One northern Manitoba February, Bert, a new AA convert,
was driving me from Flin Flon to The Pas to work with
another agent. Bert's enthusiasm for AA bubbled throughout
the trip, and I learned many things that helped me improve
One was that "You've got to give it away to keep it". To
Bert, at the time, this meant spread the AA philosophy.
To me, it meant the sharing of all ideas.
It also applies to referrals. To get them, give them.
You want referrals. And you know many others who also
want them. Have you given them any? If not, why should you
expect any from them?
Consider your accountant, your CA. How does she acquire
new clients? Through referrals. Have you ever given her
No? Then take her to lunch. While you're eating find out
as much as you can about her---the sort of stuff that
anyone hiring a CA would want to know. And what you need to
know in order to refer her.
When you get to coffee tell her, "I'm asking you all these
questions because every so often someone asks me if I know
of a good accountant. I'd like to be able to recommend you."
"But some of those who ask may not be what you want. So
tell me, how will I know if they're a good prospect for
Wow! Imagine if someone asked you that. Wouldn't you be
elated? This is exactly what any prospect-seeker dreams
of. Someone who is willing to feed her leads and asks what
Listen closely her. You might even want to take notes.
She may describe someone you already know, or have as a
client. (Of course, you can't just recommend her willy-
nilly, but you can let it be known, to those who are
interested, that you have met an accountant who really
Don't push it, but be ready to offer your specifications
for the prospects you're looking for, if she asks. But
don't expect it. Wait for it to come naturally. It may take
years, but eventually she will be giving you referrals.
Now visualize yourself having a lunch like this every week
with a different prospect-seeker. Think of the various
accounting specialists, lawyers, financial planners, even
competitors, to whom you could be giving referrals. And
who may feel obliged to return the favour.
But don't ask them to lunch with that in mind or you'll
blow it. Be gracious. Give it away to get it!
And schedule monthly follow-up phone calls to let them
know you haven't forgotten them.
And so they won't forget you.