve and trust us (a key in deciding to buy) thanks to our referral source which means the prospect is quicker and easier to close.

A referral is also less price sensitive because our value has already been established by the person referring us.

Because we understand the power of a referral, we know why we want them.

But there is so much misinformation on how to generate them or even what a referral truly is that myths – or lies – about referrals have been created. And believing these lies about referrals keep us from trying to generate them. We need to unpack these referrals myths so we can understand what is true and what is not.

To make this article easy to follow and digest, I have broken it down into 6 sections representing the myths.

Section 1: Why Referrals Are So Misunderstood
Section 2: The Top 5 Referral Myths
Section 3: The Fear Based Myths (Myth #1 and #2)
Section 4: The Incentivize Myth (Myth #3)
Section 5: The Time Suck Myth (Myth #4)
Section 6: The Control Factor Myth (Myth #5)

But before we dive into the top 5 myths we believe about referrals, let’s look at why referrals are so misunderstood because it is our collective misunderstanding that has led to these lies being established.

SECTION 1: Why Referrals Are So Misunderstood

Referrals are misunderstood because we don’t define them correctly or understand how to generate them.

For decades the definition of a referral – a true referral – has been diluted. The definition has been made murky because we have broadly applied the definitions of other sales terms as referrals using them interchangeably like an “introduction” is a referral (it is not, for the record).  In addition, sales lingo terms have been smashed together with referrals, creating terms like the “word of mouth referral” or “referral marketing.” It seems we will slap the “referral label” on just about anything without realizing the disservice we are doing to this powerful client generation strategy.

The WHAT of a Referral

It seems that if the prospect has any level of “warmth” (meaning not a cold lead), we say the prospect is a referral when nothing could be further from the truth. When I hear people describe a warm lead, introduction or word-of-mouth buzz as a referral, it’s clear they are fuzzy on what a referral is, the actual definition of a referral. And it is dangerous to think any type of prospect sales lingo (sales lingo = sales term) like an introduction is a referral because it sets us up for disappointment. Let’s unpack the true definition of a referral and why we shouldn’t confuse referrals with other sales terms.

Here is the definition of the common sales terms that are often confused with referrals.

  • A Warm Lead.  A warm lead is the name and maybe contact information of a potential prospect that is given to you by someone else (your contact) who doesn’t connect you with the warm lead and may not have identified a real reason why the prospect would want to meet with you.
  • An Introduction. An introduction is when your contact connects you with someone else without clearly identifying why they are making the connection. What you want is the why…that the person being connected with you needs to become a client.
  • Word-of-Mouth Buzz.  Word-of mouth buzz is when a contact of yours has talked to a potential prospect and identified that the prospect has a need you can solve but your contact fails to connect you to the prospect. Effectively they say awesome things about you and why the prospect should hire you but leave it up to the potential prospect to reach out to you.

Each of these three – warm lead, introduction, and word-of-mouth buzz – are lacking one of both of the two parts that make a referral a referral. To be a referral you need two keys that in some way the other terms are lacking.

1) You need to have a real need identified in the prospect. Meaning a problem, pain, or issue that needs to be solved. And the identification of the need happens through a conversation with someone they trust (your contact or referral source) and your contact suggests you as the solution because they believe you can solve the prospect’s problem.

2) You need to have a connection made between you and the potential prospect. And that connection is made by your contact.  Typically the connection is made over email and in the email the contact provides the reason for the connection, letting you know the prospect has a need that they believe you can solve.

When we apply the wrong definitions (like calling an introduction a referral), we give the wrong impression of what a referral actually is, which dilutes its power.  The same goes for the over-use of the term “referral marketing.”

Let’s Put “Referral Marketing” to Bed

Truth is, in the beginning, even I have misused it…referring to the idea of generating referrals as “referral marketing” because the business world has defined it that way for so long. And I had yet to uncover where referrals fit within the sales strategy. Once I figured out how referrals relate to prospecting and marketing, how to go about generating referrals became crystal clear.

When we think of generating referrals as one of our “marketing tactics” we approach the process differently.  Like thinking if I stay in touch – with those postcard mailers or emailed newsletters – then I have done the work to generate referrals.  But referrals don’t happen, especially in a consistent way, because you stayed in touch.  It takes much more than that. A referral is someone putting their reputation on the line for someone they care about.

Referrals need their own plan in your business, separate from your prospecting plan and separate from your marketing plan. You need to follow different “activities” with a different mindset when it comes to generating referrals.

RELATED: Where Referrals Fit into Your Sales Strategy

Okay, so now that we are clear on the WHAT of referrals – the true definition of what makes a referral a referral – let’s focus on the other part of referrals that truly confuses people.  The HOW.

The HOW of a Referral

Most people are confused on how you generate a referral. When I ask business owners and professionals how they think they are supposed to generate referrals I receive a few key misguided answers. The answers are about how to ask, when to ask, promotional gimmicks to use or when to manipulate feelings of reciprocity. Or the answers are about not being sure how you generate referrals – they just happen, based on luck, not predictable.  Or the answers center on the time it takes to make referrals happen or how big your network needs to be.

Why do we believe we have to ask for referrals, or spend a lot of time working to receive them or believe we have no control over them?

It seems that the majority – like 97% – of the articles we can find online speak directly to asking for referrals.  Just google “how to get referrals” and articles upon articles will tell you how to ask.

And consider some of the most popular books on referrals – they discuss how to ask, how to network or how to use some other gimmicks to generate referrals.

One-sided information and incorrect beliefs have created the myths or lies we believe about referrals, which is keeping most people from truly enjoying referrals.

Let’s look in-depth at the five top myths people believe about referrals.

SECTION 2: The Top 5 Referral Myths

Confusion drives a number of referral myths. Confusion as to what a referral is and what it takes to really generate them.

By definition a myth is not real…but since it is so widely held, it feels really, really real.

For almost a decade, I have been teaching business owners how to generate referrals by not following the traditional, old-school, conventional advice. And there is one question I love to ask to gauge how deep someone’s belief is rooted in that traditional advice. The question I ask is, “What is the one thing that holds you back from consistently generating referrals?”

The answers – hundreds and hundreds of them – all fall within the same 5 categories, the same 5 referral myths.

The good news…thank goodness these referral myths aren’t real.

Let’s take a look at each of them and then over the next few sections I’ll dive in deeper to each of them.

  1. To receive, I must ask and that makes me uncomfortable.
  2. To receive, I have to network and know a ton of people.
  3. I have to pay or incentivize to receive them.
  4. It takes so much time, time I don’t have.
  5. Receiving referrals cannot be controlled, you just hope they happen.

The first two myths – I must ask or know a ton of people – are fear based and the 3rd myth is all about money. The 4th and 5th myth are based on an incorrect perception of time and control.

The “fear factor” is driven by the belief that I have to ask for referrals which makes me and those I’m asking uncomfortable.  Plus, I have to be “out there” getting to know lots and lots and lots people through lots and lots and lots of networking. Which even the most outgoing, extroverted and social person would dread over time.

This then leads to beliefs that generating referrals takes a ton of time, time none of us probably have.  All that time networking, all that time preparing to ask, all those meeting in which I have to ask…all. that. time.

And if you toss in that you might have to pay for referrals and cannot control any part of receiving them…then it only makes sense that you would decide receiving referrals is just not a business development strategy that you should pay much attention to.  The attitude becomes “why bother?”

But, even with all these myths swirling around that turn people off, referrals have an allure…as they should.  Despite these myths, people are still interested in how to receive them.

Because we all know, ultimately, referrals are the best way to receive new clients.

Naturally we want them, but we get stuck believing the only ways to generate referrals will make us uncomfortable (asking), or that you must act inauthentic, or waste a huge amount of time.

We need to shift our beliefs about referrals so we’re open to taking different action. To do that we have to acknowledge where these myths/beliefs come from.   

Our myths are driven by the messages we have been exposed to repeatedly, and those messages become the beliefs we believe and drive our actions or in-actions (in the case of referrals).

It is time we get our facts straight.

In the upcoming sections, I will dive deeper and break apart the myths that to receive referrals you need to ask, or focus your energy on a ton of networking, or dedicate a massive amount of time to have success, or pay for referrals, or that receiving referral – without asking – cannot be controlled.

All of these myths are false – they are just lies – and I’ll prove it. But to get our facts straight when it comes to generating referrals we have to dissect the myths, unpack the evidence and then provide a successful, proven alternative.

Ready? Let’s go!

SECTION 3: Fear Based Myths (Myth #1 and #2)

The top two myths of generating referrals are fear-based.  It includes the fear of asking people you know and don’t know for referrals and the fear of having to know a ton of people to generate referrals. Let’s look at these two fears deeper.


It seems that fear has a stranglehold on people’s ability to generate referrals.

Here’s exactly what I hear when I ask, “What holds you back from consistently generating referrals?”:

“I hate calling referrals sources and asking them for referrals.”

“Not knowing how to ask for referrals without feeling sleazy.”

“Fear of calling and meeting with people.”

“Afraid of putting myself out there.”

“I feel like I will annoy people.”

“Feeling pushy about it. Also, what if they don’t really like me to refer me?”

“Hiding in my office.”

“Asking the right people at the right time, I don’t want to alienate friends.”

“Networking isn’t one of my favorite things.”

“Lack of confidence.”

Their fear – represented of hundreds of answers I have received when I ask what stands in the way of consistently generating referrals – comes from the misconception of how you should generate referrals.

The two major incorrect notions on how to generate referrals are:

  1. You have to ask for referrals
  2. You need to be “out there” with calling and networking and knowing lots and lots of people

These incorrect notions are based on the incorrect assumption that you have to be front and center – always – to receive referrals from others. Front and center by constantly asking and by being seen.

Let’s tackle the fear of asking.

Understanding Our Fear of Asking (and making it go away)

Believing that you have to ask to generate referrals brings up a lot of issues like dreading the feeling of being uncomfortable when we ask our friends, associates and other business professionals for a referral. Our uncomfortable-ness is only compounded by knowing we’re making the person we are asking uncomfortable as well.

Asking for a referral feels a lot like a cold call.

You know the person picking up the phone doesn’t want to be pitched or sold to when you make a cold call. It is the same with asking for a referrals.

It makes people uncomfortable on both sides of the ask… whether you are doing the asking or being asked.


The reason why we are uncomfortable asking for referrals is because we are manufacturing and forcing a referral.  A manufactured referral is one you ask for, where you are attempting to artificially create or “manufacture” a vital piece of the referral process that must occur naturally.

So what is this vital piece of the referral process?  What is it that cannot be manufactured or artificially created?

It is the need, problem or pain the prospective client has and their willingness to solve it. When I acknowledge I have a need and I want to consider solving it, then I’m open to being referred to you and willing to meet with you.

When you attempt to artificially create the pain, need or problem by asking your referral source or contact to “come up with” people who need what you do, you force the referral process. And unfortunately once forced, the referral process rarely works.

RELATED: Manufactured Referrals Never Work

The reason why referrals are so powerful is because prospective new clients have already identified their need (the problem to solve) and is open to meeting with someone who can solve their problem.

The good news is that you don’t have to ask to generate referrals, in fact if you are asking you’re going about generating referrals all wrong.

Why We Think We Have to Ask (Myth #1)

We believe we have to ask for referrals because asking has been the only advice available.

Most books on generating referrals are focused on asking for referrals, like:

Million Dollar Referrals by Alan Weiss

Work by Referral by Brian Buffini

Get More Referrals Now by Bill Cates

And articles are published – every year – providing answers to generating referrals with one main solution…to ask.  Articles like:

How to Ask for Referrals

25 Way to Ask for a Referral Without Looking Desperate

15 Ways to Ask for Referrals

It’s no wonder that we think to generate referrals we have to ask because that is the advice the experts and gurus have been telling us for decades. And from their advice we have come to believe that if we don’t ask, then we won’t receive referrals.

Thank goodness that’s wrong.

Why We Think We Have to Know a Ton of People (Myth #2)

The other fear we have when it comes to generating referrals is that we have to know a ton of people so we can consistently generate referrals. And to know all of these people – hundreds and hundreds of them – it means a lot of networking, attending a bunch of networking groups or joining “leads” groups (sometimes cleverly disguised – incorrectly – as “referral” groups).

Now for some people, the idea that you need to get to know a ton of people to generate referrals is not a problem. Some people love to network and meet new people. But this advice teaches you that you only generate referrals when you are “out and about” – which means you are going to be “out and about” a lot and that won’t be the best use of your time when you have a business to run.

For others, the idea of a ton of networking is a draining and an uncomfortable activity. They would rather pull out their fingernails (yes, someone said that to me before) than spend a lot of time standing around trying to talk to strangers.

Most of us fall somewhere in-between. We don’t mind some networking but we dread the idea of spending hours and hours in a state of constant networking.

So where did the idea “you need to know a ton of people to generate referrals” come from?

Well, from the same place the advice “to ask” came from.  There are referral books and articles on how to network, when to network, and what to say when networking so that when we read one – thinking we are learning how to generate referrals – we believe that to generate referrals involves a lot of networking.

There is a better way to generate referrals without asking and without knowing hundreds and hundreds of people.

But before I dive into it…I want to unpack the other three myths.

SECTION 4: The Incentivize Myth (Myth #3)

I couldn’t locate when researching the history of referrals the exact moment the notion began that referrals should be bought. But based on a few changing trends over time, you can trace why many people believe – incorrectly – that it’s necessary for you pay a direct commission or incentive for referrals.

At the heart of the issue is when we see something working in one industry, we apply it to our own industry or situation.  But our application typically happens without understanding the nuances of why it works in the original industry.

Common Practice in Some Industries

In some industries there is a common and acceptable practice of paying a commission on a sale in an affiliate or joint venture relationship.  But in those relationships the commission is disclosed up front, so everyone – including the buyer (the clients) – is aware of the payment. Two examples of this are in the real estate and the online information industries.

Since the paying of a commission is disclosed – in writing – in advance of the purchase, it allows the buyer of the product or service the time and opportunity to consider the “strings attached” to the offer.  Some won’t see it as “strings attached” and some will.  But the beauty of upfront disclosure keeps the offer honest for all parties involved.

For example – if you are buying or selling a home and a realtor offers to connect you to another realtor who can help you (example you’re moving to a different state) – the realtor who makes the “referral” typically stands to make a 25% commission if you end of purchasing or selling a home (this can be different depending on your state’s or country’s laws). But in the real estate world, the commission paid is disclosed in writing and all parties sign of on it so no one is left in the dark about what will transpire.

But as other industries attempted to adapt the “commission” structure, they didn’t consider how it would play out in their industry and don’t always adopt the rules that keep it honest.

Explosion of Loyalty Programs

Another changing trend is the explosion of loyalty programs. It seems just about every company has a version of a loyalty program.  I believe this started in the hospitality and retail industries where restaurants offered loyalty cards to encourage repeat visits with the enticement of a freebie to reward you for your loyalty.

Then the loyalty program took the technology-based companies by storm.  Companies like Uber, Dropbox, VRBO, Paypal offered an incentive – a free month, free ride, credit to your account – for sharing a link with your friends so they would try the service.

But there is a difference between the hospitality industry rewarding repeat customers and the technology companies offering an incentive.  The difference is a restaurant or retail store is typically highly transactional with a lower dollar ticket price (so the carrot and stick principle works) and a technology company is just that – technology we like and buy but can cancel at anytime and don’t typically form a relationship with a human as part of our use of the technology.

I’m going to guess your business is neither of those.

Your company is a relationship-based company.  For a client to decide to work with you they have to know, like and trust you. The way your service is offered – there is time to get to know you, spend time with you and trust you. What you offer isn’t low-dollar and in some cases a considerable purchase – think buying a home or allowing you to manage their wealth.

So when you pay for a referral – commission or incentive – and especially one you don’t disclose, you violate the way we perceive your industry conducts business.

Here’s Why We Don’t Pay 

Some people are willing to ask to be compensated for sending a referral your way. But just because they ask doesn’t mean you should feel any obligation to meet their request.

We know referrals only come from relationships and you should not commoditize your relationships.  When you offer to pay for a referral you commoditize the relationship by turning the referral into a transaction, which it is not.

Let’s put ourselves in the prospect’s shoes (the person who had a need and is being referred to you).  Imagine how they would feel to know that they were – potentially – only referred to you because the person referring them to you was going to make a commission.  That is called sales.  That is not a referral.  That is not a colleague helping them with their problem; just a person making a buck off her problem or pain.

Which means, you do not have to pay to receive referrals, and in fact, you shouldn’t agree to pay or offer to pay either.

And – most important – paying or incentivizing for referrals usually backfires in relationship-driven, high-touch businesses, like financial advisors, attorneys, CPAs, interior designers, real estate agents, business coaches, consultant and others.

Okay, let’s look at the next myth, Myth #4.

SECTION 5: The Time Suck Myth (Myth #4)

Time. Our most precious commodity. Makes sense we’d prefer not to waste it, right?

One business growth strategy you might think takes a lot of time – possibly wasted time – is generating referrals.

But the opposite is true – generating referrals saves you time.

Let’s take a closer look at the “Time Myth.”


Besides fear, the belief that is takes so much work (i.e. time) to generate referrals is what I hear when people tell me why they don’t try to consistently generate referrals.

Here are just a few of the comments I receive regarding why people believe they cannot generate referrals consistently.

“Lack of time”

“Time to do marketing”

“Lack of networking time”

“Time to network”

“I tell myself that I am always so busy with actual work (often non-paying) that I don’t have time to attend marketing events, etc.”

“Not honoring the time I block for it each week.”

“Time and focus.”

Understanding our Wariness of Wasted Time

When I dig in deeper to the “it takes too much time” reason, most of the concerns come from an incorrect belief.

What we seem to believe is that all the networking we have to do, all that time getting to know people, all that time preparing to ask and all those meetings in which we have to ask…that generating referrals just takes So. Much. Time.

If we believe that our referral generation is in direct proportion to the size of our network, then of course it makes sense that we would assume we need a lot of time to grow our network (like attending networking events, 1-on-1 coffee/lunch meetings and marketing events).

But our general network doesn’t refer us…people we know well and who come across our ideal clients are the ones who refer us.

People we have a relationship with, people who trust us – those are the people who refer us. The size of our network doesn’t impact the number of referrals received.  In fact, the metric that dictates the number of referrals received is the strength of our relationships with a key group of referral sources (those who refer us).

Why We Think Referral Are A Time Suck (but we’re wrong)

Remember as we learned with the other myths…most of the time we believe what we believe because of an “expert” or training. (Really, my referral training is no different. I just teach the opposite of all of these myths.) We believe referrals are a time suck because of how we have been taught, what we have read, or what we have experienced ourselves.

It is What We Read

Most of us don’t mind some networking but we don’t want to spend hours and hours every week or month doing it when we inherently know it is not the best use of our time.  It just takes a few poor or sub-par networking events to teach us that. But we think we must engage in constant networking to know a ton of people to generate referrals and that takes a lot of time.

So where did the idea of “knowing a ton of people is needed to generate referrals” come from?

Well, from the same place the advice to “ask for referrals” came from, what we read.  There are referrals books (meaning the title, subtitle or description gives the impression the book is about referrals) on how to network, when to network, and what to say networking. So, when we read one of these referral books that are really networking books – because we wanted to learn how to generate referrals – we believe that we must do a lot of networking.

It is What We are Taught

Besides books, we are also taught other networking strategies, like a networking “system” to generate referrals for us.  For example, one podcast interview I listened to was an “expert” explaining about his referral process which was in effect these “rings” or “groups” of people to spend time with to generate referrals. His strategy was to have as many rings or groups as possible and work with them weekly and monthly to send referrals.  There were instruction on how to spend time with the rings and the immense amount of specific follow up. I was so exhausted and stressed just listening to him that I can only imagine how others must feel when they hear that advice and they don’t know there is another way.

Just the pressure of the time to create, coordinate and manage those groups on top of all the other work we must do as business owners – delivering client work, book keeping, email and more – is an exhaustive proposition and naturally creates the perception we need a lot of time to make this process work if we want referrals.

It is What We See in Our Professional Community

There are many networking and leads groups disguised as referral groups. Groups tout “receive referrals” as part of their value proposition so when we look at options for how to receive referrals…we see groups advertising about referrals and we make the connection that we need to spend time in these groups to generate referrals. But some of these groups meet weekly.  That’s a lot of time.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t join networking or leads groups…just don’t assume that joining one or even a dozen is going to open the flood gates of referrals.  Referrals don’t work that way.

Just because you can read or learn about networking tactics as a way to generate referrals, that doesn’t make it the best way or the only way.  None of us can really afford to waste time.

Setting the Record Straight

Generating referrals isn’t about quantity.

It’s not about the quantity of time spent networking. Or the quantity of how many people you know.

Generating referrals is about creating quality relationships with a group of referral sources in which your focus is on them, not on you. And when you focus on your referral sources, creating quality relationships and follow a system, you naturally save time. Building relationships with your referrals sources can be done through specific outreach that is impactful and done without spending a lot of time “networking” or “marketing.”

Most of my clients only need to know a few dozen quality referral sources (unless you need massive volume like hundreds of referrals a year) and a plan to follow to build relationships, which doesn’t just mean face-to-face quality time. There are many ways to build impactful relationships that let you stay top of mind with your referral sources which leads us to overcome Myth #5, the idea that you cannot do anything to “control” referrals.

SECTION 6: The Control Factor Myth (Myth #5)

The ultimate confusion of referrals is how you generate them consistently.

This myth – believing that referrals cannot be controlled – is the belief that referrals are sporadic, that just happen randomly with no reason behind them.

What I am told when people believe that referrals can’t be controlled is that:

“I have received a few referrals over time, but nothing consistent.”

“For the referrals I have received in the past, they just showed up, I didn’t do anything to make it happen.”

“You can’t control referrals like you control your networking or marketing activities.”

“Referrals don’t work that way.”

“They are random and you can’t count on them – not consistently anyway.”

Now let me be clear, when I use the word “control,” I don’t mean I can look at you and command a referral (that’s a creepy thought, isn’t it.)  I also don’t mean I can snap my fingers and referrals will just roll in. My use of the word “control” is focused on the actions we can take to generate referrals with consistency. What we control are our actions mixed with the right language to plant referral seeds with the right people.

It is true in sales – as with referrals – that what you control are your activities or actions, not the results.  But when people tell me referrals can’t be controlled, what they are referring to is that they think there is nothing they can do to generate them, to receive them.

Well luckily for us, that beliefs is just another myth. What I and my clients have learned is that there are actions you can take – completely within your control – that when done correctly and with consistency will allow referrals to happen. Quite possibly more than you can handle.

I asked my clients to share what they have learned by creating and following the referral plan that I teach and here is what they shared.

  1. That generating referrals doesn’t have to be left to chance.
  2. There are easy steps to follow to manage the process (so you know what to do)
  3. Receiving referrals can be consistent when you follow the process/plan consistently

Let’s look closer at what my students shared to understand how they now “control” referrals.

1. That generating referrals doesn’t have to be left to chance.

Steve Stewart, a financial planner, shared “having specific activities you can implement help you understand the things you control and the things you can’t control.” He goes on to share that “asking for referrals is something you can control but almost no one like doing it and it does not increase the chance of receiving a referral. In fact, it may reduce the chance that you will get a referral.”

Gray Langley, a CPA, explained, that “by identifying who is in my true circle of referral sources, I control the amount of time spent trying to grow a network. I can avoid the “let’s meet and see how we can help each other” invitations, freeing up time to meet with the individuals and business owners referring me and making the sticky connections with the people that are important to my business.”

For referrals to flow, you need a well craft year-long plan where your actions are memorable and meaningful. 

2. There are easy steps to follow to manage the process (so you know what to do)

When I tell people that you need a referral generating plan to follow, the first response I receive is “that sounds like work.”  (Hint, I believe this belief is fueled by the overarching myth that generating referrals takes a lot of time, Myth #3, the time-suck myth.)  Luckily that is not true.

Michelle O’Connor, a property and casualty insurance agent, explained that “spending a little time upfront to create a system makes it easy to consistently follow through with your plans. You avoid recreating the wheel and you pick up speed and efficiency when you are not constantly having to figure out what to do to maintain meaningful and memorable outreach with your referral sources.” 

Amanda Mingo, an attorney, felt after going through the Growth By Referrals program that she had a process that worked for her and who she was.  Authenticity is a big component of the program and she was able to build a process or system that would work for her.  Those easy steps to follow were “extremely manageable and it is using a method that is tried and true to plug-in pieces that will work for you.”

3. Receiving referrals can be consistent when you follow the process/plan consistently.

The key word here is consistency!  For anything to happen, you need to be willing to be consistent.  That is one thing my clients clue into pretty quickly.  Only doing one outreach to your referral sources will only get you so far.  You need a yearlong plan of 5 to 7 outreaches (called touch points) to follow that allows you to be consistent.

Steve, the financial advisor shared, “the beauty of Stacey’s system is that you can concentrate solely on your defined activities (which you control) and have trust that the referrals will follow. The consistency leads to referrals over time.”

The plan/process is also easy to manage because technology is not everyone’s friend, as Kathi Wilson, an educational consultant, explained, “as a solopreneur I found the steps easy to follow which is good since technology is not my love language! The plan Stacey shows us how to build can be tech-free if you want or need it to be!”

I think Gray summed it up perfectly when he said, “By following Stacey’s easy process that her program outlines, the referrals come in fast and steady.  And amazingly, I am now adding the type of client I enjoy working with.  I am also not spending time in introduction meetings hearing “I have three other CPA firms to interview” and “how much do you charge?”  The dynamic of my referral meetings with first time prospects is completely different than with the prospects who come through another source.”

Generating referrals doesn’t have to be hard, complicated or complex. You just need an easy to follow system or plan focused on the RIGHT activities to generate referrals, and becomes manageable once you know what to do.

Getting Started

If you’re already receiving referrals – at least 5 to 6 per year – you’re next step is to learn the system and methodology that my clients – Gray, Amanda, Steve, Kathi and Michelle – discussed above. That system is taught in my Growth By Referrals online program.

If you’re not receiving referrals or you receive less than 4 referrals a year, consider my online program How to Turn Clients & Contacts into Referring Machines. I recommend you start here so you can learn the step-by-step process to cultivate new referral sources (people who have never referred you). Once you have 5 or more referral sources consistently sending you referrals, then you’ll be ready for the Growth By Referrals online program.

If you’re not sure how many referral sources you have, then download this quick guide and follow the process to identify them.

But if you know online programs aren’t right for you and you want to work with me personally, then my group coaching experience – Building a Referable Business – is perfect for you. You’ll receive both trainings mentioned above (Growth By Referrals and Referring Machines) plus the other 17 trainings and get direct and 1-on-1 support from me. Pleas note, joining BRB is done through an application (limited spots each year) so I encourage you to check out the details and apply. Once you’ve been approved, then you can decide if it’s the right step for you.

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