3 Steps to Get More Referrals / Relationship Prospecting: Starting from Scratch

Here are two short articles, courtesy of Bill Cates (the Referral Coach), that I thought you’d enjoy.


I love it when I learn new referral strategies from advisors attending my seminars and referral boot camps. Just got a new one I want to share with you. I got it from an advisor named David in Cincinnati, OH.

David has a simple process that he says always nets him five or more referrals every time he uses it. That is a lot of referrals!

Six months into a new relationship, he invites his relatively new client to a meal, usually lunch, to thank them for their business and to learn more about them. He asks three questions that helps him build the relationship and garner referrals.

  1. How did you get to where you are today? Of course, this question will vary depending on what type and level of success this client has achieved. Basically, David wants to learn more of his client’s “story.” This conversation usually lasts about 20-30 minutes. He asks good questions along the way to really get to know his client’s story and he listens attentively.
  2. What do you think I could do to improve how I serve my clients? Usually small business owners, salespeople, and other types of professionals usually have an idea or two to share. So, the length of this conversation can vary.
  3. If you were in my shoes, who would you want to meet? Here come the referrals. Getting a client to see themselves in your shoes is an age-old, tried- and-true technique. As I mentioned above, he always gets at least five referrals.
Now isn’t that simple? This is a great strategy you can begin to employ right away with every new client. I don’t see why you can’t hold this same type of lunch meeting with your existing clients. Do you?


Relationship Prospecting: Starting from Scratch

I received an email recently from an advisor who had moved to a new area. Though he had a significant client base where he lived before, he knew he needed to start developing a new base of clients. He asked me for my advice on how to build a referral business from scratch. Here’s my response…

“Thanks for taking the time to write and for your kind words about my referral system. Below are some basic things you can do to get your practice going in N.C. These are probably not new ideas for you, but perhaps my list will get your creative juices flowing – that leads to action.


  1. Get out in the community as much as you possibly can: charity events, chambers of commerce, fund raisers, community service work, etc. Don’t just look for prospects, look for CPAs, attorneys, real estate agents, and any other type of center of influence.
  2. Look for opportunities to speak to groups, not public seminars, but at clubs, business groups, churches, etc.
  3. Look for one or more niches to serve. Especially small business owners in specific industries. Small business owners generally give referrals more readily than other types of folks.
  4. Just plain find ways to meet as many people as you can in any capacity possible. Lead with an attitude of service. Be willing to give them referrals in any way possible.

“Again, probably nothing you haven’t thought of before. Much of this is a function of spending enough time in these activities, as well as learning how to leverage your new relationships.”

What are you doing to build loyalty and generate referrals? I’d love to hear your ideas! Also, are there any topics you’d like to see me address in future issues of The Referral Minute? Maybe I can help. I’d love to hear from you. Send your questions and best practices to me at: Info@ReferralCoach.com.

Copyright MMIX by Bill Cates

Bill Cates, President, Referral Coach International, http://www.referralcoach.com/

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