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.

  • 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.