March 14, 2022

The Dark Side Of Referrals

It’s not unusual for experts to decide that they need to grow their referral base. But there’s a dark side to relying on referrals for business development...

This week on TBOA, Rochelle and I talk about the pros and cons of referrals.


Talking Points

Why relying on referrals is a passive strategy with few controls—and a dangerous hidden cost.

The difference between referrals and word of mouth from your authority-building efforts.

The one exception where a referral system can be exactly the right approach (and it applies to a VERY small slice of experts).

Why investing in broader market moves (e.g. publishing and speaking) will bring you business faster and more reliably than courting referrals.

Quotable Quotes

“I’m like a control freak. I don’t want to depend on maybe somebody sending someone my way some day.”—JS

“I always help people if I can, but there’s a limit to what you can do for any one person before you have to turn the meter on.”—RM

“Like the difference between a hunting model and a gardening model, the word of mouth authority marketing is a gardening model.”—JS

“Referrals are a long-term play—and they’re so uncontrollable.”—RM

“I cannot stand the feeling of just hoping the phone rings.”—JS

“If you’re operating on an old model (and you haven’t positioned yourself well), depending on referrals is going to get worse.”—RM

“It’s that word of mouth that I would rather have, and it is more predictable than referrals—it’s more like tomatoes coming out of the garden.”—JS

“There’s such a difference in somebody who comes to you because of the authority that you’ve built—they come to you basically pre-sold.”—RM

Sharing is caring!

If you enjoyed this episode, please consider sharing it with a few friends who might find it useful. Thanks!

Can you help?

Has TBOA helped you in your journey to authority? If so, please rate and review the show in iTunes. Doing so helps folks like you find the show, and it helps us book more big name guests like Seth Godin, Jill Konrath, Joe Pine, and more.



P.S. Have you ever thought about starting your very own podcast but gave up on the idea?

I’ve got good news for you!

If you can run a Zoom call, you can host a podcast.

In my 5-Day Podcast Challenge, you will learn exactly what to do (and NOT do) to get your podcast off the ground in as little as five days.

Add your name to be notified when registration opens for the next session of 5DPC.


I hope to see (and hear) you there!