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Volume 5 Number 8   |   August 2015

Referral Business

There are at least five likely methods to create short term business. The are:

  • Referrals
  • Speaking
  • Networking
  • Hosting an event
  • Performing highly visible pro bono work

Let's begin with the first. I've found that most people unequivocally agree with the need to do this, and then promptly proclaim, "But I don't do it enough," or "I've never become good at it"! That kind of self-talk is immediately self-defeating.

The problem here, of course, is a ridiculous fear of rejection, as if your life is over if a contact or client can't give you a referral or, if the do, the referral isn't interested. But there is no downside, no one is shooting at you.

So, here's a methodical sequence for you to prioritize referral sources and approach them:

  1. Create a list of everyone you know: social, business, professional, civic, family, memberships, colleagues, etc. Name, email, and phone if you have it.
  2. Triage the list: A) Those whom you suspect can buy from you or refer you to buyers; Those about whom you are uncertain; C) Those whom you know cannot do either.
  3. Call everyone on list A at the rate of two per day. That's 10 per week, 40 per month. Ask each one for three referrals, preferably by name. Ask for either an introduction, or permission to use their name. That is 120 names per month, 60 if only have provide them for you, 30 discussions if half respond, 15 meetings if half agree to that, 7 proposals in half agree to that, 5 acceptances (at 80%) times your average fee (e.g., $50K equals $250,000).
  4. Send an email to the same effect to those on list B.
  5. Add list C to your mailing lists.


  1. If they don't have names, ask them to think about it and establish a call back date and time.
  2. if they do have names, ask for introductions or to use their name and create a date and time.
  3. If they want material to present to others, respond that you don't want them representing you, which is unfair, and they'll be asked questions that they can't answer, which is no fun.

That's it. Oh, yeah: If your mindset is you're "selling," you won't be successful because you think you're intruding. If your mindset is you're contributing, then you'll be successful because you're offering win/win/win situations.

Now go do that, for any of the battle plan goals.

© Alan Weiss 2015

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