Referrals For The Difficult To Refer Business
By Dr. Ivan Misner, Founder and Chairman of BNI
Face it, some businesses are more difficult to refer than others. Often times, those same businesses struggle to get clients through traditional mediums of advertising as well. Word of mouth is the best way for almost all types of businesses to grow but, in some cases it’s almost the ONLY way to grow. Before I started BNI, I was a management consultant. When I started my consulting firm in the early 1980’s, I learned these lessons the hard way.
No one retained a consulting firm off an advertisement. Most of my...
...clients came from referrals but, that took time and I needed to find new business to keep my company’s doors open. Through this struggle, I landed on a technique that I have been training to business people and entrepreneurs for the last two decades. I call it “working the rubber chicken circuit.”
Years ago I learned that when I did a speaking engagement, I often got new business. The key was to get more speaking engagements while I was working on the long-term process of word of mouth. I discovered that this became a specific strategy, in and of itself, to build my company through the word of mouth that comes from speaking engagements. Educating my referral sources took time, so getting some speaking engagements was a great short-term approach to building my business while I was educating my referral sources.
When you schedule an appointment with someone you think might be interested in what you are selling, that hour is important! Imagine setting that same appointment with between 20-50 business people in your community! That is, in effect, what you are doing when you are asked to present at these various clubs or organizations. While many business people... continued on page two >