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.

  • Oct 27

    Business people seem quite willing to throw lots of money at the newest, unproven tactic for acquiring new customers/clients/patients when they would be better off plugging the holes in their existing processes that are leaking profits…

    Often right into their competitors’ pockets.

    Here are a couple of areas where you could quickly seal the holes and perhaps, double your profits.

    Probably the biggest area of opportunity for most people is following up with non-buyers. Often there is none. No systematized, automated strategy to follow up with prospects to turn them into customers.

    Of course, you have to capture the prospect’s information first and that’s another possible leak. But, if you’ve done something to capture their name and address or email, then you have the ability to stay in touch and perhaps move them from simply interested to paying customer. The higher the cost of your product or service, the more important this is.

    Capturing prospect’s information is an absolute must! It can be done online or offline, in-person, or by phone. Even though it’s easier than ever, many make no attempt whatsoever and it’s costing them thousands and thousands of dollars.

    Most business owners, when asked where their best leads come from, invariably say it’s a referral from an existing or past customer/client/patient. Yet most stumble across these referrals by chance. Almost none have a systematic approach to generating a steady stream of referrals.

    What if you weekly, monthly, or even just quarterly provided your referral sources with the tools they needed to refer others to you, such as useful reports, newsletters, emails, and instructions on your ideal customer and how to introduce others to you. You could create an “unpaid sales army.” By the way, your best referral sources might not ever have been customers. There are others who might champion your product or service. It’s not about who you know, it’s about how well you know them. If you’re curious, look up

    Plugging holes in your leaky profit bucket is often all you need to do to provide for all the growth you can handle. It just takes a commitment on your part.

  • Sep 1

    What is a champion? By definition, it’s someone who excels above all others. Generally, it refers to a world class athlete, but it could just as easily apply to a top businessperson. Nancy Holland Morgan, a two time Olympic skier, has identified seven traits that can help us understand how we too can get to the top of our game and become champions.

    You have to really like what you are doing. If you don’t have a love of the activity, an enthusiasm that turns into a burning, white-hot desire, then it may be time to sit down and reassess your life’s interest. Without it, you will not have the passion necessary to sustain the drive. Without passion, none of the other traits will even matter.

    Achieving success invariably means having to learn new techniques, master new skills, develop new strengths, or obtain new knowledge. But more often than not, as we learn new skills and techniques, we don’t get it right the first time. We have to practice. Repetition, practice, review, effort, feedback, all go into learning the fundamentals. Commitment to learning is an absolute necessity for improvement in any activity.

    Combine your desire with commitment to training, and you begin to formulate a thoughtful plan to improve your performance. But, all the desire and commitment in the world won’t do you any good unless you have a goal. Champions set goals based on their strengths and weaknesses. Their plans revolve around reaching new thresholds based on increasing their strengths and overcoming their weaknesses. Champions know that to compete seriously for their personal best, they must surrender themselves to the goal.

    The first three traits prepare us for the fourth: tenacity. Life is a series of tests; we have to pass each one to go on to the next. As we move higher up the mastery scale, we take the chance of falling harder and longer. The falls are always painful. But, we must learn to get up after each fall and continue onward.

    No one today makes it to the top alone. All champions surround themselves with a support team. The strength of others is crucial to achieving the goal of championship status. Your support team may be only your closest family members, it may be a friendship circle, or it may consist of a paid staff of advisors. Your team’s job is to keep you in the right attitude as you gain altitude.

    Do something every day that scares you just a little — not something life threatening, but something that causes you enough discomfort that you will become accustomed to pushing the envelope of your performance. Get to love your zone of discomfort. It means that we are in an awkward phase of learning a new skill or strategy to help us achieve a higher level of performance. Some people seem to move in and out of the discomfort zone more easily. This is generally either because they have more experience living in the zone of discomfort or they have learned to fake it better than others!

    People like to be around those who have an aura of self-confidence and positive self-esteem. Self-confidence means you believe in the potential of achieving your goals. High self-esteem means you are satisfied with your talents and are able to recognize and appreciate the talents of others. This is not about being arrogant, but rather a more humble expression that you are comfortable with yourself, your accomplishments, and your talents.

    Being a champion starts and ends from within. To achieve success, you must start with a strong desire and end with the courage to maintain positive self-esteem and confidence in your ability. But in between is where the real work takes place. Championship status takes every bit of inner strength and external leveraging you can muster. With hard work, the rewards will be those of a champion.

  • May 24

    They played baseball together for ten years, and it happened so often, Franklin P. Adams, a New York Evening Mail columnist, wrote an eight-line poem about it. Originally published under the title “That Double Play Again,” it is better known as “Baseball’s Sad Lexicon,” or simply as “Tinkers to Evers to Chance.”

    These are the saddest of all possible words:
    “Tinkers to Evers to Chance.”
    Trio of bear cubs, and fleeter than birds,
    Tinker and Evers and Chance.
    Ruthlessly picking our gonfalon bubble,
    Making a Giant hit into a double—
    Words that are heavy with nothing but trouble:
    “Tinkers to Evers to Chance.”

    A little background: Back when the Chicago Cubs were a dynasty they won the National League pennants in 1906, ’07, ’08, and ’10 and the World Series in 1907 and ’08. Anchoring their infield were shortstop Joe Tinker, second baseman Johnny Evers, and first baseman Frank Chance -the best
    double play combination of the day.

    Adams considered the poem a throwaway when he wrote it. He simply wanted to get out to the ballpark and watch the game. But those three may still be the best known Cubs of all time.

    But, it didn’t happen by chance. (Did you see what I did there?) It happened by teamwork. It happened because they practiced. It happened because Tinkers and Evers and Chance developed a special relationship with one another unlike most others. The same is true if you’re trying to grow your business by word-of-mouth. You can’t expect people to shout your praises and send you referrals just because you showed up at the ballpark. It takes a relationship to make it work. Referral relationships work just like other relationships work.

    Think about the relationships you have with your neighbors. How willing would they be to help you out if your car broke down? Depending on your relationship, they might each respond differently. One might outright refuse to help. Another might share the name of his favorite mechanic. Another might be willing to take you or pick you up at the garage. Still another might insist on fixing it for you at no cost. Each of your neighbors may display a different willingness to help. And naturally, your willingness to help them would probably differ as well. Even your requests for help would be dependent on your history with each of them.

    Great referrals don’t happen just because you ask. At some level of consciousness, people who are good salespeople know this. Yes, sometimes, just asking for referrals will work, but more often, asking someone with whom you haven’t yet developed a relationship, may sour them forever.

    Like a great double play combination, it may look easy, but it takes a lot of work behind the scenes to make it happen. Getting ideal referrals with strong introductions from influential people involves planning, preparation, and practice. It involves developing that special relationship.

  • Jan 20

    In the book Masters of Networking, Don Morgan asserts that there are three ways to increase the power of your network and improve its ability to help you achieve goals. Fortunately, he says, anyone can create this leverage by understanding three fundamental characteristics of human nature. However, he goes on, only those dedicated to becoming master networkers will commit to mastering the arts of friendship, generosity, and character. The person who creates this trilogy of leverage will be on the road to unlocking the full power of networks.

    Friends like to help friends. And at some point in your life, you’ve probably helped a good friend do something that you might not have enjoyed doing— painting a room, helping out with the move–just because he was your friend. You really couldn’t avoid it. If you make good friends of your networking associates, you gain the same kind of leverage.

    How do you turn networking associates into good friends? There’s nothing complicated or mysterious about it, Morgan says. Think back how you and your best friend became friends. You went places together, did things together, talked about things, and one day you realize that you have been best friends for some time without even realizing it.

    That’s what you do with your networking partners. Go places with them, do things with them, help them when they need help. Soon you’ll discover that associates have become good friends. Not all of them, of course, but the more effort you put into it, the more friends you’ll make. And the more powerful your network will be in helping you achieve goals.

    You’re at a party. You’re given several presents. You don’t have anything to give in return. How do you feel? A little less than wonderful, right? It’s human nature to want to give a gift in return.

    The same holds true in networking circles, when you give something to a networking associate- a business referral, emotional support- she’ll want to give you something in return. Perhaps you won’t get a return gift immediately. However, the more you give your networking partners, the more inclined they will be to reciprocate.

    A true gift is an unconditional gift; you give without expecting anything in return. However, usually you get something back anyway. First, you gain the satisfaction of helping a friend. Second, human nature dictates that you will get something in return. When you least expect it, you may receive a gift worth far more to you than the time and effort you expended.

    The most lasting impression others have of you is the first impression: the way you looked and behaved when they first met you. If that’s a bad impression, it may take a long time to overcome and others may be reluctant to get involved with you. A master networker understands this and puts a lot of effort into creating a good first impression by dressing and behaving appropriately at all times.

    However, your long-term image goes well beyond how you look at first glance. Equal in importance, according to Morgan, are three character attributes: responsibility, reliability, and readiness. The group needs some tasks done or problem handled, do you take responsibility? Can you be counted on to come through when the need arises? Are you quick to volunteer your services?

    Above and beyond the first visual impression you make, your responsibility for, reliability within, and readiness to participate in group activities become the most important aspects of your image in the long run. If the group sees you as an asset by virtue of your character, individuals in the group will trust you, rely on you, and enjoy associating with you. And they will feel more comfortable referring their friends and associates to you— and your business.

    In the end, this trilogy of networking leverage comes down to an old principle, known in some parts of the world as the “Golden Rule”. In BNI we just phrase it a little differently: “Givers Gain.”

    To find a BNI chapter near you, visit

  • Apr 15

    There seem to be certain misconceptions about the networking process. Some would-be networkers use a spray and pray approach. They show up at a networking event, like a chamber function or a BNI meeting, talk to as many people they can, shove their business card in the prospect’s hand, and move on to the next one, never pausing long enough to actually learn anything about the person they’ve just met.

    That unlucky prospect has likely dismissed that “networker” as someone only interested in themselves and are therefore unlikely to do business together.

    Others feel networking is just a waste of time and don’t get out there at all. Perhaps they feel: “If I do a good job for people, they will naturally tell others about me.” If this was true you can only imagine the amount of business referrals you would have. What is true is that the only way you’re going to really kick in word-of-mouth referral marketing is to far exceed your customers’ expectations. In the book, Masters of Networking, Ron Sukenick calls it going into legendary status, with the people you do business with. Remember the story where a lady returns a set of automobile tires to the famed Nordstrom department store and requests a full refund? Within minutes, the cashier returns her money, thanks her for the visit, and the customer walks out satisfied. If you’re asking what’s so legendary about that, the answer is Nordstrom doesn’t sell tires and never has. You see the point is, if you want people to talk about you, you have to far exceed their expectations. I’m sure you’ll agree that Nordstrom did just that.

    So, let’s also address the myth that networking just takes too much time and energy. If you include it as a part of your marketing strategy, it isn’t. Networking is not a place you’re going to, but a place you’re coming from. Sukenick describes it like this: Instead of walking up to the fireplace and getting warm, think of yourself as coming from being in the fire. By doing this, you’ll bring your whole self to the meeting and people will be impressed with your presence. Don’t confuse it with something you have to do as drudgery or something you must spend a lot of time preparing for. Just have it be a part of everything you already do. Remember, it’s a process for developing and maintaining relationships and it’s a passion that one develops from the work they do.

    So, don’t just think of networking as something you do sometimes and some places, but instead as something that you can do with ease all the time and everywhere.

    If you’re interested in developing relationships with referral sources as opposed to just handing out business cards, come, be my guest at a BNI meeting. We meet every Wednesday morning at the Church of the Redeemer, located at 1100 Cody Road S. in Mobile, at 7:30 AM. Give me a heads up you plan to come and I guarantee a warm welcome.

  • May 3

    If you want to succeed in your business, whether that’s a part-time Mary Kay gig or a multi-company empire, then meeting people who’ve already succeeded before you is going to be a huge help. In fact, this could be the sole difference between success and failure. But how do you network locally and at seminars? Learn from my mistakes… and from many years of watching these groups work. Of course, these tips hold true for online networking as well.

    I think it was renowned author and speaker Bob Burg, who said: “All things being equal, people will do business with and refer business to, those people they know, like and trust.” All things not being equal, people still prefer to do business with people they like.

    If you want someone to share with you their success stories for building their business, then step number one is to build a friendship with them. Get to know them personally, and allow them to get to know you. Show a little vulnerability, as well as curiosity and interest toward them.

    Once you have a relationship, then talk business.