Michael: Hello, and welcome to the HaBO Village podcast. I'm Michael Redman.
Kathryn: And I'm Kathryn Redman.
Michael: And this is the podcast for you, business owners and leaders who really want to build companies full of passion and provision. What do we mean by that? We mean that you're financially successful, things are going well, you can afford growing for the future, but you're actually enjoying yourself. You're actually fulfilled and working in your purpose and your giftings. This whole entire podcast is geared to work with you, to help you, to encourage you. And today, we have a really cool guest, I think you're going to really like her. It's going to be a lot of fun today.
Kathryn: It is going to be fun. So I am super excited to introduce Stacey Brown Randall to all y'all. Stacey is a multiple award-winning author of a book called Generating Business Referrals Without Asking.
Michael: Which is a good book. I read your book.
Stacey: Thank you.
Kathryn: He hasn't taught me anything, so that's your job, because I have not read it yet. She's hosted the Roadmap to Grow Your Business Podcast and a national speaker. She's had the privilege of helping well-known corporations and franchises, but we love her because her focus is on small business owners and solopreneurs in the real estate, financial, and professional services industries. She's been featured on national publications like Entrepreneur magazine, Investor's Business Daily, Forbes, CEO World, Fox News and more.
Michael: She gets around a lot, in positive way.
Kathryn: She's a busy girl. She's also got her master's in organizational communications. So, that's amazing.
Michael: Which I really like that a lot. Obviously, I like that a lot. I have an instructional design degree and I just love my org comm people. But that's going back a long time now.
Kathryn: And very critically, is married with three kids. Stacey, welcome to the show. We're so excited to have you.
Stacey: Thank you so much for having me. I'm excited to be here. When people say, "Oh, and she's married with three kids," my just automatic response is, "Yep, it's three too many, but they're all mine."
Kathryn: How old are they? How old are your three kids?
Stacey: So every summer we find ourselves in a spot where they have very close age as they are 11, 12, and 13.
Michael: Oh my gosh.
Kathryn: What were you thinking?
Michael: That was a busy 24 months or 36 months.
Kathryn: You were like pregnant for four years solid.
Stacey: A forever endeavor. What's interesting is the 10 year old just turned 11, the 12 year old has yet to turn 13, and the 13 year old is actually our nephew that we have custody of. We took custody of him when he was seven. So I only birthed two of them.
Kathryn: That makes me feel better for you.
Stacey: And it's interesting because when I say the boys, right now they're 13 and 12, but they're both rising eighth graders, everyone's trying to do the pregnancy math in their head. They're like, "Wait, you said it's not twins. I don't get it." And I'm like, "That's because I didn't have to birth all three of them, I just had to do two."
Kathryn: That is awesome.
Michael: I think if they were all my kids, I'd be telling stories like, "Oh, well, we held one of them back," or, "One of them skipped fourth grade."
Kathryn: So you'd just lie?
Michael: Well, yeah, because it would be fun for a moment, and then I would confess my life.
Kathryn: Oh dear, oh dear.
Michael: Okay. So we're going to talk about who knows what today, but the core of what we're talking about is getting referrals, that's Stacey's main subject. Fair to say that's the main subject? Did I get thesis of the book correct?
Stacey: That is my zone of genius, yes.
Kathryn: I love zone of genius, excellent.
Michael: Oh, zone of genius? Yeah, actually, that's your jam. And when it comes to that, when I read the book, I told you a little bit about this. First of all, I thought we'd been doing okay with referrals for the last 19 years.
Kathryn: Yes. This is basically what he said to me after reading the book, which is all I know, is, "We have been doing it completely wrong."
Michael: We suck at this and we're doing it all wrong.
Kathryn: Which is why I'm like, "Okay, Stacey lay on some wisdom, girl. Let's have it."
Michael: And then the other part is, "Dang, I'm leaving a lot of money on the table if this woman's right."
Stacey: And she is, she is right.
Kathryn: All right.
Michael: So for our listeners, would you please describe... This is going to be one of those interviews, I can see it already.
Kathryn: It's going to be a good time.
Michael: Would you please describe, what's thesis that you have? And then let's dive into that and talk about why, what, how, and all that kind of stuff.
Stacey: All the good stuff. Sure. Okay. So think back to all the times you've ever asked anyone, read a book, gone through a sales training, anything you've ever done in your past when referrals came up and it was being taught to you, what's the number one way they have then told you, "Hey, if you want referrals, here's how you're going to get them"? What do they tell you?
Kathryn: They tell me that I need to round up the people who I know really care about me, who are my clients, and I need to talk to them either face to face or I need to email them, or I need to write a testimonial on their behalf that they will approve.
Michael: But you're then asking them for it.
Kathryn: But I'm then asking them for it.
Michael: We're supposed to go to them and ask them.
Kathryn: I definitely have to ask for it.
Michael: It's funny thing, we're in a push that we're with a consultant we have and everything else, and we're all guilty now based on your book.
Kathryn: Including our consultant. Boy, he's getting it.
Michael: Shame everywhere, shame.
Kathryn: He's in trouble.
Michael: Like, "Dude you need to read this if we're going to pay you any more money." And we have been in this push for a whole new venture of ours, and we've been doing that, looking for referrals, going out and asking, we sent an email, "Can we talk to you?" And then, "Can you think of anybody?" It has basically failed miserably.
Kathryn: It has. They all say, "Yeah, I'll think about it. I'm sure I've got people." And then it just never goes anywhere ever.
Stacey: Because they're lying to you.
Michael: So can you fix us?
Stacey: That's the crux of it. And it's not because they want to lie to you, they are clients who've worked with you or strategic partners or contacts or centers of influence that have been in your network. They probably love and adore you. But when we ask them for a referral, we instantly change the relationship. And actually, what we do is we start to commoditize the relationship. And so if all the advice we've ever heard is that you've got to ask, and then sometimes you're told or create some type of compensation type plan you'll compensate them for the referrals, but that's still asking and then compensating them for it. Or you're going to be really promotional and gimmicky in what you do to be able to receive referrals.
Stacey: That's been the drum beat of referrals and how it's been taught, not just for decades, but I would argue for generations. We've all heard the same thing. I heard the same thing. When my first business failed and then I looked back and I was like, "Okay, why did my business fail?" As I found myself sitting in corporate America again, I identified the fact that my first business never received a single referral. And I was like, "Okay." When I started my second business, I was like, "We're going to get some referrals. How do we do this like everybody else?" And then I was like, "Oh, all the advice is I have to ask." But most people I know don't want to ask, so where does that leave us?
Stacey: And then their advice is, "Oh, well, if you're uncomfortable asking, you just be okay with being uncomfortable. You've got to push through that, you've got to get out of your own way, you've got to get out of your head trash, and you still have to be willing to ask. And I know that people say that tried and true is supposed to be what we follow. The problem is, this tried and true methodology we've been taught for referrals isn't working, and it hasn't been working. Asking for a referral has the same type of return on investment as a cold call, it's very, very low. And so, yeah, every once in a while it works, but it doesn't work consistently.
Stacey: And so when I was faced with the same information, they're like, "Go ask for them." I'm like, "No." I just couldn't. I just couldn't bring myself to ask people that I knew and cared about for referrals. I was like, "There's got to be another way." I typically like to reverse engineer the things to figure out how I'm going to do them or how they work, and it's usually how I think about how I'm going to teach somebody too, is I reverse engineer it. So as I started reverse engineering referrals, it forced me to look at the human dynamic and psychology behind why referrals happen in the first place.
Stacey: And when I got that straight, it opened up this whole idea of where my focus should be. And it shouldn't be on asking or compensating or being gimmicky and cheesy and promotional, it should be focused on the relationship with the person who has the opportunity to refer me. And so when we look at referrals differently and we're willing to say, "Okay, I'm not going to do any of the other stuff and I'm going to focus on relationships and build those correctly." Then we can see that there's a different type of methodology and mindset, and of course, where our heart has to be in it as well in addition to the tactics that we take to be able to generate those referrals.
Stacey: Because the truth is, when I had my first business fail, went back to corporate America, figured out how to start my second business, decided I wanted to get referrals, in the beginning, I'll be honest, it was like, "Throw spaghetti on the wall." Anything not to ask. "Throw spaghetti on the wall. Let's focus on the relationship, let's see what sticks." And my second business was, I was a productivity and business coach. At the end of my first year, I had received 112 referrals, none of which I had to ask for. And then I started refining the process and continued to have that success every year since, and then of course started to teach my coaching clients that same methodology.
Stacey: And the truth is, there are other ways to generate referrals without having to ask for them. There's still work involved, there's still a process behind it, but there is a way to honor yourself and honor the relationship. Because the one thing you guys said was like, "Yes, we asked them and they're like, 'Yeah, I'll get back to you,' and then they don't." And you said what you guys have been doing, it feels like this utter failure, it's because nobody wants to give you a referral because you prompt them to, because that doesn't make them the hero. They want to refer someone to you because they know someone who has a problem and they know you can help them solve it, and that makes them the hero. And that is the psychology and the human dynamic behind why referrals work.
Michael: Okay. So let's jump in here because our listeners, you guys know us, you've been listening to us for a long time. And I was joking earlier about we've been doing it wrong for 19 years, because this is what's interesting. We went into this whole new initiative, we hired a consultant that understands this market niche that we're going into. And we were like, "Okay, I don't know how to generate the type of amount of people we need for the... " It's a high ticket offer, so we're moving into that area. But for the last 19 years, we haven't been doing it like that, we've been doing it like you described.
Michael: We've never asked for a referral from any of the clients that grew the company, we just did the work, built the relationships and it happened. When you started talking and when I started reading your book, actually, you were talking because I was listening to your audio book, which you did a good job reading, by the way.
Stacey: Thank you.
Michael: I was listening to you and I was going, "Okay." What's intriguing to me is that, not only this resonates with who we are as people and relational and want to be relational and don't want to be those people that have that salesy type of thing. The rest of our sales process, isn't gimmicky, it's relational. So that said, I started going, "Has she deconstructed this in a way that it could be more systematic?" Because for us, it's been intuitive.
Stacey: Well, yeah. And it's interesting because you bring that up and I'm laughing, because right now, we're trying to launch something new and it's been really, really hard. So I'm living in the moment of, "Yeah, we're terrible at this." But when you said that, it's like, "Oh no, we've grown our main business. The main business that we have has grown, I would say almost 90% by referral.
Michael: Well, and the secondary business has grown that... We have another business we started a few years ago in the pet industry, it sells pet food to rabbits, chinchillas and Guinea pigs. It's really kind of weird, but it's grown to, this year right now it's at about $2 million a year, no paid advertising ever. Yeah. So what we're watching is we're watching the growth of people who are finding us organically, but they're telling people about us and they're referring people and saying, "Yeah... " And it's a premium price, so it's not even a budget decision for them. So it has been relational there too, but it hasn't been transparent and the system hasn't been transparent enough. It's like, "I'm going into the right room in the dark and saying the right things, but I feel like if I just turned the lights on, it would be so much more productive." So turn the lights on for us.
Stacey: And you hit the nail on the head. And that's ultimately what I did, was, for some, this seems intuitive. When I talk about my process and my strategy and the system, there are people just like you who are like, "Oh wait. Yeah, that's what we've been doing." Maybe not in a systematic way. And maybe not as repeatable as we probably should have been and maybe, probably not with the target focus, that laser focus I would want you to have to of course, make sure that you weren't wasting time, but you've intuitively been doing this. And there are people who are just like that.
Stacey: What I find though is, the majority of business owners probably have that intuition, but they're so caught up in the everything else with running their business, that they haven't even considered this as an option in terms of how to generate referrals and focusing on the relationships, because they're like, "I don't even have time to answer my email, let alone take people to coffee," thinking that's what it means to build a relationship; and that's so not all that it means to build a relationship. So you're right. What I was able to do was figure out how to create a system out of it. And what I know with a productivity coaching background is, if I don't make it a system that's simple and easy enough for people to do and then give them the roadmap of exactly what to do, it'll be one more bright, shiny thing that they jump into, and then six months later, they haven't done anything with it because it wasn't easy enough for them to implement.
Stacey: Now, I'm not saying it's like the easy button from Staples, you push the button and boom, everything is amazing, there's still work involved. But there is this process that I know just with all the coaching and time I spent with business owners talking about why they can't get anything done, is that whole idea is it's be something that fits you, is authentic to you, but then is a system that you can see how it works. And so that is ultimately what I had to do. It wasn't how it started though. I didn't wake up one day and I was like, "Thanks God for that stroke of brilliant genius. I'm going to go teach people how to get referrals without asking." I went through the school of hard knocks, and I really paid attention to what I was doing.
Stacey: But then when my first couple of coaching clients that were small business owners said, "How are you growing your coaching practice so fast? It's hard to get on your schedule, you're raising your rates. Now, you're only coaching three days a week, and then two days a week." They're like, "How is this happening?" I'm like, "Because the demand is there. I'm getting these referrals and I'm not having to ask for them." And a number of my early clients said, "Thank you so much, Stacey for how to tame my inbox and all your productivity stuff, but I'd rather learn your referral piece. I'd rather learn how you're doing that."
Stacey: And that is when I was forced to figure out how to teach it to them. And then that's when the system started to reveal itself. And I would find myself in a conversation with someone and I'd be like, "Why isn't he getting it?" I'd be like, "Oh, he needs a visual." And then ultimately, and that's now I've been doing this, not quite a decade, but almost, but that's where it started from, is really, I desperately needed something to work for my business because I could not go through another business failure and I could not go back and have to buy a bunch of suits and go back to corporate America, and so I needed it to be successful for me. And then it ultimately just became the one thing that I loved to teach the most within my business, and now I get to help other people be successful.
Kathryn: Wow, wow, wow. Okay. So in this conversation, obviously, you're not going to teach us in half an hour, what you've spent a decade teaching and reveal an entire system and people pay you for, but can you give us just some high level? What do you do that isn't taking people to coffee, that isn't... What do you do? What are some tactics? What are you doing that's different?
Stacey: It's funny. People are always like, "Okay, can you break it down for us? I'm sure it's complicated." I'm like, "No, it's so not complicated." Now, when you get into it, obviously there are things and strategies and tools in your toolbox I want you to know so that you can execute correctly, but this is not complicated at all. And it is all built based on one simple philosophy, and that is referrals come from relationships, and relationships are maintained through connection. So what we have to do is we have to make sure we're creating the right relationships in our business and that we are maintaining that relationship through connections.
Stacey: But it's what we do within those connections, which are considered outreaches or what we call touch points. It's the, what we do in those moments, that impact how our referral source feels about us. And then with the language we use, then we get to direct how they think about us. And that is ultimately what it boils down to. And so I always tell folks high level, what we're looking at here is that, one, you're going to identify who your referral sources are. So this is based on the idea that you've received referrals in the past and you've done some level of tracking.
Stacey: Now, for some people who go through this, they're like, "Yeah, we've never tracked the stuff." And I'm like, "Well, then a walk down memory lane is in order as you try to uncover where some of your clients came from over the last couple of years. But when we can identify who's already referred us, that means we have existing referral sources, and that's the best place to start. Of course, you probably need to learn how to turn non referral sources as clients and contacts who've never referred you. Yeah, you need to know how to turn them into referral sources, and that's another piece of the process we teach.
Stacey: But ultimately, the easiest place to start is when you are looking at people who've already referred you and then building out a way to take care of them and a way that's memorable and meaningful, it keeps you top of mind, gives you an opportunity to plant referral seeds, where you continue to nurture that relationship. So it's knowing who the right who are, "Who are my referral sources?" Then the building out a plan of how I'm going to take care of them. And that plan is multifaceted in terms of the, what I do, but also, what I say and how often I do it, and making sure we're doing the right things.
Stacey: And then, turning it into a system so that you can delegate, outsource, or if not, if you're a solopreneur, making sure how you're going to execute on this plan throughout the year. It really does boil down to just that in terms of how the overall, that high level viewpoint of how the system works. And most people go right where you went Kathryn, they're like, "Okay, tell me what I do? What is the what?" And I always say, "That's a great question, it's just not the right first question." Because what you will end up doing to take care of your referral sources in a way that's memorable and meaningful and keeps you top of mind, that lets you plant referral seeds, your way to take care of who your referral sources are, is actually based on who they are.
Stacey: And so if we first identify who's been referring us, then we can figure out, "Oh, I know these people." Usually you do. "Oh, I know these people. I can see what commonalities that they have. I can see what would probably impact them." But what we build is a system that we're not doing individual touch points for every person and everybody's getting their own thing because that's chaotic and that will be way more than we can handle, but it is understanding who we're doing this for, and then building out based on a framework that I teach the, "What we'll do to take care of them."
Stacey: But for most people, typically we're talking about four to eight touch points or connection points in a year. We're not talking about daily, weekly, or even monthly, but it does start with who has been referring you and then let's create the way we're going to take care of them. And then I like wash, rinse, repeat models because that means I'll do it second year and third year and fourth year and on and on. We have somebody who's in the program who at the end of 2020, when it came to our end of the year, we did this end of year, build your plan for next year once you've been through your first year, it was build your referral plan for next year. And she built her referral plan for the seventh year, which means she's been doing this for six years.
Stacey: And she's like, "It's just the way I run my business. It's basically where most of my business comes from. It's how I run my practice, but it's a wash, rinse repeat model." And she just tweaks what she needs to throughout the year. So even though I talk about it in concepts of the, "Who are your referral sources and what are you going to do to take care of them?" It is still a process at a system that we want to streamline within our business so that it happens and it happens correctly.
Michael: Okay. A couple of questions for you that are coming to mind right now. First, how long does it take to dial in? First question. Second question, once it's dialed in, once you have a plan, how much time does this... Because I know people are thinking like I was, okay, how much time does this thing take? Because it sounds like it's worth the investment, but then if it takes four hours a day, I'm toast because I can't get anything else done. So what do those two things look like to start?
Stacey: Yeah. I love that you asked this question because I actually do a four-day challenge where I answer that question and everyone's like, "What?" They almost don't believe it. And I went through and I had a couple of the students who were in the program with me, some of the business owners, and I was like, "I need to know how much time this takes you." And we did like an average of what I've seen, and so I'm so excited to answer this question for you. I'm going to see how long I can draw out this answer though, while I keep you on the edge of your seat as I give you the answer. But number one is, it depends on how fast you move to actually do the work to dial it in.
Stacey: For some folks who have a CRM or some type of client relationship management tools, some type of database, some type of Excel spreadsheet that lists out their clients over the last couple of years and probably have some tracking of how they heard about them, you can knock through identification of your referral sources, then building out your plan and then getting the language piece right and systematizing it in less than half a day. If you go through and actually watch the videos that are in my program, Growth By Referrals, I think they come in just under two and a half hours.
Stacey: And then I always say, double that for the time it will take for you to complete the work and the couple of modules that there's actually work, where you have to do some work, and then upload it and get my feedback on it. So I would say, between breakfast and lunch or lunch and dinner, you should be able to knock this out. But that's if you're going to sit down and go through it. Some people are like, "I'll do it little bit by little bit over a series of days or weeks," but really, that's all it takes because this stuff isn't complicated. And particularly, when I'm doing it for folks in my program, I give them everything they need. I'm like, "You've got four to eight touch points, most people need six to eight. I'm going to tell you what four of them are."
Stacey: I tell my students, I'm like, "I'm going to tell you what you have to do, and then I'm going to tell you what to say. You just got to come up with the others," And then we have a lot of examples. So dialing it in, half a day, maybe. You can drag that out, of course, or you can do it and knock it out. It also depends on how well your database is, because if not, it could take you a little bit longer than that if you have to remember how people learned about you or you'll ask them how they heard about you to get this information. Then execution. So we're going to do these four to eight, which is really, for most people in their first year, six to eight touch points.
Stacey: We're going to do them throughout an entire year, so 12 months. And when you look at what your touch points are, now, some of this is dictated by how many referral sources you have. If you have 12 referral sources, it'll look a little bit different than if you have like 45 referral sources, because that just means we've got to do more each touch point. But typically on average, when you're executing on your touch point plan throughout the year, those six to eight touch points spread out over 12 months, we're looking at about 25 to 30 hours in one year.
Michael: 25 to 30 hours in a year?
Stacey: In a year. If we broke it down by month, I don't usually do public mouth in my head, but this was easy enough for me to know, it's about two hours a month. But the reality of it is, you're not doing something every month because if you do something every month for your referral sources, you start to come off as a stalker. And then all of a sudden, you're losing the authenticity and the genuineness behind why you're doing what you're doing. And that can't be overstated enough. This isn't about, "Hey, I'm going to call these people six to eight times a year and be like, 'Hey, what's up?' And then just naturally, they're going to just give me some referrals and it's going to be perfect."
Stacey: This isn't phone calls, it's not six to eight phone calls in a year, it's not your newsletter that goes out every month, it's not the card that you decide to have a third-party company make you that you mail out every year or for every major and minor holiday. We have to be memorable and meaningful and what we're doing so that it has an impact on the person receiving it, which are our referral sources. And so when you think about what that looks like, once you have it built and it's six to eight times a year, it's not every month, but it does mean there is a little bit of work involved and you need those hours to do things. And there's a variety. I guess this is the best way for me to say it, there's a variety of what we do.
Stacey: It can't be six to eight phone calls, it can't be six to eight coffees, it can't be six to eight events. You've got to break it up and do different things. It can't be a whole bunch of gifts you just mail out and never have a conversation with someone, you've got to take the variety of what we do and make sure there's a cadence that works with it as well. There is a framework behind how we build it, how we make it be impactful, But you've got to bring the right mindset to it, you've got, be authentic about it, and you've got to bring the right mindset and place of your heart of like, "Hey, these referral sources take care of my business. Of course, I want to take care of them." This is just a better way to do it in a more meaningful and memorable way.
Michael: I've got a couple of thoughts in my head, as I'm looking at my wife. Those of you who are listening, you can't see me looking.
Kathryn: It was such a pause.
Michael: Because I've got examples running through my head. One of the things we've seen Stacey is there are perfect moments that are actually more momentous from our perspective. Matter of fact, you say 46, let's say 68, I could knock out three of those in one shot if I hit a birth, a wedding, or when there's actually somebody there's a tragedy in their lives, and we actually stop a moment to just say, "We're sorry, and we're thinking about you." Because it's those moments that very few people show up to say anything, they're either don't show up or that it's awkward. And it's amazing how much more powerful those are.
Michael: Now, I'm not trying to leverage them in a manipulative way, but it's caring.
Kathryn: It's caring saying I care.
Michael: My mother who is the epitome of what you're talking about, she is a regular funeral goer because it's just what you do. To her, she doesn't sell anything. Everybody thinks she's amazing, but she just cares about people, and she'll drop in and she's taught me that you can drop in for five minutes. It could be a five-minute phone call or a three-minute phone call, you could stand at the front door and just say, "Hey, I brought you a casserole or I brought you some flowers because of X." Now, in business, you can't always show up at their door, but you can do other things like that, I think, that are really powerful, and when they're unsolicited and they're just about them and they're totally about them and not about a holiday or not about anything else, it seems to stand out more. What do you think about that?
Stacey: Let me talk about that in two different ways. One from the system and process way, and then one from the heart of what you're talking about. So I think it's very, very true that there are moments in people's lives where we think about showing up and then we don't. And those are those times where we tell ourselves, "Well, it's the thought that counts." And I'm always like, "No, it doesn't because nobody knew you thought it.
Kathryn: Nobody knew you thank.
Stacey: It didn't matter. Nobody knew you thought it, so it doesn't really matter. It's like our neighbors who just had twins, it doesn't matter how many times I've thought about taking them a casserole even though I can't cook so it would be my husband having to make the casserole. I haven't done it yet, so it hasn't happened. It's great though, yay. Thank goodness they've only been home from the hospitals a couple of days, I don't feel like I'm like too far past the opportunity, but we did after the 4th of July and it's like... You know what I mean? The thought actually doesn't count, and not in this case.
Stacey: I have a student in my program and she's been in the Growth By Referrals program for two years, she's also in our Inner Circle. The continuing on part of our program is called the Inner Circle and she got engaged, and she just recently got married in June this month, but she got engaged. And she said, I was the only person who sent her an engagement card. And she's a real estate agent and she knows a ton of people. And that's not to say people didn't probably say it when they saw her or they didn't say it right in a Facebook message or whatever, but I'm the only one who took the time to go to the store and get an engagement card and send it to her and say happy engagement.
Stacey: And she remembered it to the point that she then told it to me. And her thing was like, you live what you speak. That was her point to me with that, but I was like, "I was the only person that sent you an engagement card?" I'm like, "Well, you're going to get a lot of wedding gifts, I would hope, and wedding cards and things like that." But here's the thing about touchpoints like that, they're what I call the one-off because they don't all happen for everybody who's a referral source for you at the same day and at the same time, thank goodness, particularly if it's a tragedy. They're not all going to have the same birthday, they're not all going to have the same anniversary, and they're certainly not all going to have the same day where a tragedy strikes.
Stacey: So our system that we build, the six to eight touch points are actually removed for that personalization piece, because something's happening based on your birthday, your anniversary, your child's going off to college, but they're the one-offs, I never want anyone to overlook. I'm like, "If your referral source is on LinkedIn saying that they won an award, I want you acknowledging that." And it's just an extra above and beyond touch point that you're going to do because it's something that happened in the moment, but it doesn't take away from our six to eight touch points that we're actually going to do throughout the year as part of the system and process to take care of them.
Stacey: Because here's how I tell folks to think about this, if I know I'm going to take care of my referral sources six to eight times a year and nothing bubbles up, like they win an award or they have an anniversary and I forget their birthday, none of that stuff were to bubble up. I'm still taking care of them by following the system six to eight times a year, anything else is just gravy. And that's the way I want folks to think about it. I don't ever want you not to reach out to someone in the wake of a tragedy or a celebration, but I also know that even if you don't, you're still continuing to take care of that relationship with your six to eight touch points a year.
Michael: I like that.
Kathryn: Yeah, that makes a lot of sense.
Michael: So leads me to another question. As my company grows, as my responsibilities grow, do I have to, as the CEO of the company be responsible for all of this stuff, or can I outsource any of it? Can I have an assistant help me? Or is that taboo?
Stacey: No. That's such a good question. We actually have an entire module in the program that's all about systemization, and part of that is what can you outsource and what can you delegate? And there's absolutely things that you can hand off to team members, you can hand out to outsource contractors, however you want to do it, but there are pieces that you have to keep for yourself. And I always tell folks, anytime you're writing a thank you note because someone has just referred you, I want you to write that handwritten thank you note. I don't want you handing that off to somebody else. And heaven forbid you hand it off to the third party robot who's just going to make it pretend look like handwriting.
Kathryn: Tell me how you really feel about those. Come on.
Stacey: I got issues.
Kathryn: That's awesome.
Stacey: I want you to find the easy button only when it's appropriate, there's just sometimes where it's not appropriate. And think about this, when I talk about you stopping to write the thank you note, typically for the folks that I work with for those small business owners that I work with, when someone decides to do business with you, they're not spending $5. There is a typical, significant investment when someone decides to do business with you. So when I refer someone to you, it's okay, and it should be worth your time to stop and write a handwritten thank you note. With anytime someone's referred to me, I know I'm making thousands of dollars. I'm not making five or $10. And so that is a big piece of this.
Stacey: What I teach isn't typically for what I would say, low dollar ticket items, like if it does cost you five, 10, 100 bucks, whatever, like that's not typically what my system is built for. My system is built for when you need to build relationships with people to send you clients, because they're willing to put their reputation on the line. So when we think about it from that perspective is there are things you own, handwritten thank you notes are one of them. Now, here's the thing, but if you're a CEO who has a sales team, I want each of your sales team members to have their own referral plan with their own referral sources identified. And when they receive a referral, I want them writing the thank you note.
Stacey: As a CEO at that point, you don't need to be writing the thank you note. The CEO will always have some referral source relationships they manage and continue to own just because they've run the business for so long, but it is also okay for you to hand that off and transfer some of those relationships to your individual sales team. And that's an important part of the process in terms of as your business grows, but there are pieces that you will always own, but typically it has to do when you're having to put your signature on something. Not every touch point is a handwritten card, sometimes it's a printed card. It's a printed card in terms of what it goes along with. Not every touch point is a card or something that's mailed, sometimes it's face to face.
Stacey: So it just depends on what your plan looks like. most of my plan, because the majority of my referral sources do not sit in Charlotte, North Carolina, they are all around the world, I haven't met in person, the majority of my referral sources. So obviously, I'm not taking anybody to the coffee, so that's not a part of my plan, but there are other things I do to maintain that relationship. And so when you think about it from that perspective, yes, there are things I want you to delegate and outsource. I have a productivity coach. Of course, I believe in delegation and outsource, that's my past, but there are certain things you also have to be willing to own, and typically it's that handwritten stuff that I'm going to tell you, I need you to do.
Kathryn: Let's say that you have to actually educate your referral sources about something that you're doing that you haven't done in the past, that they wouldn't naturally know to refer you for or a different way of doing it or something, how do you educate them about new stuff in the business when you're not actually serving them in that capacity and they don't know about it?
Michael: Wait a minute, wait a minute. I'm going to guess, at least short, the answer has to do with the way you talk to them and what you say to them, right?
Michael: That's as smart as I get right there. Go ahead and elaborate.
Kathryn: Tell me more. Tell me more than his smartness. That was a very smart answer, but tell me more.
Stacey: Here's the thing that we have to realize is everything that we do with our referral sources comes down to protecting the relationship, but also understanding how we can educate them for things we want them to know. And here's the thing, there's some referral sources that refer you right now with your existing business that we'll never be able to refer you for this new high ticket dollar item thing that you guys are headed towards. There are just some that they don't know those people. So the first thing I would do is I would tell you to get strategic about it. And the first thing I would say is sit down and look at your list of referral sources and just decide who has the best potential to understand this new part, this new service or new offering that you have, and who has the potential, not only to understand it, but also in addition to that, who's going to come across the ideal client?
Stacey: And then it all is all based on a relationship in a conversation that you're going to then have with that referral source. And this is why I always tell folks, things are situational because these are humans on the other side of this conversation. And I think that's the piece people forget, I'm not talking to a robot, I'm talking to someone I've probably known, maybe it's only for two years, maybe it's only for 22 days, or maybe it's for 20 years, but they're human on the other side. So we've got to make sure that we're having the conversation that is going to work for them as well. And so if not knowing anything and thinking all your referral sources are similar, here is one project, like one scripted way I would tell you to think about it.
Stacey: And so it would be a little bit about talking about how thankful you are for the referrals that they've sent you based on the business that they've been sending you referrals for. And I would even tell stories of like, "You referred us to so-and-so, we had an awesome time working with them. Oh my gosh, they had these great results," or whatever it was that you could connect it back to what they've done in the past. And then you just move into the conversation about how you're so excited this business has gone so well, you're such a part of our success because the referrals you sent us, and we're just so excited, we're also starting another area in our business, which is a little bit different.
Stacey: And then if they're open to that conversation, you have the conversation, but you don't ask them to refer people in that new way. You're going to talk to them about that business, and then you're going to gauge their interest by the questions that they ask. And it's in those moments, you've already planted a referral seed because of how you've thanked them for what they've done in the past, and then you've merged the conversation into what you're doing now, because actually the number one question, a referral source has, is they're sitting there listening to you, thank them for the referrals you've sent for the crux of your business, the core business that you have. And then they listen to you talk about where you're going.
Stacey: The number one question for them isn't, "Oh, how do I give you people for this new side of your business?" It's, "Oh, wait, can I still refer you people for the old part?" That's actually what they're thinking. So your conversation has to make sure that you're hitting on all those objectives that they may not be talking to you about. So it really depends on who the referral source is, and then having that conversation around, "Thank you so much for what you've done. Hey, we got a new direction we're headed in. We're still keeping up with the side of the business, we're just excited about this and I want to tell you about it." And then you make sure they get to tell you about what they have going on in their business. You've got to make it a two-way conversation.
Stacey: You're planting seeds here, and seeds do not grow based on one conversation, it's nurturing.
Michael: Okay. And we're running out of time because I want to be sensitive to your time and make sure that you're out of here. So here's some shotgun questions. So this is your cue, shotgun answers.
Stacey: Have you noticed that I don't do that well?
Michael: Absolutely. Which is why I'm giving you a verbal cue.
Kathryn: He is coaching you.
Stacey: I'm stealing the coaching right.
Michael: I can just hear one of the critic voices saying, "Look, this sounds really organic, that's great, blah, blah, blah." They don't really believe that, but they're saying that, and they're going, "This sounds like it's going to take 10 times as long as this other thing that seems way more structured of me asking and getting yeses or nos and working the numbers. What's the success rate, when you said earlier in the very beginning, the other one has a poor success rate, like cold calling, what kind of a success rate does something like this have?
Stacey: The success rate typically is going to depend on how many referral sources you have and how well you follow the system, but I have people going from three or four referrals on average in a year to getting 15 or 17. And that's like a financial advisor, which of course that is going to be really good for them. But I have somebody else who got 40 referrals in a year and got 314 in their first year, and then got 302 in their second year, and that was because COVID hit. So it really depends on the number of referral sources you have and how well you work the process. But the success rate that I see my students have is based on their ability to work the process, and then of course, add new referral sources when they need it. I don't have that percentage like, "Oh, 92% are going to hit it," because everybody's going to look different based on what they do.
Stacey: But the idea is that when someone comes into my program, we're like, "How many do you typically receive? How many referrals in a year do you get?" "Great. Based on your referral sources, there's a formula we use." And I tell you, this is what you get, and this is where I want to see you go. And that number is usually always doubled, tripled or quadrupled, and that's the number we're aiming to hit. And a lot of times, if they stick with the system, we're going to hit it
Michael: Well. And that's one of the things I picked up from the book was, there's a qualitative and a quantitative way of looking at the data, and a lot of times, even when we think it's more clear to send out a letter or give a phone call, "Do you have any referrals? I'm looking for this," it feels like it's much more to the point and it's not as vague, but the reality is when you're talking about numbers, you're talking about multiplications of what they're already experiencing. So to me, I'm thinking to the average person listening, if you're curious about this like I was, this whole process when done consistently will multiply what you have. If all you're doing is just asking people, which most people aren't, they're not doing anything and they're not asking.
Stacey: They don't want to ask, so they're doing nothing. So actually, you have nowhere to go, but up right at that point.
Michael: We've talked about people going after people who are your refers, let's say that either A, you have a small amount, or B, you have none that you can nail down, so how do you take your relationships and start figuring out who the refers are or nurturing refers out of that? I'm thinking when I'm trying to seed my lawn, I throw a bunch of seeds out there, I water all of them and some of them grow and some of them the bird steal, and some of them die. Is that how you would go about this, or is there a better way to do it than that?
Stacey: You know that's not a shotgun answer kind of question, right?
Michael: Well, I gave you a shotgun answer earlier and I didn't get a shotgun answer, so I'm like, "I've given up on shotguns."
Stacey: And I always go back to this because we're talking about other humans, so there's got to be a process and a system behind doing the right thing in the right way for the right people. So it's the same thing. We call them potential referral sources, it's the people that you wish we were referring you. And we start the same way we start with our existing referral sources, we identify them. And then there's a process I teach called the Running 5 and Keeping Warm of how we're going to move somebody from never referring us through cultivating a relationship with them, where we're focused on taking care of them, and using the right referral seed language to get them to the place where they give us our first referral. And then we know how we're going to take care of them because now they're an active referral source.
Stacey: So it's the same thing, we identify the clients and contacts, and there's a methodology behind, well, who should go on that list? Low-hanging fruit are always clients who have given you a testimonial or review, but someone who's never told you, I even enjoy working with you and you never talked to them again, maybe not. So there's a system of how I teach, identify the right contacts, identify the right clients. And then there's a process that I teach about how you're going to cultivate relationships with these folks as you do that throughout a year. And it's going to take multiple follow-ups throughout that year, using the right language, to get them to the place to think about referring you.
Stacey: But if you're helping them, that's what, turbocharges this process, and that's how I teach it. But we're just using language to get them thinking about helping us from a referral perspective, but it is still a process and it starts with identification and then working the relationship and making sure you're cultivating it correctly and then getting that first referral.
Michael: I like it. That's good. The last question I have at the moment, because if you talk more then I think of more questions.
Stacey: And I'm sorry.
Michael: No, it's great. I would love this conversation to go on another hour and it can't. Somebody like me is listening to your book or listening to this podcast, and I'm asking the question, why. Why does it work? Because I think I realized in the midst of this conversation that there's an intuitive like, "I know this works, it makes sense to me." But then I started thinking, well, if I step back one step, I'm like, "Yeah, but why?" Why does it work, and how would I explain it to somebody that it's not as intuitively clear to them? What do you think?
Stacey: Here's the thing I think because of the heart of everything we do, we're just going back to being good people and being willing to take care of those who take care of us. And at the end of the day, when I do something for you, I very well may do it because it was the right thing to do and it made me feel good, but when you acknowledge what I've done, you endear me that much more back to you, and that is ultimately why this works. And so if you come at this from... And I say this because, and I'm sure none of your listeners are like this, but there are people out there who read my book or go through my trainings, like my free trainings and stuff, and they're dead inside, and they're just thinking about themselves and they take, take takers.
Stacey: And I'm like, "Oh, this is so not going to work for you." Because we know it. When I'm dealing with another human and I can tell all they're thinking about is all the things they want to tell me and they're not going to ask me about me at all, and they're going to say how many business cards I can put into my hand, I'm like, "I'm done." I'm not even listening to you anymore and I don't remember your name when we're done meeting, or whatever it is, because at the heart of what I'm teaching you is to take care of the people who take care of you. But what I'm teaching you to do is do it in a way to where you honor that relationship, but at the same time, direct how they think about you, which is the language piece that we use, which is the referral CPs.
Stacey: And no one's doing it like this, and that's why, because I come at it from a perspective of, my heart is always in the right place. Yes, I want to hit my referral number like everybody else, but I don't do it in a way that would ever manipulate or take advantage of somebody. I do it in a way where it comes from a good place, but I have a system and a process behind so that I can actually do it correctly and use the right language. And that's why it works. Most of the time when people are in my program and they're like, "Oh my gosh, I sent out... " The very first touch point anyone does, it's called the kickoff card, and people do it and they're like, "I got referrals from this just one handwritten card I sent out."
Stacey: I'm like, "Because you never talked to your people like this before and they're appreciative, because you're acknowledging them." They're like, "Yeah, I noted it. My mom had taught me to do this stuff, I just don't do it." And that's where it really comes down to.
Kathryn: And I think it's interesting. We underestimate how people will respond. So one of our favorite stories to tell is that early on, we have a client that we've had for like 14 years and they're some of our favorite people. And the owner at that time, and he's passed away since, we sent him a thank you card with a $5 Starbucks card in it. And this guy was wealthy.
Michael: This was 12 years ago?
Kathryn: Yeah. This guy had a lot of money. And it was so stunning to us how he couldn't stop talking about how amazed he was that we sent him a $5 Starbucks card. He just was like, "Nobody's ever done that. That was just amazing." And we know in our own lives, there's evidence of when you send a thank you note, when you're actually caring for people, which we do, it really does matter, but then you get busy and you forget to do those important things, and there you are.
Michael: And there you are.
Kathryn: And there you are.
Michael: Stacey, this has been a lot of fun and very informative, and thank you very much. We really appreciate it. Is there anything else that people need to know about this topic? And then let us know, how do people get ahold of you?
Stacey: Yeah. Here's the number one thing I always tell folks, this is the one thing I would do, and once you do this step, you'll decide if you want to go forward, if you want to do more. And that is identify who your referral sources are. If you're going to identify who's referred you clients over the last three to four years, if you can go back that far, and you can look at those names and you can see the first and last name who those humans are, a couple of things will happen. You're going to be amazed, you're going to be amazed that there's people on that list you haven't talked to in maybe a year, and you're going to feel bad. You're going to be amazed at the people taking care of your business.
Stacey: And you're going to be looking at that list saying, "Where's Bobby? We go get drinks after work at least once a month and we talk about business all the time, but he's never referred me. Why isn't Bobby's name on this list?" There's so much behind those names on that list. And then you can say to yourself, "Are these the people I want to take care of and potentially get more referrals from?" And then you'll decide if you want to move forward. So the best place to reach me is the home base of my website, it's staceybrownrandall.com. Stacey does have an E, staceybrownrandall.com. But on there I would say there's a nine question Referral Ninja quiz. Just test your skill set, your ability at being able to generate referrals through our nine questions.
Stacey: And this is referrals without asking, and it'll tell you what level of ninja you are, and it'll tell you how to close the gaps if you're interested. And that's the best place to start to decide, "Okay, do I want to learn more? And do I want to do the work that would get me the results I want?"
Kathryn: All right. That's awesome. And we'll put that in the show notes.
Kathryn: Yeah. Well, Stacey, what fun? You're delightful. And I love that you don't cook, that makes me happy. My husband is also the chef in our house, so that is good news. No casseroles for my neighbors without assistance.
Michael: It's so true.
Kathryn: You're my people.
Michael: We got to stick together because our mother-in-laws they don't always understand us.
Kathryn: It's very confusing.
Michael: Yeah, we got to stick together.
Kathryn: Her mother-in-law understands perfectly. My mother used to cook like a fiend and then she hasn't used her stove in 10 years.
Stacey: I love her, what a woman.
Michael: She's done. She eat out every meal. She's happy.
Stacey: Yeah. That's how my mom is now. She's like, "I cooked way too much." She's like, "I melted way too much Velveeta cheese over your broccoli to make you eat it. I'm done. I'm out." She eats out all the time too.
Kathryn: I love it.
Michael: Well, we just want to thank all our listeners today for checking in. This was a really, really valuable time. This conversation, everything Stacey has said, look, we know from our own experience even though you've heard today, how we've blown it, how we've made mistakes and how we've even gotten lazy about not doing the important things and being that person who just thinks about it, but never does it. And we want to encourage you, really give this some thought, go take that quiz. I think it will be enlightening for you, I think it will be really helpful, because this is something that if you really want to take your business to the next level, if you want to break through where you're trying to break through, if you want to try and give yourself some more time and make yourself more valuable because you've got more demand for your services or whatever you're doing, this is a really critical place.
Michael: And let's face it, we all know this, we've sat with enough leaders, if you're not doing the things that you should do, just because they're harder or take more energy, then you're leaving stuff on the table and you know it. So stop doing that and start caring for people at that next level up no matter where you are. So thank you very much for joining us today, I'm Michael Redman.
Kathryn: I'm Kathryn Redman.
Michael: This is the HaBO Village Podcast. Take care and have a great week. Bye-bye.