“The Referral of a Lifetime” by Tim Templeton

Subtitle: The Networking System That Produces Bottom-Line Results… Every Day!

Recommended to me by: Karen Wehrman

A quick and amusing read, this book teaches a method of getting referrals and building business, illustrated with fictional vignettes. The vignettes are slightly dated in their attitudes toward women, but at least women are shown as successful business owners.

The system is based on treating customers and contacts with integrity, staying in touch consistently, and asking for referrals. While it is recommended to outsource sending “items of value” every month (the author’s business provides that service), it is also recommended to make the system fit each particular business.

I recently realized that my business is personal, not personalized. I send hand-written thank you notes, not cards printed by a service. I spend a couple of days each month writing a substantive article to send to my mailing list.

While I don’t think this book outlines the only way to succeed at business, and I don’t think it’s a perfect fit for my business, I’m going to keep thinking about the suggestions and how they might apply. It wouldn’t hurt to emphasize my commitment to service and ask for referrals more often!

Available at Powell’s Books.

2 comments to “The Referral of a Lifetime” by Tim Templeton

  • One thing I find that these types of books tend to miss, for service-oriented businesses, is the concept that trust is often established by seeing the practitioner’s personal quality in another context. This is not necessarily true of, say, a CPA or a hairdresser, but it can be very powerful in businesses where affect/persona are very important to client relationships. Very effective networking can often be done in participatory/volunteering scenarios that allow you to show who you really are, which always translates into who you really are as a service provider. This can broaden your referral base; past clients are great referral sources, but it’s also good to tap into a broader sector. Many of my best clients came from a writer’s group I used to run…which had nothing to do with my business, but I had a built-in personal alignment with the other participants, and all of them got the idea that if I could effectively organize a group of creative people, I could probably do lots of other stuff effectively as well. Conversely, networking specific to my business was entirely useless…there wasn’t anyone there who really “got” me.

  • This is a good point! Thanks for commenting.

    I think I need to hand out more business cards while I’m volunteering though. The folks at Transportation Options think I’m great, but they don’t necessarily know about my healing business.

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