Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Great People Don't Always Do A Great Job

Gold Star Referral Clubs meet weekly to give and receive referrals.

I recently heard Lee Cockerell speak and no one knows more about leadership than Lee Cockerell, the man who ran Walt Disney World® Resort operations for over a decade. After I heard him speak, I immediately ordered his book, Creating Magic, 10 common sense leadership strategies.

I listened when he said,  "Great people don't always do a great job unless they have great training, the training is enforced and they are proud to be a part of the culture."

When I think about the people that we've hired over the years as Gold Star Directors, some of them have turned out great and some... not so great. Some are great at doing the main things, the basics over and over again, and some never even figure out how to do the basics.

The more I read from Lee Cockerell's book Creating Magic, the more I learned about how to help Gold Star Directors become great leaders. 

You see, hiring the right people is good, but training the right people to do the right things is invaluable. At Disney, they train, train, enforce and re-train their employees. Each individual gets the right training for the right job. They get to know each person as an individual, not just a face in a flock of employees.

Gold Star Director are independent contractors, not employees, but each one is special and appreciated. Even though we have directors and clubs in about 16 states, we try to connect with them as much as possible with calls, training, emails and video conference sessions. Yet, we could do so much more. I want to do a better job. I am totally inspired by Lee.

If you get a chance, order Lee Cockerell's book today. I highly recommend it. He will make you want to become a better leader. 

Lee also said: "Leadership is more than a role, it's a responsibility."

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Your Referral Partners

"Your clients, friends and neighbors can become your passive sales team, advocates and referral partners; always working on your behalf." 

DEFINITION of an advocate: “one who pleads the case of another.”  When a person becomes an advocate for your services, you have achieved a rewarding relationship of closeness and trust. They become a valuable referral partner, anxious to send you more business.

Why referrals are better:

1. You will spend half the time selling a referred prospect than non-referred.
2. When referred, people come ready to buy.
3. Referred prospects have greater loyalty.
4. Referred clients are more likely to refer you to others.

 Four ways to convert clients into Referral Partners:

1. Give them something to talk about with memorable stories about other clients that you have helped.
2. Spend some one-on-one time with key clients who can be a continual referral source for you.
3. Deliberately nurture key relationships with care and reciprocal referrals.
4. Be there for them. Commit to helping them grow their business.

 Your Referral Partners will GLADLY refer you when…
  • You make them look good.
  • You give them great success stories to re-tell.
  • Follow-up promptly on all referrals.
  • Say thank-you every time.
  • Return the favor and refer business to THEM.
  • You nurture the relationship and stay in touch, with visits, calls and emails. 
Develop and build a list of people that know, like and trust you; those people who will gladly and continually refer to you, as you do the same for them. They are your Referral Partners. Treat them right!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

No More Whack-a-Mole

The other day, Tony Cooke, a friend of mine and a great leader, reminded me about the old game Whack-a-Mole in his newsletter. Have you ever watched someone play Whack-a-Mole? They stand  in front of the game and hold a padded hammer. The challenge is to whack the head of the moles as they pop up before they go back into the holes.

The longer you play, the faster and more erratic the moles pop up. It can get a little crazy.

Now the real question is: Have you ever felt like your business is like a Whack-a-Mole game? There you stand, just waiting for the next crisis to pop up and you only hope you're fast enough to resolve it before another "mole" sticks it's head up... and the next and the next.

Living from crisis to crisis can affect your sales and many times is the reason behind what we call, "the roller coaster sales process." It's hard to prospect for new business when you're busy finding solutions for current business. Many business people tell me that it's like a roller coaster, one minute they have more business than they know what to with and the next they are without leads or prospects.

You know what I'm saying? 

That is why the having a referral system is important. 

What is a Referral System? It's the process of predictably giving and receiving referrals based on a logical and specific set of predetermined and measurable actions.

Michael Gerber, who wrote The E-Myth, said, 
“Systems permit ordinary people to achieve extraordinary results…predictably.”
Here are three suggestions on how to get your own Referral System started:

  1. Join a business networking group like Gold Star Referral Clubs and build referral relationships with other like-minded business people in your city.
  2. Communicate on a regular basis with your clients and connections, reminding them about your referral program and any incentives that you have. I suggest using ConstantContact. It's a great way to track your referral partners and to send emails.
  3. Seek out businesses that are natural referral sources for your industry and form referral alliances, like a fan club that recommends you on a regular basis to their clients and customers.
Finally, subscribe to this blog and let me help you develop your referral strategy. I can't promise to stop the Whack-a-Mole crazy times, but I can help you increase your business with referrals.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Make More Money by Creating a Referral System

Every business person (or those serious about making money) should develop a system for giving referrals. 
Yes, GIVING referrals.
Brent, an insurance agent and Gold Star Referral Club member since 2007, said: 
An Insurance Agent in a business networking group can lead the way with referrals because we talk to so many people. 
Our best system is when we meet with customers for bi-annual reviews.  Financial Advisers, Realtors, Attorneys and Accountants could also develop a similar system.
When we visit with our clients, we ask the following questions:
1. Do you have a monitored alarm system?  (Alarm system referral)
2. Tell me about your Health Insurance plan?  (Health insurance referral )
3. Do you have a Will in place?    (Referral for an attorney)
4. Do you like your accountant?    (A Referral for an accountant)
5. For Business Owners, we ask:
a. How is your website traffic working out?  (Website design or SEO referral)
b. Tell me about your retirement plan?  (A referral for the Financial Adviser)

Here are some referral generating statements that just about anyone can use:
"If you need someone for plumbing, electrical or HVAC, we want you to know that we can recommend a few companies we know, like and trust."
"I don’t just let anyone touch my computer (tutor my kids, repair my car etc.), could I refer someone to you?"
"If you need someone to help you in your business, let me know, I know some great people and you don’t want to go with a stranger."
"Consider me your go-to-guy (or gal or person) when you need to find someone to help with…"
"No problem, I know a guy (or gal) who can help."


When a business professional joins www.GoldStarClubs.com, we help them grow their business by demonstrating how to be a Go-Giver first, which sometimes means giving THAN receiving.

What a great way to strengthen a business relationship!

My friend, Bob Burg, author of Endless Referrals, likes to say that the GOLDEN RULE OF NETWORKING is:
"All things being equal, people will do business with, and refer business to, those people they know, like and trust."
You want to make more money with a successful referral system? Start with creating a way... a systematic way, to refer to business people that you know, like and trust. 

And in return - they will refer to you. It's amazing and rewarding to see how this works out to be in the best interest of everyone involved - the giver, the receiver AND the client. Everyone wins!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Connecting to Your People

It’s a people-base not just a database!
It’s about People.

Look at your list of names, email addresses and phone numbers. Now shift your thinking to the fact that it represents real people, with personalities and needs. 

It’s a people-base not just a database. When you see them as people, it will be easier to connect with them.

Treat your people like valued partners.

Separate out your top 15 or 25. You want to call them more often than the rest. Yes, that means picking up the phone and actually making a call. Connect with them in a deeper way, let them know that they're important to you.

Visit for awhile, then ask them,
"How can I help you today… or someone you know? I want you to know that if you or any of your family or friends have any questions about (whatever you do) please call me. I'm happy to help."
Be supportive of your top 25 people. Keep them informed and communicate to them often. Treat them as a community of people who really love and respect you, and they will.

Have fun.

These are your people and they want to hear from you.  Sometimes, it may be appropriate to text them or message them on Facebook.

Is one of your favorite business people a great photographer? Take a photo with your phone of something unique and text him the shot, with a message like:

“I knew you'd appreciate this sunset with the city in the background, we’re on the balcony of Top Hat Restaurant.” 

Ask for their invaluable feedback.

What do you think of the new website? Do you like the video? Which photo do you feel will work best on my new business cards? You may consider surveying your people-base on various aspects about your service or industry, or even get their thoughts on a new way of marketing.

Receiving more referrals from your people-base.

As you get to know your valued list, you will see that there are a few business people that would be ideal candidates for becoming a member of your Gold Star Referral Club. Invite them to join you at your business networking meeting.

The best ways to get someone to give you referrals is to:
  • give them a referral
  • introduce them to one of your best clients
  • invite them to meet other referral partners
  • thank them when they send their valuable clients to you.

 You are welcome to subscribe to this blog to learn more about growing your business with referrals.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

12 Ways to Business Network for Referrals

Here are some ways to network that may surprise you.

Keep in mind that business networking is about meeting people and forming relationships. It doesn't matter whether the initial meeting started with a click or a handshake, you can grow connections into long-lasting prosperous relationships that generate referrals.

Here are 12 Ways to Business Network for Referrals

1. Communities: If you don't have a community - make one. The easiest way to do that is to start a Facebook or LinkedIn group based on a common interest. Are you a Realtor in Hagarstown? Start a group called Hagarstown Neighbors. Are you an Orthodontist? Start a group for Moms of   (your city)  .

2. Contacts: You have a gold mine of contacts in your cell phone. Periodically, send a text to a friend, family member or other contact and say something like: "Hey Joe, Haven't seen you in awhile. How are you doing?"  Networking means keeping in touch. 

3. Gold Star Referral Clubs: Go to www.GoldStarClubs.com and either join or start a business networking group with other professionals who meet for breakfast or lunch once a week in order to give and receive referrals. 

4. Relationships: Think about the existing relationships that you currently have with family, friends and connections. The next time you see them, you could say something like, "It's important to me that you know that I'm happy to answer any questions for you, your family or friends concerning    (whatever you do)  . Just call."

5. Common Interests: Keep an eye out for events, expos and seminars that may be held in your local area. Do you like to garden or write or collect antiques? Find an event and go to it. It's easy and fun to form relationships with like-minded people. 

6. Opportunities:  Certain circumstances open doors. If you have an opportunity to meet someone special that you wouldn't ordinarily be able to get in front of, don't waste the moment. Make a great impression and ask them if you could, sometime in the future, buy them lunch or visit with them to... pick their brain, or interview them or as a thank you.

7. Meet and Greet: Is your local chamber having a ribbon cutting for a new member? GO! Is your local car dealer having an open house? GO! Is your child's school having a parent's night? GO! Meet and greets are held for birthdays, charities and businesses. Just go.

8. Business Cards: Always carry them; even while grocery shopping, camping or on a cruise. I'm serious. I can't begin to tell you how many times I've connected with awesome people while on a cruise.

9. Career: Your chosen career or business can offer opportunities to network, even with your competition; like at conventions or educational seminars. A competitor down the street who can't fulfill a client's needs, may refer them to you, and vice versa. 

10. Internet: Of course, we can't ignore the internet or social media. Carve out some dedicated time every day to stay in touch with your connections and groups. 

11. Colleagues:  Network with other professionals in the same line of work as you. You may find that even though you are in the same business, your specialty or expertise is different from your colleague, whicn can open up some great referral opportunities. 

12. Connections: Your network is your system of interconnected people. Tie all your connections together with an email marketing campaign that will help to keep you in front of them. Business networking is not always an event. Sometimes, it can be an email that demonstrates appreciation and care.

The opportunity to business network is all around you. Contact me if you need help with your referral marketing strategy.


Thursday, February 19, 2015

Go-Giving YOU...

In Chapter 10 of the Go-Giver, written by Bob Burg and John David Mann,  "The Law of Authenticity" is highlighted. Debra Davenport shares this profound insight: 

As long as you’re trying to be someone else, or putting on some act or behavior someone else taught you, you have no possibility of truly reaching people. The most valuable thing you have to give people is yourself. No matter what you think you’re selling, what you’re really offering is you.”

I just can't seem to get enough of this book! Just when I think I've embraced and internalized all the Stratospheric Laws of Success and have categorized them away in my head for future use - I wake up to find one of them popping up as exciting as a red dawn in the morning. 

"Well, looky that! This sure is what I need today. How inspiring!"

If you haven't already, join us in the public Go-Giver group "Go-Giver Ambassadors" on Facebook. A great community of like-minded people.

One of our Gold Star Referral Clubs in Tulsa gives The Go-Giver book to all it's new members. Go-Giving is the true heart of business networking and relationship marketing. 

It's more than a good read - it's a lifestyle. 


Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Sandwich the Facts in a Story

One of my mentors once said,  "You can't be too long... you can only be too boring."

Seasoned business networkers know that the time in front of their business networking group is golden. That's why they want to make their presentations upbeat, informative, and entertaining.

Yes, I said entertaining. 

Learning to entertain while giving a speech is as easy as telling a story.

John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich, was a British statesman in 1748 who liked to eat while gambling. The problem was that his sloppy habits caused chaos with the playing cards. 

So, he came up with a unique way to eat beef by putting it between two slices of bread, which would allow him to eat with one hand and play cards with the other. I think the sandwich is one of the best inventions EVER!

Now, you probably won't forget that story anytime soon and... did you notice how I "sandwiched" the facts into an entertaining story? (Sorry, couldn't help myself.)

Seasoned speakers take the time and energy to prepare their presentations. They have also learned that a well-told story will not only entertain, it will help build rapport with the audience and it will help the listeners remember the message. 

You may not be a professional speaker, and your speech might only be ten minutes long, but using stories will make your presentation memorable and more fun for us to listen to.

A Chiropractor can explain patient care while telling a story about a patient who no longer uses a cane after several adjustments.

An attorney can gain trust while telling a story about helping an elderly client write her will.

An accountant can convey her level of knowledge while telling a funny story about the client who thought IRS stood for Internal Registered Savings. 

Sandwich the facts between interesting, or even funny stories. You will not only entertain us, but you will help us remember why we want to give you referrals.

Monday, February 9, 2015

What's for Lunch?

What's for lunch? That is a question that you will probably never hear from a guest that wants to grow their business. As a business networker, it should NEVER be a question that carries any weight in regard to your decision to attend. Who cares whats on the menu when there is business to be had.

Who cares what's for lunch when you know that by going, you have a good, or even a great opportunity to increase your business or to connect with a new client.

Recently, I had a conversation with one of our Gold Star Directors about his networking group changing the location where they meet for their weekly meeting. This would be the third location change in less than a year.

He said, "Joe's tired of the food and he's been eating before he comes and Doug says that it's a little further for him to drive than the last place. Frankly, I think the menu is limited. We have to find a new place." 

In the world of business networking, complaints about meeting at the same place week after week is not uncommon.

However, when I consul with our Directors, I like to ask, "If you had thirty business people at every meeting and referrals were FLYING back and forth - would anyone care about the menu?"

And usually the answer is NO.  Who cares about the food when there is real business happening?

So, you have to ask yourself then, "Is it a referral problem or a menu problem?"

Good business networking groups are not easy to find. When you find one that works - don't worry about the food.

The ideal situation would be to have a rockin' referral group that meets in a restaurant that has great parking, is easy to get to and has an affordable menu with food that everyone loves. But that is near impossible to put together, because you will never be able to find the perfect fit for everyone.

It is always a challenge.

As an exercise, you could do this. Print out a map of the area around where most of your members work and live. Now take a pencil and draw a circle around what is considered easy driving distance. How many choices do you have?

Sometimes, as a leader, you feel lucky to even find a place that is available - much less a great place that everyone likes.

So instead of changing venues, why not just grow your group so big with quality business people who are having fun passing good business to each other every week and quit worrying about the food.

Let's be real. It's all about the referrals. It's not about the food or an extra mile here or there. You may notice that the people who are getting the most business, never complain. They're smiling all the way to the bank.

The next time your group wants to change locations again, instead of moving right away, set a goal to double the size of your meeting with guests and new members. Once you outgrow your location - THEN find a new one.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Referrals Are More Than Frosting

Now is the time to plan! 

You can have your cake and eat it too! Or should I say that referrals are more than just frosting?

When some business people get a referral, it's like frosting on the cake. But my question is - why can't referrals be the whole cake?

Most companies want referrals. However,wishes and wants will never come true if you sit on your thumbs with nothing to do. 

You need a plan. A mastermind strategy that includes your whole team, office or staff.

Clients don’t come any better than by referral. Referrals cost less to create (aside from your time) and usually bring in the most qualified and desirable clients.

Your referral strategy is important and your team can help you create it. Brainstorm with them about how to focus on referrals. 

Here are five keys to planning a good referral strategy for your business:
  1. Focus on ways to maintain a "Referral Mindset" all the time.
  2. Identify which industries would be good referral sources for your company.
  3. Brainstorm about possible incentives and motivation.
  4. Create promotional material or even an email series that embraces your strategy.
  5. Plan unique ways to thank and care for your valuable referral sources. 

Whatever your strategy, begin to align your services, products and marketing more closely to serving your client and referral sources with excellence.  The best referral sources are those that are well-served and appreciated. 

Plan your mastermind brainstorming session today and make referrals a bigger slice of your business.

Beth Davis is a keynote speaker, author of 3 Ways to Referral Success and CEO of Gold Star Referral Clubs. She is a certified Go-Giver Coach and Speaker with the Bob Burg organization.

Start a club anywhere in the United States. Go to www.GoldStarDirector.com for more information.

WOW your audience with live action on how to accelerate sales with referrals. Go to www.MoreReferrals.com to find out more.

Monday, January 26, 2015

8 Tips for More Client Referrals

“The system is the solution,”  says Joe Stumpf,  of “By Referral Only” fame.  
A good system opens doors to client referrals.

Building your business by referrals is both a  philosophy and a mindset.

Gold Star Referral Clubs, can be part of your system to generate referrals, now look at what else you can do to increase referrals with your customers and clients.

What's your referral marketing strategy? Do you have a system in place?

8 Tips For More Client Referrals:

1. Don’t wait to create a plan to increase your business by referrals. Write down your plan and follow it. Share it with your staff on a regular basis and keep everyone engaged with rewards, contests and appreciation.

2. Connect with your clients with permission-based emails with social media.  Share news, photos, value, education and humor. Consider blogging.

3. Invite past clients to at least one event a year, for example, you can invite them to join you at a Chamber event, Festival, or Charity event. You might consider a Client Open House with great food and fun.

4. Deliver what you promise when you promise it, and deliver superior value to your clients. Address complaints immediately and professionally with remarkable customer service.

5. Don't wait until your pipeline dries up to look for referrals. Have a 12 month plan and put it into place for a consistent stream of high quality referrals.

6. Proactively refer clients to other quality business people that you know, like and trust. Let those businesses know that you referred them to a client and you'd appreciate the same. Your clients will appreciate being referred to quality services. It shows that you care.

7. Create a referral reward program for your clients. Think of some type of reward or recognition for anyone they refer to you

8. Recognize and thank your referral sources. This could be with a simple phone call, email, or even better, a handwritten note. You'll encourage MORE referrals when you're generous with appreciation.

REMEMBER, referred clients are more likely to refer their family and friends to you because they already understand and trust the process.