Part 1 of 2

As an entrepreneur referrals are a major way of generating new business. Have you ever walked into a room full of people and thought, “How can I get referrals from this group?” I am sure you have! As business owners we walk into rooms full of people all the time. And we recognize these as ideal opportunities for generating referrals.

But if you don’t know how to effectively gain referrals in these situations, the opportunity is lost.

Here’s an important thing to consider: I’ve asked a lot of business owners over the years if they are getting all the referrals they want. Nearly every single person answers “no” to this question!

It’s as if referrals are these magical, wonderful pieces of new business that just seem to appear now and again. They have no idea how to re-create the scenario that led to their appearance often enough to make them happy with their referral revenue.

The majority of business owners my colleagues and I speak to do not even have a specific dollar amount or percentage of their overall revenue that they would like to obtain by referral. It’s amazing. So many people talk about wanting more referrals
but have absolutely no plan for how to get them.

Are you frustrated with the amount of referrals you are receiving for your business? Do you feel that more people could be generating referrals for you but are simply not doing it? Are you convinced that your business would run smoother and you would have better quality clients if you could just gain a steady flow of referrals?

There is a solution. It’s a philosophy I passionately believe in. It starts with a statement made by my colleague at the Referral
Institute®, Dawn Lyons

Please read the following phrase very slowly so you understand the true depth of this statement.

People know people, and the people in the know, know more people. So, if referrals come from people, who should we be learning more about? People!

In referral marketing, there is something called your “referability.” When others find it easy and enjoyable to refer prospects to your business, your referability level is probably high. If others are unwilling or find it difficult to refer new business to you, your referability level may be very low.

In most cases, if others consider you an expert in your profession, believe you will treat their prospects appropriately, and truly want to help you succeed, then they will be inspired to generate referrals on your behalf. They will do it often and with ease. This is your level of referability! The more referrals you are receiving from all of your sources, the more referable you are!

Your referability is greatly impacted by what we call ones Behavioral Style. What you must realize is this: Your behavioral style IS affecting your referrability!

As an entrepreneur, it is vital that you understand your ownbehavioral style and how it is affecting your referability. You also need to learn how to quickly identify behavioral styles in others and, most importantly, learn how to adapt your own approach to those different styles.

Referral marketing leads to few – if any – overnight success stories. In fact, the most crucial part is building relationships, which takes a lot of time and effort. However, when you’ve taken the time to build the right referral relationships with the right people, and you are able to understand each of their behavioral styles, these long-term relationships will be a huge part of your referral marketing business.

Here’s an example to help illustrate the point…

Imagine you’re at a networking function, and you meet someone who’s in a profession that could refer you very easily. You’re enjoying your conversation, and you feel that this could be a good connection. So, you decide to set up a lunch meeting.

At lunch, the person starts asking a lot of detailed questions. He wants to know how long you’ve been in business, what your company organization looks like, your whole list of products and services, how much you charge for these services, etc.
He asks all sorts of technical questions, too.

For those in one particular behavioral style it would be hard for them to understand why in the world he would want all this information. For them, this type of questioning almost seems suspicious for a “get to know you better” meeting. But for the questioner, who has a different behavioral style, it’s completely natural. They feel they need this type of information before making a referral.

Can you see how the two styles did what was natural for them? One wanted to gather all of the information possible. The other just wanted to hang out and get to know each other at a very surface level. One felt he was getting necessary information. The other felt like it was an interrogation. As a result both sides walk away feeling awkward and exhausted.

Please understand neither person was right or wrong. It’s simply how people are wired. There are some who need all of the information and all of the details in order to move forward in a relationship. Others take their time in getting to know you and really build the relationship before looking for all of that data. They want to know you as a person first, then as a

Here’s the issue: The person needing all of the information could be someone who can generate consistent referrals for you over the longterm. However, if you don’t understand the behavioral style upfront and don’t know how to work with them, you
could decide not to develop the relationship. This could be a big mistake.

Are you wondering how many referral opportunities you might have missed by not communicating well with someone who has a different “style” than you do? Then stay tuned for part 2 of this article, where I will go into the main four Behavioral Styles in

Called the “father of modern networking” by CNN, Dr. Ivan Misner is a New York Times bestselling author. He is the Founder and Chairman of BNI (, the world’s largest business networking organization. His book, Networking Like a Pro, can be viewed at Dr. Misner is also the Sr. Partner for the Referral Institute (,
an international referral training company

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