Richard A. Lindsey, CPA

Lindsey & Waldo, LLC – Certified Public Accountants

  • Jan 19

    When you first join a networking group it can seem difficult to obtain referrals from fellow members. But, instead of giving up and looking for another group to join, there are some things you can do to encourage them to spread the word about you or your company.

    According to the book, The World’s Best Known Marketing Secret, when you first begin developing a referral based business, you receive a few referrals in the first year, twice as many in the second year, and then, in the third year, it really starts to jump. That being said, let’s talk about the three R’s of networking: relationships, reliability, and referrals.

    Word-of-mouth is about “relationship marketing”. If you approach the first year of your involvement in a networking group with the sole motivation of getting to know the other members well, you will be far ahead of the game.

    It’s not really about what you know or who you know; but rather, how well you know them that really matters! People do business with, and refer people to, people they know, like, and trust.

    The time it takes for people to get to know and trust you may vary from profession to profession. Obviously, it is unlikely you can get to know someone very well in the 15 to 20 minutes you might have before each formal meeting starts. You need to have time outside of meetings to get to know each other better.

    For the first year or so in a networking group, you’re putting in your time. Your referral partners are testing you, checking you out, and making sure that you deserve to have their valuable friends and clients turned over to you.

    Therefore, you must be credible to the other professionals with whom you hope to network. Bear in mind that you should feel the same way, too. Before you risk your reputation with your clients by referring them to someone who takes less care of them than you do, you must be very sure that the person you are referring them to is reliable!

    After cultivating relationships and proving yourself to be reliable, you get referrals as the result. Let me make this perfectly clear. You can’t sit next to the fireplace and complain the fire’s not producing enough heat if you haven’t first gathered some wood, put it in the fireplace, and taken a match to it.

    For someone to receive a referral, someone must give. I would suggest that if you’re not seeing the referrals you want to, then you need to check to see how many you are giving.

    This is a natural progression that can’t be rushed. I know it can seem frustrating at times when you’re anxious to see your bottom line increase quickly from all the referrals you’re anticipating receiving, but believe me, if you are patient and apply these techniques, you will see word-of-mouth marketing work for you in a big way.

    You can’t take an orange tree and rip it up from the ground year after year and replant it on the other side of the yard, just because it wasn’t bearing fruit where it was. You have to water, fertilize, and care for the tree where it is. In time, you will produce fruit in relationship to your efforts. You must approach building a word-of-mouth based business this way. In a solid networking group, you’re growing solid roots with the other participants. The worst thing for you to do is to pull them up just as they are getting set.

  • Jan 5

    The new television season has arrived, and I admit, I’ve checked out a couple of the new shows. One which intrigued me enough to watch a couple of episodes is called Wisdom of the Crowd. The premise of the show is that the multitudes of people connected to the internet can provide possible clues and connections for the computer to help solve crimes. Every time they post something to the crime solving app, they immediately have thousands of views because, everyone is waiting on pins and needles for their next post, right?

    And you know what the internet is also overflowing with? Cat videos.

    Look — who doesn’t love cat videos?? But the point is this: just because the crowd thinks something is great or true, doesn’t make it so.

    But, I’m continually gobsmacked by all the tepid “advice” bandied around for recent college grads and business owners. Not that I have anything against inspiration — I truly don’t! — but, so much of what passes for good advice out there can lead you into a trap of your own making. Trust me, as someone who has been there.

    Slavishly conforming to conventional wisdom about how to thrive in your calling is something I think we should all avoid. But, with BuzzFeed and all those other internet sites tossing around conventional wisdom left and right, allow me to question some of it…

    • “Just do your job.”
    Your job description is a bare minimum. Fulfilling it means you’ll probably keep your job, or that client contract, but you won’t stand out when buyers are re-upping contracts or managers are deciding whom to promote. Push the envelope a little so your contact sees that you’re committed to helping the organization, not just safeguarding your position or contract.

    • “Never say ‘No.'”
    You can’t do everything, know everything, or even attempt everything your boss or contractor asks. Be willing to admit when you don’t have the answer, or that you don’t have time for every assignment. Then, work with your contact to solve the problem, and accommodate his or her needs.

    • “Always go for the promotion or the larger contract.”
    You don’t have to accept more projects than you’re ready for, or a management position that doesn’t match your goals. Pursuing advancement for its own sake may lead you on a business path you don’t really want. Be sure of what you’re going for, and let your manager know what you’re interested in. Then, get to work preparing yourself for the position you want.

    • “Network constantly.”
    Aim for quality, not quantity, when you network. A “contacts” list with 700 names of people who barely know you won’t be much help when you need specific assistance. Instead, be selective so you can maintain solid connections with people who can really help you with your career or in the growth of your business. You’re better off with a network an inch wide and a mile deep than one a mile wide and inch deep.