Do It! Marketing Blog: Marketing for Smart People™

Marketing Coach: How to never feel cheated about referrals


Too many small and solo business owners get bent out of shape about referrals - they don’t get enough, or they give too many that go unappreciated, or they expect payment without ever asking for payment or making their expectations clear.

It’s just a mess.
So to help YOU avoid disappointment on both sides of the equation, here’s a template you can borrow - adapt - steal - whenever someone GIVES YOU a referral:



Thank you so much for the referral to Paul - I appreciate you.

Will keep you posted as to what develops.

Thinking optimistically - assuming Paul signs on as a client - how do you like to handle referrals financially speaking?

I'm happy to give some referral partners a 10% thank-you gift (for working with folks like Paul, the typical fee is XXXX so 10% is YYY) - some other folks just prefer a nice dinner out via a gift card - and some folks who refer business to me insist on nothing more than good karma and reciprocation when appropriate.

Just let me know and then we can bust the doors down for Paul!!

-- David


On the other hand, when GIVING a referral, and if that referral shows up at your referral partner’s door, this version of the same note might help you STOP feeling like a martyr and set clear expectations from the get-go that you DO like to be compensated while asking your referral partner what arrangement would make them comfortable:



I’m so glad Paul ended up connecting with you and that you two discussed the possibility of working together. Please do keep me posted as to what develops.

Thinking optimistically - assuming Paul signs on as a client - how do you like to handle referrals financially speaking?

Some of my referral partners share a 10% cash referral fee - some other folks underwrite a nice dinner out via a gift card - and others show their appreciation in other ways (services, discounts, lavish gift baskets, etc).

Just let me know how you like to operate and that will open the door for even more introductions to great folks like Paul in the future.

I appreciate you.

-- David


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Tags: marketing for speakers, marketing for coaches, client references, referral blurb, professional services marketing, trusted advisor marketing, marketing for authors, marketing for consultants, referral marketing, referrals, business strategy, professional services selling

Marketing Coach: There Is No Blue

doitmarketing out of the blueWhere did that lead come from?

"It came out of the blue..."

How did that customer find you?

"They found us out of the blue..."

What made them call?

"They called out of the blue..."

How many times have you heard yourself give these types of answers?

Hmmm... me too.

Until last night when I was having dinner with The Hot One™ - aka my lovely bride of 27 years.

I was telling her about a brand new client and she asked me, "How did they find you?" and I instinctively answered, "I dunno - they found me out of the blue."

By the way, this is a terrible answer for a marketing guy to give.

I should know exactly how and why my specific marketing activities attract specific clients but I must admit things have been going fast and furious around here lately so I've lost track. A good problem to have - but a problem nonetheless...

Back to dinner with The Hot One™ - she looks over at me, pauses meaningfully and says... 

"There is no blue."

Ouch. And she's right. So she made me think harder - look harder - connect the dots - to where and how this client came to me. 

This is a terrific reminder for YOU, too... 

There is no blue.

So here are 12 potential sources of "blue" -- inbound leads, prospects and referrals. You need to work harder at identifying, specifying, and inquiring about these when GOOD prospects come your way. And even more so when - like in my situation yesterday - good prospects become clients!

  1. Google (or other search engines)
  2. Your articles in hardcopy publications (industry magazines, trade journals, association publications)
  3. Your articles posted online (guest blogs, contributed columns, niche industry websites)
  4. Your social media accounts (Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook, etc.)
  5. Your blog
  6. Your personal network (friends, family, colleagues)
  7. A referral (current client, past client, or non-client fan/influencer)
  8. Directories and listings (online, offline)
  9. Your speaking engagements (local, regional, national, fee or free)
  10. Your videos (on your website or sites like YouTube, Vimeo, etc.)
  11. Your teleseminars (the ones you host or where you're the guest)
  12. Your media interviews (TV, radio, print)

Become fanatical about connecting new customers and clients to specific marketing channels. 

Put a sign up on your office wall to remind you if necessary... 

There is NO blue!

Tags: Marketing speaker, marketing coach, thought leadership marketing, lead generation

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Tags: marketing for speakers, consultant marketing, thought leadership marketing, word of mouth marketing, professional services marketing, trusted advisor marketing, professional speaker, professional speaker marketing, marketing mix, marketing for authors, marketing for consultants, doit marketing, do it marketing, doitmarketing, content marketing, referral marketing, business strategy, networking, public speaker marketing

24 Questions to Ask Yourself for Your Best Year Ever

marketing speaker marketing coach 2013Guest post by Art Sobczak

Several years ago I started a year-end tradition of posting a list of questions for sales pros to ask themselves as they started their new year.

It was extremely popular, received tons of reprint requests (like this one I got from David!), as well as suggestions to share them again the next year. So now I do it every year.

I suggest you set aside some time, look at each of these questions, and answer them with an action plan.

Follow that plan, and like many others, you will guarantee your own success.

Here we go:

  1. What are you going to do to improve your industry and product knowledge in 2013? 
  2. How many inactive customers will you revive and turn into regular customers again? What do you need to doto make that happen? 
  3. What will you do to ensure you're protecting your best customers, and adding more value to the relationships? How will you sell even more to them? 
  4. How many new customers will you bring on this year? 
  5. How do you plan to do that, specifically? 
  6. What will you do to improve your physical health in 2013? 
  7. What, specifically, are your sales and production goals for 2013? How does that break down into quarterly and monthly goals? 
  8. How much more money will you make in 2013? How will that happen? What will you need to do, today, to take the first steps in that direction? 
  9. What will you need to do to increase THAT number by an dditional 10%? 
  10. What are you going to do every day to keep your attitude at a high level? 
  11. How much time are you going to spend, daily, to improve your own sales skills? What will you do? 
  12. How many referrals did you get in 2012? How did get them? From whom? What will you do to turn them into sales? 
  13. Speaking of referrals, will you please forward this post to two others who would also benefit? And invite them to get weekly sales tips at (OK, that's one of mine.)
  14. In which areas will you improve your personal, family, and spiritual life? 
  15. How are you going to maximize the use of your time? Where will you cut out the time-wasters in each day? 
  16. What have you been putting off that you will take care of within the next two weeks? 
  17. Who can you help to feel special every day? 
  18. What challenge, wish or desire--that you've never attempted before--will you finally achieve in 2013? 
  19. How will you do that? Why? 
  20. Where are you going to write all of this down so you can review and revise your plans regularly? 
  21. What will it LOOK like when you accomplish everything you've just been thinking about? 
  22. How good will it FEEL? 
  23. What will it SOUND like when you achieve these things? 
  24. Why COULDN'T you do all of this? 

Any answer to that last one is not a reason, but rather a self-imposed limitation, excuse, or lack of desire or effort. The biggest deterrent to success looks us in the mirror every day. 

Now, go out and plan to have, no, COMMIT to having...


About the Author 

business by phone art

For the past 30 years, Art Sobczak’s tips and training have helped others do “rejectionless” prospecting and painless  and profitable sales. Get his free ebook of 501 sales tips at 


Tags: marketing for speakers, marketing success, marketing concept, marketing professional services, professional services marketing, professional speaker marketing, marketing coach, success tips, small business marketing, marketing for authors, sales and marketing, marketing tips, referral marketing

Marketing Coach: Chasing Chum Makes You a Chump

marketing speaker marketing coach chumIt's amazing to me how many professionals fall right into the marketing trap of overt self-promotion, pathetic begging, and self-commoditization. 

What am I talking about? 

I belong to several online forums, special interest sites and private message boards for organizations like the National Speakers Association and Vistage International, the world's largest CEO organization. 

At least weekly, there are requests for referrals to various types of speakers, consultants, coaches and training firms.

And sure as the sun goes around the moon, there are desperate goofballs who emerge from the murkiness and respond to these like hungry sharks chasing chum in bloody waters. Instead of positioning themselves as experts and giving the REFERRALS as asked, they see these as opportunities to play their favorite game of "Pick me! Pick me!"

Here is a recent example: 


I'm working with a client who needs a keynoter on growth (franchise-related, if possible). Can anyone recommend a fantastic and engaging executive-level speaker on this topic?


Response 1: I am a professional speaker with topics from communication, diversity & personal & business growth. My firm has grown 15% in the last year, so I have some insights into the topic. [Excerpted]

Response 2: We work extensively with franchise organizations on business growth, strategy, and marketing. I'd be happy to explore whether the vast body of knowledge we have about franchise growth in our industry might be adapted to your client. [Excerpted]

Response 3: I'm a former VP with Hilton Worldwide. Specifically for the Homewood Suites by Hilton brand. I played an integral role in helping double the Brand's size - from 75 properties to 150 - in a four year period. Not sure if the hospitality industry would be an optimal choice for your client, nonetheless I'd be happy to hear more about your client's needs to see if there's a fit. [Excerpted]

Response 4: There is a fantastic niche bureau in the franchise world run by my pal Katrina Mitchell - some of these folks are extremely well-versed in the franchise world: Also T. Scott Gross would be a home run for this type of group as well - which is why he's among the folks Katrina works with!!

Response 5: I'm both a speaker and a retail franchise owner, so I may be a good fit if they are still looking. I'm a leadership keynoter who focuses on building trust in teams. I also own two franchises, and am in the process of expanding into a third. View my profile for more info if I can help.


I'll stop there only because to quote more of these people would make me nauseated. 

Lesson: There was only ONE "trusted advisor" answer in the whole bunch. Can you see which one it was? It was the one that gave the requester what she WANTED - namely, a REFERRAL and not a self-serving sales pitch. 

The definition of a trusted advisor is a professional who puts their client's interests before his or her own.

The folks who respond like #1, 2, 3, and 5 position themselves as PEDDLERS, not PARTNERS. 

Remember: Chasing Chum Makes You a Chump

Don't do it.

What's a smarter approach? There are three:

1. Ask one of your clients for whom you have done similar work to visit that forum and post an honest recommendation of your work. A third-party endorsement means a TON more than a self-serving sales pitch.

2. Take the conversation offline. Connect the referral requester with the person you'd like to refer (or if we're back to promoting yourself, then simply connect your past client with the requester's contact details and ask them to get in touch directly.)

3. Trade referrals and endorsements. This is one of my favorites - smarter than self-promotion and easier than connecting back with previous clients. Establish a trusted circle of 5-7 experts, consultants or professional services providers whose work you believe in and would gladly put your reputation behind. Offer to tee each other up regularly for opportunities like the one above. 

in my circle, for example, I have: 

  • A women's leadership guru whose message focuses on women's sanity, confidence and fun
  • A NY Times bestselling healthcare author and Hall of Fame speaker
  • One of the nation's top experts on building sales culture
  • A top-notch trainer on presentation skills (virtual and in-person)
  • One of the funniest motivational humor speakers on the planet
  • A networking and referral marketing expert in financial services
  • A small business leadership expert, bestselling author and Hurricane Katrina survivor

Stop chasing chum and you'll stop looking like a chump.

Question: Who is in YOUR referral circle? Get busy and create yours today!

Please use the COMMENTS area below to share your referral and lead sharing advice, success stories and feedback.

marketing speaker marketing coach referrals

Tags: marketing speaker, marketing concept, marketing professional services, trusted advisor marketing, marketing professional services firms, marketing coach, small business marketing, marketing tip, sales and marketing, referral marketing, referrals

5 Reasons You're Getting Referred to Losers - and How to Fix It

marketing coach marketing speaker doit marketingAs a marketing speaker and marketing coach, I preach and teach and continually refine my own ability to stimulate more and better referrals in addition to helping my small business and professional services clients do the same. 

Although I am not a referral expert - check out my pal referral marketing expert Michael Goldberg for that - I am indeed a referral enthusiast

A client of mine - a consultant with a midsized firm - asked me a great referral question.

After reading this post, YOU will see where your own referral generation process may be stuck - and how to fix it. 

My client said to me, "David, I don't seem to have any problem generating referrals. In fact, my clients and colleagues are always very generous and forthcoming with referrals. The problem is not with QUANTITY - it is with QUALITY."

She went on, "No matter how successful my referral source may be, they seem to always refer me only to losers. I hate to say that - but you know what I mean. People who can't afford what we do, folks who are not decision-makers, or folks who for a variety of reasons are simply not the right fit."

Her question: "How can I get out of referral jail?"

Here are five ideas to help YOU get out of referral jail and put YOUR allies, advocates, friends and fans in the best and most likely position to refer you to the right people for the right reasons with the right fit. 

1. Ask for what you want. 

Be specific. "Business owners" is not specific. "IT managers" is not specific. "Front line salespeople" is not specific.

  • "CEOs of 20-100 person companies in the food distribution industry in the Northeast US" is specific.
  • "Female sales executives in the technology industry" is specific.
  • "IT managers in Canadian call centers" is specific. 

Some of my clients also like to include a "phrase book" in their referral description. This means the phrases to listen for that indicate someone may be a good fit as a referral to you.

The WORST kind of referral request is, "I'll talk to anybody who needs [your product/service.]"

Stop making dumb referral requests and you'll stop getting dumb referrals.

2. Show them names, companies, and proof that you can make those people happy.

Let's face it - the reason people don't want to give you referrals is because they're putting their own relational capital (aka reputation) on the line. And that's risky.

If you can remove the risk of the referral, you will open the floodgates to getting more and better referrals for life. 

Hint: They won't believe YOU. They WILL believe your clients, past referrals, and people who have given you money and been thrilled to do so. 

Print up a sheet called "Referral Success Stories." Put in 5-7 specific referrals you've gotten over the last 12 months. Put in TWO kinds of quotes from both:

a. Clients who were referred and eventually hired you (Client success)
b. Your referral sources who are quoting how good they looked for making the referral (Referral success)

3. Tell them exactly what to say or send.

I hate to repeat myself so let me simply point out this post on the power of referral blurbs. Follow the templates given here to create your own referral blurb and START USING IT.

4. When a bad referral comes in, give some referral coaching.

When you get referred to a dud, diplomatically tell your referral source why it wasn't a great fit AND how they can tune their radar better next time.

Here's the template you can adapt to your own situation, style and tone. This is a delicate communication so you will want to re-word this carefully. Definitely not a cut-and-paste cookie cutter response but here's your starting point: 



I've kindly and gently turned down the opportunity to pursue a business relationship with [referral name.]

Too many red flags and especially after listening to his concerns, he's just not a good fit for us.

Thank you very much indeed for the referral - and in my book, it still counts. (EVERY referral counts no matter how it turns out!!)

If this causes you any strain in your relationship with [referral name] (and I doubt it will), please accept my apologies in advance.

For the record, his PROFILE was perfect - [DESCRIBE 2-3 ideal qualities about the referral.] The disconnect was in OUR FIT with his expectations and [lack of budget, lack of need, lack of authority, whatever was missing] -- two factors over which YOU had no control.

Always appreciate your advocacy, guidance and friendship.

-- David


5. Ask smart Referral-GIVING questions to generate smart Referral-GETTING answers. 

If you want to increase both the quality and quantity of your INCOMING referrals - the fastest way to do that is to increase your OWN track record of GIVING high-quality referrals. 

And to do so, you need to stop guessing and start targeting

Become a referral detective.

Learn to ask consultative questions of your current clients, vendors, partners, suppliers, friends, colleagues, and networking associates -- anyone to whom you wish to GIVE more targeted referrals. 

Your questions might include: 

  1. Who is your best client and why?
  2. How did they come to you? 
  3. What situation were they in? 
  4. What did they say or do to show interest? 
  5. How could you tell they were a great fit? 
  6. How have you tried to get more just like them? 
  7. What should I be listening for? (Ask for details and specifics)
  8. What's the DNA of a great prospect for you? (Ask for details and specifics)
  9. What phrases, key words or problems should I be listening for on your behalf? 
  10. What wants, needs, desires, and aspirations do your best clients have in common? (Ask for details and specifics)
  11. What heartaches, headaches, obstacles and challenges do your best clients have in common? (Ask for details and specifics)
  12. If I programmed my GPS to home in on perfect prospects for you, what would those settings look like? (Ask for details and specifics)
Be relentless in your followup questions to tease out details. Here's a set of probing tools to get you armed and ready for intelligent follow-up: 
  1. Tell me more about that...
  2. Say more about... 
  3. Why was that important to them? 
  4. What makes you say that? 
  5. How could you tell? 
  6. And that led to... 
  7. Why was that a problem? 
  8. What else did they say? 
  9. What else do you think they're after? 
  10. Please share 2-3 of your favorite pre-qualification questions so I can start to refer you more accurately
Follow these 5 steps to generate MORE and BETTER referrals that are MORE likely to close FASTER and more EASILY. 
-- David

P.S. Whenever you’re ready... here are 4 ways I can help you grow your speaking-driven business:

1. Grab a free copy of my Action Guide

Download "6 Keys to Rapidly Grow Your Speaking Business." It’s the roadmap to attract prospects, get more clients, and scale your speaking  business fast. — Click Here

2. Join the Art of High Profit Speaking group

It’s our free Facebook community where smart speakers, consultants, and experts learn to boost their reach and revenue with the power of speaking. — Click Here 

3. Watch our current free on-demand masterclass

Get in front of the exact right buyers, get off the gig-to-gig hamster wheel, and build a high-fee speaking-driven business you can be proud of. — Click Here

4. Work with me and my team privately
If you’d like to work directly with me and my team to help you build a high-fee speaking, training, consulting, and coaching business in our Speaker Profit Formula mentorship, see details and client case studies here first and then schedule your call here.

Tags: consultant marketing, marketing concept, referral blurb, professional services marketing, trusted advisor marketing, small business coach, marketing coach, motivational speaker marketing, small business marketing, small business marketing speaker, referral marketing, referrals

Marketing Concept: Don't Be a Jackass

small business marketing jackass awardWow.

That's all I can say. 

Sometimes, a piece of marketing stupidity comes across my radar that is:

a. Almost impossible to believe

b. Too dumb not to share with you as a cautionary tale

Here's an email I just got from a video producer whom I personally KNOW* (and who shall remain nameless to protect the moronic):


From: ""
To: David Newman <>  
Sent: Wednesday, February 22, 2012 3:26 PM 

Hi there:  

The attached is something new for 2012 which should make it easier to understand all the kinds of services we provide here at [Video Company Name Changed].  Hope this makes it easier to recommend us to others in the future. Thanks and hope all is well with you! 


Let's review what's wrong with this picture:

1. He sends a mass email to his database with the salutation "Hi there" even though this is a guy who knows me personally, has done business with several of my clients (not on my recommendation, you can be sure), and - if he had a clue as to how to work his email system - could at least have bothered to do the mass personalization required to make this note say "Hi <fname>" to call all his contacts by name. 

2. I was not really having a hard time understanding "all the kinds of services we provide here at" his company. What I now DO have a REAL hard time understanding is why ANYONE would refer such a self-centered goofball to their clients and prospects.

3. "Hope this makes it easier to recommend us to others in the future." Again, I was not losing a lot of sleep over how challenging it was to recommend this guy. Solving THAT problem is a priority for HIM but not for ME (or YOU for that matter).

You know what would make it a lot easier for me to recommend this guy? If he actually provided me with some REAL VALUE. Some insights, tips, recommendations, resources, tools, and ideas to make ME more successful - not him.

4. "Thanks and hope all is well with you!" This totally inauthentic closing simply rubs salt into an already raw wound. Is this guy kidding? His whole tone, approach, and message is "ME ME ME ME" and he "hopes I'm doing OK" while fighting throat cancer, desperately scrambling to put my parents in a nursing home, and heroically trying to make ends meet in my struggling Jewish delicatessen in the middle of the Bronx. Yeah, right - I'm overcome with this idiot's genuine concern for me and my wellbeing.

The worst part of all this? 

He's a phony. A fake. A fraud. And a taker. This is the worst kind of professional services provider there is. A snake in sheep's clothing. [Do snakes wear sheep's clothing? I dunno - this one sure does!!]

You know what would have been 1000 times better? 

Give me some value. Give me some REASON to want to help you. Personalize your note. Or [God forbid] don't send me a mass email at all and reach out 1-on-1.

This guy has a paltry list so it's not like 1-on-1 outreach to his potential advocates, allies, friends, and referral sources would be so hard to do. FYI I don't fall into any of these categories for him (clearly!!)

You want to do better? Sure you do. So leverage your referral blurb. Create one, share it, use it in good health. 

And don't be like this jackass video guy or this moronic firm I wrote about earlier

Please, please, please - don't give me more fuel for the "Jackass Marketing" column. 

* Please note the video firm in question is NOT my video firm. In fact, if you want to get a kickass corporate video or do some video shooting or editing work, I strongly recommend Rob Kates of Professional Speaker Video. HE does a great job AND he knows how to conduct business like a professional, NOT like a goofball! (Speaking of goofballs, this post is worth reading as well about creating your own 9-point Goofball Prevention Screening tool.)

What do you think? Is this too harsh? Not harsh enough? How would you react to the note above? Please share your thoughts in the COMMENTS area below...

p.s. If you'd like some personalized help - and your very own customized social media scripts, email and phone outreach tools, a killer email signature file and more, check out the Small Biz Outreach Action Packs.

Tags: marketing speaker, marketing success, marketing concept, referral blurb, video, marketing professional services, professional services marketing, marketing ideas, marketing coach, marketing strategist, marketing tip, referral marketing, referrals, advertising

Marketing Coach: Referrals, Leads, Introductions and Recommendations

Guest post by Rob Brownmarketing speaker referrals leads recommendations

Marketing coach tip: Let's talk about referrals. You do all this networking to either win direct business or cultivate relationships that will lead you to direct business. This second strategy is referrals.

The problem is that few people can tell you what a referral is.

Getting terms mixed up can make you sound a bit confusing when you ask for help. What you think is a referral might be a lead to someone else. You can see how it will help to get people on the same page. Would it help you to get a definitive answer on this?

Knowing exactly what a referral is should be the logical starting point in any guide on winning more referral business. Otherwise you ask 20 different people what a referral is and get 25 different answers!

See, many people mix up words like referrals, introductions, recommendations and leads. Then they wonder why the whole process is so confusing and why their customers and contacts struggle to pass them the business they want in the way they want it. So let's define some terms:

A LEAD. A lead is a contact that may come from any number of sources. This contact is generally not expecting your call. For example, if someone gave you a list of people who bank with a rival and are in your target range, you might consider that a lot of good referrals. Unfortunately, because the prospects are not expecting a call from you, it'sbasically not much better than a cold-call.

A RECOMMENDATION. A recommendation is something different. It's an endorsement to action. It makes you want to do something. It is similar to a referral, and makes a fine substitution. But all it does is tell you to call someone, go see that movie, eat at that restaurant. It is similar to a lead in that the person you approach still may not be expecting your call. A recommendation comes in the form of wise advice. The tone is ‘if you were me, you'd do this.' They have your interests at heart. Take action and you'll get good things!

A REFERRAL. A referral is a little more. It has more engagement and attachment from those involved parties. A referral is the opportunity to do business with someone in the market to buy your product or service who's been told about you by a mutual friend or associate.

"A referral is not a guaranteed sale. It is an opportunity for somebody to present their business where that presentation will be looked forward to with anticipation."
-- Dr. Ivan Misner, Founder of BNI

With a referral, you hope that when you contact them, they already know who you are and what you do. It is stronger than just a lead because the prospect has talked to your referral source and is generally expecting your call. Hence, they are referred.

AN INTRODUCTION. An introduction is simply the bringing together of interested parties. It's what you should do with a lead or referral. You've probably introduced people on email, by phone and of course, in person. When you bring people together, you become the social glue that oils the wheels of commerce. You are the catalyst that makes things happen. You are the conduit and the hub through which social capital travels.

When I talk about referrals , I'm expecting that you involve your referral sources as much as you can to bring about those introductions. When you do that, you're more likely to convert your referrals and keep everyone happy! A word of caution. Unless your network of customers and contacts are familiar with the word ‘referrals' and know exactly what it means and how it works, then we suggest you make ‘referrals' an internal word. Here is a great quote from Bill Cates, one of the top referral gurus in the USA.

'When we ask for referrals, what we really want is an introduction - a connecting to the new prospect. An introduction implies recommendation, but goes a step further and creates a connection. Someone can recommend us to someone, but not connect us to them. Likewise, someone can introduce us, but not recommend us. Which would you rather have? I'll take the introduction any day of the week. Ultimately, you should use the word that works best for you and flows most naturally for you. This way, you'll engage in the process more regularly.'

To recap... a lead is cold, a recommendation warmer, an introduction warmer still, and a referral the package of all three. So your mission is to generate a whole lot more of them for your business!

Rob Brown is the UK's leading authority on how to perform better and win more business through networking and referrals.

Tags: marketing for speakers, marketing speaker, marketing strategy, marketing success, marketing for coaches, marketing concept, marketing coach, marketing strategist, marketing mix, inbound marketing, referral marketing, referrals, raintoday

Marketing Speaker: A New Kind of Client Reference

Marketing speaker, marketing coach Philadelphia PAI got a phone call a few days ago from my friend Steve who is a fellow independent professional. He said to me at the beginning of the call, "David, I'm calling you as a reference."

So I'm thinking, "OK, he wants to hire someone I've worked with or someone I know - perhaps even a client of mine whose testimonial he saw on my website."

I say, "Steve, what can I do for you?"

And then he mentions someone's name. Let's call this person Larry. Now I like Larry and he's a good guy - perhaps a little confused about his marketing and messaging... and frankly that's OK because Larry is NOT a client of mine (although I've given him plenty of chances!)

Steve stops me and says, "No, no... I don't want to hire Larry. Larry wants to hire me. I'm calling you to ask you what kind of client do you think he would be?"

Wow. It's not a consultant reference, speaker reference, or service provider reference - Steve was asking me (essentially) "Would this guy be a good client?" FYI Steve saw me connected to Larry through LinkedIn and some other social media sites.

Lessons for YOU:

  • We live in a hyper-connected world
  • People DO read your social media profiles
  • People DO judge you on the "company you keep" both online and off
  • If you're a pain in the ass - as a consultant, speaker, vendor, partner, OR client... word will spread faster than you can imagine
  • The top people in their field (ahem, YOU) do not have the bandwidth nor the interest to work with folks who are a pain in the butt
  • YOU can't afford to be a pain in the butt on EITHER side of the professional services buying equation

Comments? What do you think? Have you had some experiences to share along these lines? Would love to hear from you in the Comments section below...

Tags: marketing for speakers, marketing success, marketing for coaches, consultant marketing, consulting firm marketing, consulting, small business marketing expert, marketing coach, motivational speaker marketing, small business marketing, small business marketing speaker, marketing tips, referral marketing

Networking for professional speakers, consultants, solopreneurs

marketing coach marketing speaker networkingAs a marketing speaker and marketing coach, I can tell you that Networking is one of the most misunderstood marketing terms there is.

Professional speakers, consultants, coaches, and independent professionals either love it or hate it - and no matter which camp you find yourself in, there are probably some misconceptions and misunderstanding that are preventing you from making networking as fully effective as it can be and should be to help you grow your business.

Networking: What is it?

  • Meeting people at events, mixers etc. (the obvious first step)
  • Goal: move it to a different level, namely...

Power networking

  • Introducing people to each other (Netweaving)
  • Having breakfast, lunch, coffee or dinner 1-on-1 to build new key relationships
  • Meeting people in organizations (civic/social; religious; recreational)
  • ASKING people to introduce you to someone
  • Doing favors for people for no reason (random acts of networking kindness)
  • Asking others for help and resources
  • Bringing a group of your own together for brainstorming, mastermind group, etc.

Maximize Your Affiliations

  • Friends, neighbors, church, hobbies, past bosses and colleagues
  • Speakers Bureaus, meeting planners, training companies, event producers
  • Your Professional affiliations (trade, professional, civic, etc)
  • Other colleagues outside of your peer groups such as NSA (speakers), IMC (consultants), or ICF (coaches) 
  • Your Industry affiliations within your target industry groups

Your Keys to Networking Success

  • Over deliver make them look like a genius for referring or connecting you
  • Lead and get involved (raise your visibility and credibility within each group)
  • Serve on committees, projects, and bring “outside” ideas to solve big problems
  • Become known as a connector, a hub, and a linchpin
  • Give three times as much as you hope to get 
How about you? 
Use the COMMENTS area below to share your networking ideas and tips... 


Tags: marketing for speakers, marketing for coaches, personal branding, netweaving, professional speaker marketing, referral marketing, referrals, networking

Referral Blurbs - Marketing Coach Tip


What does your referral blurb look like?

Excuse me? What?? You don't know what a referral blurb is?

Hmmm... don't tell me, let me guess: 

  • YOU are not getting enough referrals
  • You'd like to get MORE referrals but you're not sure how
  • You HATE asking for referrals
  • You do GREAT work - people should just refer you on the basis of your great work alone, shouldn't they?

Well, maybe all of that is true - but as it turns out, my friend, you are living in what we marketing coaches call "Referral Fantasy Land."

Want more referrals? OK listen up. 

YOU need a referral blurb. My friend, management training expert Eric David shared this idea with me. I wanted to introduce him to the CEO of a small 10-person professional services firm, one of my clients. He said, "David, that would be great. I'll send you the email."

I asked Eric, "What??"

He said, "I have an email ready to go that contains everything you need to send your CEO contact about meeting me, what I do, and why it might make sense for him." 

Dang... I was impressed. He says, "I'm building my business 100% through three strategies: 1. Personal networking; 2. Referring good people I know to others they should be connected to; and 3. Arming my network with this paragraph of email copy - his referral blurb.

You want to see what this looks like, don't you? Sure you do... OK you win:


Dear XXX,

I want to introduce you to my friend and colleague Eric David. Eric is the Delaware Valley licensee for Crestcom International, a leader in management and leadership training. After meeting with Eric and hearing about his training program, I think his materials and training methodology make a lot of sense (and could really benefit your organization). I suggested that you would be a great person for him to meet and feel completely comfortable asking if you would be open to meeting him for 30 minutes or so. Based on what I know about Eric and Crestcom, this 30 minutes will be well worth your time and there is no obligation if you are not interested after the half-hour meeting.

Thanks in advance for giving this your thoughtful consideration. I'm looking forward to hearing back from you soon.


Now, as a marketing speaker and marketing coach, I asked Eric 2 things: 

1. Do you mind if I steal this?

2. Do you mind if I try to improve it?

He gave his blessing, so here's my version. Notice that I changed not only the business (I'm a marketing coach, he's a management trainer) but I also tweaked some of the "ME" language into "YOU" language aimed at the recipient. Made it more about THEM. This is key. Take a look:


Dear XXX,

I want to introduce you to my friend and colleague David Newman. David works with small business owners and independent professionals who want to do a better job of marketing themselves and grow their business. After meeting with David and exploring how you are currently attracting, engaging, and winning clients, you may discover that his marketing programs make sense for you (and could really benefit your bottom line). I suggested that you would be a great person for him to meet and feel completely comfortable asking if you would be open to meeting him for 30 minutes or so.

Based on what I know about David and his track record of helping small and solo business owners succeed - even in this economy - your 30 minutes will be well spent, even if it's just to explore other ways you might be helpful to each other. Thanks in advance for giving this your thoughtful consideration.

I'm looking forward to hearing back from you soon.


OK, now it's your turn. You ready? Use this template:


Dear XXX,

I want to introduce you to my friend and colleague [YOUR NAME]. [FIRST NAME] works with [TARGET BUYER PERSONA] who want to [SPECIFIC BENEFIT or OUTCOME]. After meeting with [FIRST NAME] and exploring how you are currently [VERB STATEMENT OF AN IMPORTANT GOAL OF THEIRS], you may discover that his [TOPIC EXPERTISE] programs make sense for you (and could really benefit your bottom line). I suggested that you would be a great person for him to meet and feel completely comfortable asking if you would be open to meeting him for 30 minutes or so.

Based on what I know about [FIRST NAME] and his track record of helping [BUYER PERSONA CATEGORY] succeed - even in this economy - your 30 minutes will be well spent, even if it's just to explore other ways you might be helpful to each other. Thanks in advance for giving this your thoughtful consideration.

I'm looking forward to hearing back from you soon.


Send your referral blurb to 10 of your trusted allies, referral partners, and close business friends... and then leave a comment back here to tell me how much money you've made with this one incredibly powerful idea - your referral blurb.

Grab your FREE copy of the Strategic Marketing eBook.

And then leave a comment below with your questions, thoughts, and advice on the ideas above.

Are you a DO IT freak? Welcome to the club!! Please use the social media buttons at the top of this post to share it with your network. YOU are a rock star!





Tags: referral blurb, small business marketing speaker, referral marketing, referrals