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How to Get Referrals with Stacey Brown Randall

George Grombacher November 3, 2023

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How to Get Referrals with Stacey Brown Randall

LifeBlood: We talked about how to get referrals without asking, a simple exercise to determine how successful you’re going to be at doing this, a four-tiered approach to referrals, and how to get started, with Stacey Brown Randall, author, podcaster, speaker, and referral expert.       

Listen to learn why you’re closer to growing your referrals than you think!

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Our Guests

George Grombacher

Stacey Brown Randall

Stacey Brown Randall

Episode Transcript

george grombacher 0:02
Stacy brown Randall is an author, a podcast host, she is a speaker helping business owners generate referrals without even asking, which are, of course, the lifeblood of any enterprise. Welcome, Stacey.

Stacey Brown Randall 0:16
Thank you for having me. George. I’m excited to be here.

george grombacher 0:18
Yeah, definitely excited to have you on. Tell us a little bit your personal lives more about your work, why you do what you do?

Stacey Brown Randall 0:27
Yeah. So I mean, I think the most important stuff is that I’m a wife to one and a mother to three. And I always say it’s three to many. But that’s what we’ve got. So until we get him out of the house, that’s what we what we’re dealing with, we get a couple of high schoolers and middle schoolers. So we’re getting closer. But I actually do what I do with referrals and the strategies that I teach and the way my business functions, because I actually had to figure out how to generate referrals in a way that would work for me after my first business failed. So I had an HR human resource consulting firm, for four years, I big name clients like KPMG, BDO, Ally Bank. And after four years, I actually had to go back and get a gob and go back to corporate. And I realized in about the 18 months that I sat in corporate, I was meant to be an entrepreneur, I had to figure out how to get out of there. But I also had to figure out how to make a business to be successful. So one that would actually, you know, be able to pay me and all the things that you want a business to be able to do. And I realized that how I filled the prospect pipeline, how I kept that pipeline of potential new clients filled was something that I had never quite figured out. So I never quite got off the entrepreneurial rollercoaster of like that feast or famine mode, which happens, right, you get a client, you put your head down, you do the work, you look up, and you’re like, Oh, snap, there is not another piece of work on the horizon, which can happen a lot, you know, for consultants and such. And, you know, depending on the type of business model you have, maybe you have reoccurring, maybe you don’t, but you’re constantly needing to, to bring in new people, particularly in the beginning. And four years later with that first business, I still haven’t figured out how to do that. So that was the one thing I knew I had to solve. When I started my second business. My second business, I started as a productivity and business coaching practice. And I really was like, let’s figure this out. I started with what I know, which was networking. I’ve always had a large network. And that definitely helped me start my first and my second business. But I knew I needed to figure out something different really quickly. And like I said, I’ve got a bunch of kids so and I got a life and all the things so I started figuring out, okay, let’s get referrals. And like everybody else. I went to Google, what am I google Tell me? How do I get referrals. And what I got back was nothing I wanted to do, I didn’t want to ask, I didn’t want to pay, I didn’t want to have to be overly promotional and gimmicky. I didn’t want to have to network all the time, or attend a bunch of leads groups and hope that I would get actually get real referrals. And I needed to do something different. So I just tried to reverse engineer how I thought referrals that ultimately happened. And it really was a lot of throwing spaghetti on the wall to see what would stick. And in my first year as a productivity and business coach, I brought in 112 referrals, none of which that I asked for. And it was somewhere in that first year, my clients started asking, how are you doing this? Like, how are you building your business so fast? Like, like, what’s going on? And they said, I’m just getting a bunch of referrals. And we’re like, how are you doing that? And that forced me to figure out, oh, there’s a system and a strategy. And there’s a process behind it. Eventually, I completely shifted my business to just teaching a referral piece. And now we’re 10 years in, so that was 10 years ago. And we now have a bunch of different things that we teach our clients, but it’s all centered around referrals. It’s just looking at referrals in every area of your business, not just trying to follow one specific strategy. But the big thing is, is that we teach you how to generate referrals without manipulation, without incentivizing and without even asking.

george grombacher 3:57
Well, You’ve piqued everybody’s, You’ve piqued everybody’s interest for sure. No manipulation, no incentivization without even asking.

Stacey Brown Randall 4:11
So you know, a lot of a lot of people teach like the taking advantage of reciprocity. Well, to us, that’s manipulation. And a lot of people will teach, hey, when a client loves you, then they should be giving you referrals you you deserve, and are owed some referrals. When a client loves you, actually all a client owes you with money for a job well done. They don’t owe you anything else past that. That doesn’t mean you don’t deserve referrals. That doesn’t mean it would be amazing if they gave you referrals, but you’re manipulating them when you use a tactic to try to take advantage of that reciprocity. And that tactic at that point is usually will just ask them for referrals and tell them that they owe you referrals. And then you know, there’s a ton of tactics out there about incentivizing like the bonus programs, right. Oh, if you were if you send me a client right then I’ll give you 10% But it’s a kickback because under the table I mean the real estate agent, the real estate and StreetEasy the only one that does it above the table. Everybody knows when you an agent refers you to another agent, there is going to be just 25%. That comes back to that referring agent. But everybody else for the most part will do it under the table. And so these are just old school tactics that have been happening forever. And I just wanted to wait to make it happen where I didn’t have to do anything that made me feel bad, or made me uncomfortable or made me question my own moral character.

george grombacher 5:24
Yeah, which is awesome. And obviously, you got 112 in your first year. So it worked. And now you’ve repeated refining this, I assume over the last 10 years. So what is what is the starting point? Is it a framework? Is that a process? Am I thinking about it all wrong?

Stacey Brown Randall 5:40
Yeah, so I think a lot of people go into coaching or consulting. And the idea is, is that I’ve gotta have this one framework that I teach everybody from? And in some cases, I actually think that’s a great starting point. We just, I couldn’t, I would not have had this answer for you. 10 years ago, I would not have had this answer for you five years ago, but being 10 years in, and working with all the businesses that we have worked with, and all the clients that we have helped be successful, we have kind of elevated a little bit about how we look at referrals within a business. And so it’s not so much a framework, even though there is a framework and a lot of the things that we teach, there’s when we build the science behind referrals into any strategy, we teach, there’s science there, and there’s a framework there. But if we go up to the 30,000 foot view, when we’re first getting started and looking at referrals in your business, we actually look at it as an ecosystem. So before we drill into any particular part, or any particular strategy or any particular framework, what we’re going to first look at as the ecosystem of your business and help our clients understand is like you’ve got referrals hiding all over the place. You just don’t know it, and you don’t know how to get them. Like when I tell folks like do you know that there’s a way to do testimonials so that you can actually plant referral seeds to get referrals? And they’re like, Oh, no. And when you’re in the buyers journey with a prospect before they say yes, there’s a way to get them to start thinking about referring you, without you ever saying you should refer me whether you decide to work with me or not, right, because we never do the direct ask. And so we look at the ecosystem of a business. And there’s four main parts where referrals are typically hanging out. One is in a specific people strategy. So there are strategies that you should be deploying for specific people, because they fit into a category. The first one is people who’ve referred you before. If you have people who’ve referred you before, there’s a specific strategy based on a framework of how we get them to give us more referrals. But it feels just like we’re taking care of them. But because the language piece, which is truly the language piece, which we call referral, see that runs throughout the everything we do is our secret sauce. That is like our proprietary piece of how this language works. It sounds normal, and it sounds, you know, like, Oh, I’d be totally comfortable saying that. But it’s the piece that makes everything ultimately work for someone to think about referring you. And so when we have specific people that they’ve referred you before, there’s a strategy, there’s a plan, you need to put in place of how you’re going to take care of them throughout the year and plant referral seeds. But it’s got to be based on this, we have the scientific framework of what actually will do that. But that’s one strategy for people who’ve already referred you. What if you have clients or contacts or Centers of Influence who’ve never referred you, and you want them to refer you, right? There’s a different strategy and a framework that we follow to get someone who’s never referred you to get to the place where they’re comfortable referring you for the first time. But then that’s the specific people are those two strategies. Next, we have your client experience, there are certainly ways when you’re operating with a client and every client experiences is repeatable, or favorable client experience, where you know what to do. And some of these things just happen automatically, because we’ve built them into your client experience, where you’re able to start generating referrals or start planting referral seeds. Then there’s the buyers journey. And then there’s within your like social media, your events, your marketing, things like that, that you’re doing well, we can also infuse your networking, when we can also infuse referrals as well. So there’s four parts are specific people strategy, or favorable client experience, your buyers journey, and then what we kind of call like, it’s kind of like a catch all of like networking, marketing, prospecting, social media, that kind of other side of the sales piece. So that’s what how we look at a business when we go and we don’t go like we’re gonna do all these things today. We start with a specific people strategy, because that’s the fastest ROI out ROI. I can get a client, but then we’re going to build on everything else from there.

george grombacher 9:44
Nice. Well, I appreciate that. All right. So look at the ecosystem of the business. How, how often are are you seeing the ecosystem you say? Tell me about your business. I guess what is? What is an engagement look like? You need to pop the hood of the business for lack of a better term and get to understand it.

Stacey Brown Randall 10:09
Yeah, so every business is kind of the same. Like we all like to think our business is special, and it’s a unicorn and I operate different. My financial planning firm operates differently from every other financial planning firm out there. And no, they don’t. Right. I tell them, like every real estate agent is like, Oh, I’m special, like, No, I mean, you are, you are a special human. But you are a dime a dozen. And that’s actually the industries I specialize in. I specialize in the industries, where they are a dime a dozen. So we’re talking right financial advisors, coaches, business coaches, and consultants, CPAs, attorneys, real estate agents, right interior designers, your dime a dozen. So when I go into a business, the very first thing I do is I figure out, and I this just happens because I know if I want somebody to have longevity with my strategies, I need to get them to fast success. So we don’t do this, like comprehensive. Let me look at everything about your business. And I’m going to tell you what the night team strategies we teach, I’m going to tell you what each of those you’re going to need. I have them do one simple exercise for me. And based on this one simple exercise, I basically know everything I need to know about where we’re going to start. And then once they start having success, I know we’re gonna move in to situational needs and refinements. And that one simple exercise is this. It’s Do you know who your referral sources are? We call it identifying the Who do you know who is referring you now, because if you have no referral sources, you will start in a different place than if you have like 10 or 15 or 50 referral sources, right? But so if I have you go through and identify who your referral sources are, and you come back, and you have like 25 people who have referred you, but a bunch of them haven’t referred you in the last two years, and only some have, well, I know we need to reengagement strategy before we can actually start cultivating more referrals, right? So I can look at your data. And I can be like, Oh, okay, I know where we’re starting from. There’s a lot of strategies we teach, everybody will eventually go through, it’s just in what order, and in what timeframe. But if you can identify your referral sources, and we teach a really simple way to do this, and that is, the easiest way to do this is to reverse engineer the information. First list out all of your clients at a minimum for the last year. But if you want to Goldstar and you’re working with me, I’m going to make you go back three or four years. So I want you to list out every, every new client, you brought on board and 2023 and 2022, and 2021. And then 2020. And 2020 was a crazy year for you. I tell folks to go back to 2019. Just so we have a baseline, then we’re going to look at how many, like if you look at all your clients names, then we’re going to figure out where did they come from? What was their source? Right? So if I did this in my business, I would have clients, so those last four years, and a good majority of them would come from referral sources. But I also will get clients because they hear me here on the podcast with you. Right and like so some hear me from podcast, and my since my books been out as long as it has. I also get people who just do a Google search on referrals or an Amazon search and referrals and my book pops up. Right? So I know the main ways most people are going to find their way into my ecosystem, right find their way into my world. But most people don’t. Because they’re not they don’t always track it. So you sometimes have to recreate this information, but we’re gonna do clients come from Did you meet them at a networking event? Did they happen to answer a cold call? Probably not. But you may have some like that. Are there previous colleagues that you used to work with? Did they respond to an ad? Right? Are they in some group with you? Did you do your kids play on the same soccer team? Right? Did were they referred to you and when that client was referred to you, you then also have to write down the name of the referral source. And that’s how we call it that information to get right down to who are your referral sources? Who are the clients, they refer to you? I do have my clients go back to this one more time. And they give me that prospects as well. If you have prospects that didn’t become a client, and you have information on them, I want to know who referred those prospects as well. And then we pull the whole thing together. And we’re like you’re the clients and the prospects and the names of the referral sources that referred those folks to you. And that tells me how many referral sources do we have? How many referrals did you get every year, over the last three or four years. So I can pull an average of the number of referrals you typically receive in a year. And from there, I can help you set a goal of how many referrals we want moving forward, how much money we’re going to make after that off of that, and then I can tell you what your very first plan of attack is. And it’s that one exercise sets everybody up to have fast access that does the work right. That sets you up for a fast success and then I can come behind that and be like okay, now let’s refine some things right like You get a lot of referrals, but you’re not closing them? Well, we have a, we have a process a script for that if you need it right or, or it could be you get a lot of referrals, but none of them are your ideal client, well, we have a script for that, right called Changing the quality that we do with our referral sources. So once we know where your data stands, then I can tell you how you need to refine based on the situation,

george grombacher 15:22
it makes a ton of sense. And I’m sure that you hear this quite a bit. But just for me, in my business, I certainly do get referrals, I was just going through the exercise in my mind. And, you know, let’s say I’ve got 20 People that over the past three years have have given me referrals that have turned into clients. And so what would be then, just as an example of how I would then move forward with those 20 people.

Stacey Brown Randall 15:51
Yes. So what you need is what we’d call a growth by referrals plan, you’re receiving referrals. Now we want to grow and get more. And so the strategy we use is called growth by referrals. And it’s where we have those names of those folks. And then we’re going to build out a plan of outreach, it’s going to be somewhere between five, six, maybe seven outreaches are what we call touch points and a year, it’s going to be customized, as in for who you are, and who they are, collectively as a group. This is not five touch points times 20 individual people, this is the same touch point five or six times a year going out to each 20 each of those 20 those 20 people. So this isn’t like five times 20 This is like it’s these five touch points, you’re doing it to the same people. Because what we build based on our framework of how you show gratitude and thankfulness and make sure your referral sources know you don’t take them for granted. And then we layer in our referral seed language, what when they receive it, even though the other 19, people are receiving the same thing, it feels very individualized to them. Because we base that on a lot of what’s going on to the brain, behavioral economics, how we build trust, like everything’s built behind that science framework. So you need a plan, it’s gonna have five, six or seven touch points within a year, it’s going to be layered on with the right language, there’s going to be great variety to this plan, this is not send them a newsletter, or try to take coffee seven times in a year, nobody has time for that. And of course, if your folks are not local, then you’re definitely not doing that, right. And then you need to systematize it and get it into your business. So when the plan calls for you to do something that you do it, what we find is that there’s a few touch points, we tell every client, you have to do these. And then there’s some that you get to customize for yourself, just because we’ve been doing it for so long. We know what gets us a little bit movement in terms of feedback and early success. But the very first, like this is like one of our secret sauce pieces, the very first touch point that everybody does that works with me, they send us very specific hand written card. Now there’s different types of language depending on who the person is and what the situation is. And most people are like, Are you kidding? I’m going to write about handwritten cards, and I’m going to start this process of getting referrals and like, yeah, they may not, you’re not going to unleash a river of referrals from that one touch point. But as you build on the experience of all those additional touch points, this is how it works. And some of these things are super simple, and they don’t cost you any money. But until you see that roadmap, right until you see that framework, it doesn’t make as much sense. But that’s what if you told me at 20 referral sources, I’d be like, great, George, let’s get to work. Because we should be able to double or triple your referrals in a year. If you follow this plan. As long as those are people who’ve referred you in the last two years, we need to do some other things. If it’s been longer than that.

george grombacher 18:41
That’s awesome. When you tell people that you’re gonna write a handwritten note, I imagine that that you get the response that you shared, which is kind of surprise.

Stacey Brown Randall 18:55
Yes, there’s a surprise. And then the other thing I get is what if my handwriting stinks. And this is where very no BS straightforward, straight shooter, Stasi comes in. And my response is, I don’t care. You’re gonna write it. And that may mean you have to write in all caps, or you’re gonna have to write slow, like, I’ve got a podcast episode coming out in a couple of weeks. And it’s one of our clients, Randall, who is actually in the program. He’s a CPA. And he’s been in six months. And he’s almost tripled his referrals from last year just in his six months that he’s been in this year. And he talks about writing that first card and he was like, I was dreading it because my handwriting is terrible, but I did it because Daisy don’t like I had to. He goes and that really started his very quick success. I mean, he had 30 referrals in his first 30 days. I mean, his first 90 days. So yes, it that’s not the only thing he’s done. That’s not why his results, you know why he’s almost tripled his referrals in six months, but it is part of the process. And the thing about it is is when people say is it really going to work? Um, Like, I used to be like, Yes, you got to trust me. And now I’m like, Yes, trust me. And I’ve got tenure saying it’s going to work like the data is there. Alright, as you know, as they say the proof is in the pudding.

george grombacher 20:11
I think that that’s great. What, Stacey, thank you so much for coming on. Where can people learn more about you? And how can people engage with you?

Stacey Brown Randall 20:18
Yeah, the best way if you’re a reader, is actually to just go get my book from Amazon or anywhere books are sold. It’s generating business referrals without asking about 1015 bucks, depending on what Amazon is selling it for, and even any given day, and there’s a link inside that book where you can download additional resources that’ll help you do this exercise we just talked about, and some other resources that are available as well. So you can go get get the book anywhere generating business referrals without asking or if you’re a podcast, books, listening to your podcast, maybe the podcast is roadmap to referrals. And we have great things for folks to just start that journey. Those are the two best places to start.

george grombacher 20:59
Excellent. Well, if you enjoyed as much as I did show, Stacy your appreciation and share today’s show with a friend who also appreciates good ideas. Pick up your copy of generating business referrals without asking Amazon and start that process and then check out the roadmap to referrals podcast, and figure out if this is what you need to get your referral process restarted started in the first place. You know what I’m talking about? Thanks again, Stacey.

Stacey Brown Randall 21:32
Thank you. Until next

george grombacher 21:33
time, remember, do your part to doing your best

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