391 Stacey Brown Randall: Growth By Referral
What if you could attract the perfect client … without asking? Without the chase? What would it mean for your business and your life if the perfect people simply found you and the value you offer?
I’m Melinda Wittstock and today on Wings of Inspired Business we meet an inspiring entrepreneur who created a proven referral system and helps entrepreneurs and F500s alike attract customers with ease.
Stacey Brown Randall is a three-time entrepreneur, award-winning author of Generating Business Referrals Without Asking, host of the Roadmap to Grow Your Business podcast and a national speaker.
I’m so excited to share this inspiring conversation with Stacey Brown Randall – and first…
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Now back to the inspiring Stacey Brown Randall.
Stacey says she’s a bona fide member of the business failure club, that is, a contrarian on how to generate referrals and a supporter of the entrepreneurial dream.
A three-time entrepreneur, award-winning author of Generating Business Referrals Without Asking, host of the Roadmap to Grow Your Business podcast and national speaker, Stacey says she’s learned more from failure than success.
Stacey has taught her “no asking” referral generation strategy to hundreds of clients and audiences. Her clients include well-known corporations and franchises such as Bank of America, Mass Mutual, International Minute Press, Re/Max and Real Living Real Estate but her focus is on small business owners and solopreneurs from companies including HM Properties, Carrol Financial, O’Connor Insurance Associates, Milazzo Webb Law, Farris Cooke CPA, Slater Interiors, Rae Images, and hundreds more.
Stacey has been featured in national publications like Entrepreneur magazine, Investor Business Daily, CEO World, Cheddar TV Network, California Real Estate and more.
So it’s time to soar Stacey Brown Randall? Ready?
Melinda Wittstock: Stacey, welcome to Wings.
Stacey Brown Randall: Thanks so much for having me, Melinda.
Melinda Wittstock: I'm curious how you figured out this referral thing. Right? That it's literally easier on your lifestyle, better for your business, if you can avoid the chase and have your perfect customers find you. I want you to get into the secret sauce a little bit about how you actually do that.
Stacey Brown Randall: Perfect. And I always like to tell folks it's not just about getting referrals. The way that I teach it, and I think what makes it so special is that I teach how to generate referrals without asking for them. There are lots of people who can teach you how to get referrals by asking. I figured out a way, I cracked the code to generate referrals without asking. But for your question about kind of how I stumbled into this, and how I kind of developed my process and my system, I always tell folks it was sheer necessity and the grace of God.
Stacey Brown Randall: I did not go looking to teach people. I didn't wake up one day and be like, “I am going to teach people how to generate referrals without asking for them. Now let me go figure out how to do that.” That is not how it started. It actually started when I was reflecting back on my first business failure. And I had an HR consulting firm that made it four years. It was going on five years when it would eventually close up shop, and we would take down that shingle, that business ownership shingle. And when I looked back on that business and how my clients came to me, I did a lot of paying attention to what that business failure. Why did it happen? And what happened? And there's definitely a couple of lessons that I learned from that business failure that kind of informed everything for me going forward.
Stacey Brown Randall: And so for me, it was, okay, looking back on that business failure, I had some really big name clients like KPMG and Ally Bank, and Snyder's-Lance, some big name clients that I worked with. But that business didn't make it past the … It made it just past the four year mark. It did not make it to the five year mark. And I looked back on that, and these lessons that I learned. One of them was huge, and it was like, wow, you never really figured out how to fill the prospect funnel. And you have to fill that prospect funnel, some people call it a pipeline, with prospects that work through the buyer's journey that make the decision at the bottom of it to hire you or not.
Stacey Brown Randall: And so for me, it was a matter of I didn't fill the funnel enough. So as a small business owner, a solopreneur when I was starting out, I would get a client, be so excited, then put my head down and do the work. And then look up when the work was done and be like, “Oh, my goodness. There is not another client.”
Melinda Wittstock: So many women end up in that scenario.
Stacey Brown Randall: Yes.
Melinda Wittstock: And it leads to burnout and frustration and overwhelm, oh, my God.
Stacey Brown Randall: And ultimately for me, failure. And it wasn't like my business wasn't on some level successful. It just never got off the hamster wheel. I call it the entrepreneur roller coaster, where you're looking for business. You're doing business development. You're going up the hill, and everything's great. And you get those few clients, and you enjoy the ride down. And then you realize, wait, I'm now at the bottom again. I love doing all that work, but now I get to start over again back up the hill of this roller coaster, and looking for more clients. And for a business to survive and to scale, or to even grow, I'm not even thinking you have to scale big, but even just to grow steadily and consistently, you have to be constantly putting prospects into your pipeline. And how and where you find those prospects is important.
Stacey Brown Randall: And you can't just have one bucket of where your prospects are going to come from, not initially, and not typically for any business. You usually always have a couple. But you need to be working those buckets. And for me, I really worked one major bucket, and it was networking. And you know what, when I started that business, I think I started that business with a four month old in tow, and then a year and a half later, I had a newborn. And so networking all the time wasn't an option for me. I had babies. It's crazy now because they are much older, which makes me feel much older. And we've added a third. But so from that perspective, networking wasn't an option for me. But it was what I knew how to get business, so when I wasn't doing it, nothing was happening.
Stacey Brown Randall: So when I decided this business had failed, I went and got a job at corporate America. I definitely licked my wounds and I got over that. And that's business failure, that's tough. I mean, it's financially draining, mentally, emotionally draining. But the kick to the gut you take with your ego is the worst part. And it was overcoming that, it was paying attention to why my business failed. That helped me get over it. And then it was starting to share the message with others, like, “Hey, my business failed.”
Stacey Brown Randall: The next business I started, I actually started a productivity and business coaching practice. And what I realized is that I'd been certified as a productivity coach, and I had had a business failure, which made me uniquely qualified to help people because I could see it in them when it was coming. And so I started that business. And I was like, “Okay. You may be great at this. You were pretty good at the HR consulting thing. You had some big name clients. You've got to figure out how to fill the pipeline.” When I looked back at my first business, I'm like, “Where did those clients come from?” And then I had some great clients. I realized mostly through networking, almost all through networking. And then I looked and I was like, “Well, did they come from any other place?” And not one referral.
Stacey Brown Randall: Actually, the only referral my HR consulting firm received was two years after I had shut it down. And I got the referral. So then I was like, “Wait, these referral things, I know about them. They're amazing. They're awesome.” We talked a lot about them in the job that I had when I was in corporate America. So I was like, “Let me go get some,” and then I'm like, “Whoa, everyone's teaching me to ask, and that feels like making a cold call.” I always say asking for a referral is like a cousin to a cold call. I know I'm making the person on the other end, or sitting across the table from me uncomfortable, and I'm out, when that happens, I'm like, “I'm not really interested in terms of that regard.” And so I was like, “Can I get referrals without asking?” Because I have a business and productivity coaching practice that I have to make successful.
Stacey Brown Randall: And so I did. I started working, and I would just try things out, and I would just do things different. And I did a lot of networking. Obviously, my first handful of clients came through networking and my contacts and people that I knew. And I did the seven million cups of coffee. That's how everybody starts a business they should do, make sure people know what you're doing. So I did that, and I started getting some clients. And then I started doing some specific things that I didn't know, but would ultimately become my plan that started getting me referrals. My third client in referred three people. And then those people started referring people. And there was a process and a system that I was working that was working for me.
Stacey Brown Randall: And because I was coaching small business owners and solopreneurs, they were saying, “You're growing so fast, you're raising your rates, it's harder to get on your schedule. What's happening?” I'm like, “Well, when you have an increased demand, it makes everything better.” I was like, “The pipeline is full of people, and they're coming to me through referrals.” And they're like, “Oh, you're asking for them.” I'm like, “Did I ever ask you for a referral?” And they're like, “Well, no.” I'm like, “Because I'm not asking.” And that's when I started really figuring out what I was doing because they said, “Great. Stacey, teach me that. Let's make that part of our coaching. Teach me how to get referrals without asking.” And that forced me to refine my process down into a five step process. But then at that point, I could teach to anybody. Now I don't think it works for everybody.
Stacey Brown Randall: And there are definitely some industries I don't focus on. But for the types of folks that are ideal for me, it was a system and a process that then they walk through. And now I've had people in the program for over five years having results every single year, kind of unleashing their referral explosion of however that's defined for them and their business. It is a different way to generate referrals. It's a way that works. And then it's a way that if you don't want to ask, or pay, or be manipulative, or feel like you have to be overly promotional or gimmicky, it's just another way. There's another option to be able to generate those referrals.
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah. This is so important. I think a lot of it too is being confident enough to be very narrowly focused about what your value is, or really know your differentiation. There's so many early entrepreneurs who think that their product can serve everybody. And maybe it can. Maybe it's Salesforce, you know, whatever. Right? Like everybody needs.
Stacey Brown Randall: [crosstalk] serve everybody.
Melinda Wittstock: But it still can't. Right? And you've always got to start with a niche. And I think so many entrepreneurs get caught up there in the early days trying to serve everybody, and serving none. And it's so difficult to be found if you're kind of a wandering generality rather than a very specific solution to a very specific problem.
Stacey Brown Randall: Yeah. I would agree with that. I do think, though, a lot of people when they think about: What is my niche going to be? Or who am I going to serve? In the beginning, I always tell this to new business owners. What your business looks like in year one will look so different in year three. It just will. You'll have figured out so many more things. So I always tell folks, “If you know what your niche is going to be because you know exactly who you're wanting to serve and exactly how you're going to serve them, then go. You are ahead of most people.” But I also think some cases, our niches find us because we have to work with a couple of different types of people to really figure out, wow, I'm just best when I work with this type of person. And I need to find more people like that.
Stacey Brown Randall: So I do think we do need to get ourselves to a place where we have a niche. But I also don't think we need to stress ourselves out to get to there right away because sometimes your niche will find you. Now I don't think you would be going five or 10 years without knowing what that looks like. But when you're brand new, just work with a number of different people, serve a number of different people, and figure out who is best with you. And then try to figure out: How do I get more of people like that? And allow that to be your niche. And then put your stake in the ground. Unless you know starting out, hey, I'm going to do websites only for attorneys. Okay, well, that's a very specific niche, and you know what that looks like, and that's your skillset. But some of us, we kind of have to stumble our way through, and then really pay attention to that niche. And sometimes it does happen when we start.
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah. No, that's so important. Well, we learn so much from customer feedback. How do you … Sorry. I was going to pick up there. Stacey, we learn so much from customer feedback. But that presupposes that we have to actually talk to our customers. Do you think a lot of entrepreneurs make the mistake of not interacting enough, or asking their customers for their feedback?
Stacey Brown Randall: I think yes. I think that sometimes it's like they're paying their bills, let's not rock the boat. Right? They seem to be happy enough. Everything is good. So I think sometimes we don't. And I think the easiest way to start with that is if you're uncomfortable asking for feedback, well, you do eventually need to get over that. And you need to be spending time talking to your clients. And you need to understand what they value about you. And sometimes they value things about you that you don't even know. Sometimes things that my clients struggle with, the people who go through my Growth By Referrals program, what they struggle with, at first I was like, “Oh, that's so easy for me. I didn't realize that's what you struggled with.” And that's allowed me to provide other products, other services that they can purchase. So feedback is critical.
Stacey Brown Randall: But I do think if you're uncomfortable starting there, just paying attention to the patterns that your clients have in common can sometimes give you a lot of great intel on who your business serves best. So for the person who's like, “Do I have to start with feedback?” Okay, well, why don't you start with paying attention to what your clients have in common. And then from there, allow that feedback to help you have those conversations about what your clients appreciate about you because it may be different in the patterns you've uncovered. Or it may only strengthen those patterns that you've uncovered. And so now you have an idea of, okay, here's ultimately who I'm looking for.
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah. That's so, so true. You know, years ago, I was doing this consulting for Tony Hsieh, who had founded Zappos, and had sold it to Amazon for $1 billion. And he took a lot of his exit money, quite a lot of it, and put it into revitalizing downtown Las Vegas, which is awesome. Part of that was investing in startups. And I would do these mentoring calls as part of … I like to always mentor people. So I was doing these mentoring calls, and entrepreneurs would come on the phone, and they'd say, “My product, it does this. It does this. It does that. It does this. It does that.” And I'd say, “Hey. That's great. How can I help?” And they'd say, “Well, my product does this, and it does that. And it does this. And it does that. And it does this.” It's like, “Oh, that's great. How can I help?”
Melinda Wittstock: And finally, there'd be 10 minutes left of the call and I'd say, “Hey. Well, who are your customers?” There'd be silence. It would be like crickets. Well, do you have any customers? No. Well, who do you think your customers are? Have you talked to any potential customers? No. And it would be so surprising how many early stage customer … Sorry. It would be surprising how many early stage companies hadn't even thought about the problem they were solving for their customer, or who their customer avatar was, or how they were going to find them. I was blown away by this. So when you're working with entrepreneurs, is this one of the single biggest challenges of entrepreneurship, do you think, in terms of finding that product market fit?
Stacey Brown Randall: Well, I think this is where service based businesses have an easier advantage because the services based businesses … Because I have both, my business have been both, and they are both right now. When you're a product based business, you can go and hide and build a product, and dream about what it's going to do. Right?
Melinda Wittstock: Oh, yeah.
Stacey Brown Randall: In a service-based business, you're like, “Nope, you've actually got to do the service for the client because there's nothing to build until you have the client.” So yes, I do think it is one of those things where people need to be paying attention to, it's not about what your product does. We always hear this. It's not about the features. It's about the [inaudible [spp-timestamp time="00:24:52"]. It's about what problem it solves. If that's the problem it solves, then who is it best at solving that problem for? Right? I always tell folks, when people are like, “Well, who are the people who use your Growth By Referrals program, or work with you one on one through your VIP training?” And I always say, “It's two types of people.” Yes, they may be in a handful of different industries. But it's the people who've been over taught how to sell based on their industry, and they're looking for something different. They're like the realtors, the financial advisors. And they get into business for themselves, or they work at a company where they're an independent. And it is like, I'm going to teach you how to sell. And you're going to go through weeks and months of training.
Stacey Brown Randall: [inaudible [spp-timestamp time="00:25:31"], it's those people who are over taught how to sell. And then there's the other people who come to me who are like, “Hey, I'm really good at being an expert. I'm an amazing marketing consultant.” Or I'm an awesome business coach, or I'm a CPA, or I'm an attorney, or I'm an interior designer. I'm awesome at doing this thing. And by the way, they told me that I had to figure out how to get clients if I wanted to make money in my business, and I'm not an awesome sales person. So they're looking for something that will work and generate clients for them, but that doesn't feel like sales.
Stacey Brown Randall: So I always find … I didn't stumble upon that. When I created my process of how to generate referrals, it actually took a while before I realized, wait, I'm not asking. That actually makes me different. It was a part of my process all along, don't ask, don't ask. But then it wasn't a part of my marketing out there to the world of, this is what makes me different to everybody. [inaudible] that happened about a year in. And of course, that's everything that I am now. And so I think it's the same thing with businesses and with the people that I've attracted to me. Then I started realizing based on who was being attracted to me, oh, okay. I get it, you've been over taught how to sell. You want something that feels different. You're looking for a breath of fresh air. You started a business and you're awesome at this skill and being this technician, but you don't really know how to sell. And you don't want to feel like you're selling, but you know you need clients.
Stacey Brown Randall: And what I do helps both. They process it in different ways. But it's the same thing. And so I think some of that stuff kind of comes over time. But it certainly started in the very beginning with me being very clear on what I was trying to solve, and then how I solved it, and then who would be best served by it. So I do think to that point, most people don't do that, and they should. And if I hadn't done that, I don't think I would've made the progress that I made early on.
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah. This is so true. So were you always entrepreneurial? What were you like as a kid?
Stacey Brown Randall: So I was bossy. I know they say, “Don't use bossy, use leadership.” No, sometimes you're just bossy. And it's best for me to call it what it is. My daughter, she's nine, she is a little bit like me too. And my husband one day was like, “Gosh, she's just being so bossy.” I'm like, “I don't know where she gets that from.” And people are like, “No, it's leadership.” I'm like, “No, dude, the girl can be bossy,” and that's okay. I was very confident, not in every area of my life, but there were certain areas of my life I think my parents did a really good job making me overly confident. I got some really great advice from my dad early on that very much made me secure in who I was.
Stacey Brown Randall: So I was opinionated. I was bossy. I had a lot of self esteem. I was confident. It doesn't mean I didn't have things I worried about and things that I'd go, “Oh, are they going to like me?” And I didn't have moments that weren't awesome, and years that weren't great. I definitely had all of that. But I was really into theater when I was younger. I was really into theater and cheerleading and anything I could do to outshine my brother, who was two years older and a high school basketball star. So we did the competition thing a lot with my older brother. Raised in a normal, upper middle income family with two parents who were there. My mom was actually a very successful salesperson. My dad was an author, and he worked from home, so he was also available a lot. I had a very distinct relationship with my father.
Stacey Brown Randall: Because he was home a lot, he was also my softball coach and my soccer coach, so we spent a lot of time together. So yeah, I had a really great childhood. And I think that propelled a lot of my self esteem and a lot of my confidence. And I think the relationship with my dad definitely set me on a strong path for my dealings with men, and finding my husband, and things like that later on in life. So it was pretty charmed in that perspective. It wasn't perfect and it wasn't always awesome. But it was pretty charmed in that perspective. And it wasn't until I got older that I actually started experiencing failure. I would go out for jobs, and I would get them. I applied to one college and I got in. I wanted one sorority and I got in. And it wasn't until I graduated, and I would get my first job, and I got it.
Stacey Brown Randall: I got two jobs that I got to choose between. And then I would start having some struggles, like we would have a recession, and I would get laid off. I'm like, “What? People like me, this doesn't happen to people like me.” I deal with it like, “Hey, I didn't get that job that I wanted.” And then I had a business failure. So I think I learned really quickly how to adapt to that later, like in my 20s and my 30s. But as a child, I am very much who I am today because of who I was as a little girl.
Melinda Wittstock: I love it. I think when we think of women who succeed in entrepreneurship, is there a kind of a right stuff? In your experience, what are the ingredients you need in terms of your mindset, your personality, all of those things? Do you see patterns?
Stacey Brown Randall: Yeah. I don't think there's a specific personality. I think introverts can be more successful than extroverts, and extroverts can be more … I don't think there's a personality thing. But I do think that there is this commonality amongst this drive to want it because I think when things get tough, and you experience failure and you lose your biggest account, and that deal you thought was going to happen didn't, which I've experienced all of those things, that there is still that drive within us that we want it. And it doesn't mean that we have to produce that drive in us every single day. Sometimes we have to pull out resources. We've got to listen to podcasts that motivate us, or music that motivate us, or have a conversation with a friend, or somebody that supports us unconditionally.
Stacey Brown Randall: I think that you need those things to help you. But I do think deep inside of us, there is that desire to want to be an entrepreneur. And that is what keeps us going. I think that you don't have to be born with that. I think you can develop it over time. I think you can get fed up enough at your corporate job that you're like, “I want to be an entrepreneur,” knowing it's going to be hard. And you're going to have to find that drive and that why within you to propel you forward. So I don't think there's a certain type of person, a certain type of personality, that is successful at this, male or female.
Stacey Brown Randall: But I do think what we all have in common is this desire and this dream and this want. And then the willingness to work our butts off if needed to get it. Not necessarily hustle, I don't like that word. But that willingness to understand that, hey, I'm going to have to work hard to get this. And I'm going to have to think smart. And I'm going to have to figure out when my business needs to shift. I'm going to have to make some hard choices and take risks because we want it. And that is what we have in common.
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah. It's taking massive inspired action. And I like what you said about hustle, because it doesn't need to necessarily be hustle. It doesn't necessarily have to be the grind and burning out and all of that. If we're in alignment and we're taking action that has the highest amount of leverage, then we can achieve huge amounts without having to, yeah, burn out and become human doings instead of human beings.
Stacey Brown Randall: That's such a [inaudible [spp-timestamp time="00:32:28"].
Melinda Wittstock: It's so true. I mean, women fall into that trap all the time. You see, it's sort of like you're on a treadmill, but it's like a task treadmill. Ticking things off the to do list, but never advancing.
Stacey Brown Randall: Yes. And I would say that when you're thinking about that from that perspective, that's one of the other lessons I learned when my business failed, is I never figured out how I was going to scale. And as a consultant, you're just like a coach. You're trading dollars for hours. And that scaling piece came into be, so I started paying attention to it early. And to your point, exactly what you said, is that I scaled my business and I pivoted my business to go in different directions so that I could make more money, but not necessarily have to work harder. But I had to take that calculated risk. And I had to take that motivated action to say, “I can do this. I can try this. I can test this. And if it doesn't work, it's still going to be okay.”
Melinda Wittstock: Right. Yeah.
Stacey Brown Randall: Important piece of it too is that yes, you've got to want it. But you've got to understand that sometimes you're going to be like, “I don't know what I'm doing, but I still want it, so I'm going to keep trying.” And for me, that came down distinctly to overcoming that though the process, you have to work really hard to make all your money. No, you don't. You do have to work. But you don't have to hustle, but you do have to work. And you have to work smart. And you have to understand what it looks like, and you have to understand how you continue to serve your clients, even as you're shifting your service or your product offering to allow you to make more money. You do not have to equate those two. It's not work hard equals lots of money. You can make lots of money by making really smart decisions in your business and leveraging resources like technology and team members, so you don't have to work super hard.
Melinda Wittstock: Having it all without having to do it all. That's what I say. That's my motto. One thing that holds women back though that's interesting, it's not so much the fear of failure as the fear of success. This has been intriguing to me for some years now. And most recently, when just in getting my retreat and mastermind together for women who have seven, eight and nine figure businesses, so these are women who are playing pretty big. But you say, “Hey, look. How can we all play bigger?” What can we do to have a real social impact with our businesses, or do these amazing things? Right? And women, there's a split second where people, women, look really haunted like, “Oh, my God. Play bigger. What does that mean?” And I think at any stage, because it translates perhaps as, oh, I have to do more to succeed.
Melinda Wittstock: And yet, I think deep down there's some sort of nagging, maybe subconscious fear of success. Do you feel that too? Have you noticed that when you work with other women, or in your mastermind groups?
Stacey Brown Randall: I see actually, yes, yes, and yes. But I also see it mostly in myself. And it's something that I sometimes people are like, “Your idea is golden. Why are you still sitting on it?” That thing you want to add to your business is golden. Why are you still sitting on it? And I think sometimes it isn't because I think it'll fail, or it isn't … I mean, sometimes it's like, “That's a lot of work.” But I know what that looks like. I know how to overcome that. And it is, it's that little fear of success. Can I handle it? What will people think? And not that I really care what people think, but for a split second, like you said, we think it.
Stacey Brown Randall: Ultimately, do you care what people think? I'm going to say no, but there will be moments where I actually care. It's like when I published my first book. And everyone's like, “Brace yourself for the first one star review and the first hater.” And I'm like, “Oh my gosh. That's right. There'll be people who hate my book.” Right? And so they're like, “That means you've arrived,” which I think is a very interesting way to tell you to be okay with your haters in the world. But yes, I've experienced it. I don't have answers for you on that. I think that is one of those things that I am continuing watching myself go through. I think it's also at the growth trajectory of my business that I sometimes in different areas feel it more than not.
Stacey Brown Randall: But I also love the fact that the one thing I do, is when I have that flash of: Oh my gosh, am I actually scared of the success? Then at least it sounds so crazy. Like, really? You're scared of success. You should be scared of failure. You know exactly what that looks like. It looks like getting up every day and putting on a suit and going to work for somebody else. That is hell.
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah. Exactly.
Stacey Brown Randall: And so at least it gives me something to be like, “You've got to be kidding.” And I can laugh at myself and move forward. How I stop those thoughts from coming and how I stop them sometimes from making me procrastinate or whatever, that part I haven't figured out. But I have figured out at some level when I think about it enough, it does make me laugh at myself. And that helps me push forward.
Melinda Wittstock: Well, this is where women I think really need to help each other in business, promote each other, mentor each other, buy from each other, invest in each other, and really help each other up so we can sort of collectively eliminate that fear because I think the root of that fear often is how we think other women are going to perceive us because we're so relationship focused. We literally on some existential level don't want to get thrown out of a tribe. And it's a deep, subconscious, historic belief probably generated over a millennia, but it's there. It's this really weird thing. So I think the only way to do it is speak to it and get it out in the open, and really mastermind with other women. Right?
Melinda Wittstock: And show up at that, not just me, me, me. But how can I lift other women and whatnot? That's why I started this podcast. I think I'm seeing more of that now. I'm seeing women being more able or more willing to come at business from that abundance place where we can really lift each other. Do you experience that too?
Stacey Brown Randall: Oh, yes. I think that it's all in who you surround yourself with.
Melinda Wittstock: Yes, it is. You have to choose your friends and your colleagues and your masterminds very carefully.
Stacey Brown Randall: Very, very carefully. Yes. And so I've definitely been in situations where I'm surrounded by other women that I thought were going to support me and lift me up, and they weren't, because we all have our own battles. Right?
Melinda Wittstock: And we've all been there. I've experienced that too. And you think, “Oh, man.” And it's painful.
Stacey Brown Randall: It really is painful. And so I really think that there's been a couple of times in the last couple of years that I really think God has been like, “Hey, you know what, I'm going to place Amy right here. And I'm going to place Margaret right here, because this is exactly who you need. And these are two women who will support you.” And there's a few others in my world, but just using those as my examples. They were positioned in the right place. And I'll be honest, both times I was like, “I don't need another friend.” I'm good. And then those relationships have become some that are like life source for me in terms of exactly who I needed. And I don't have 1000 of them. I have a handful of them.
Stacey Brown Randall: And when you find them, they are gold, and you have to respect them and take care of them, and not just take. You have to give and give more from that perspective because you will find yourself in situations where people aren't for you. Or they were at one point, and then something changed, and all of a sudden, they're not. You don't really know what it is, and that's okay. And you've got to move on. But protecting those women who will come alongside you and be your cheerleader, and not afraid to also call you on your stuff, I think is also important. And you have to be able to take that with the love and the grace that they're extending it to you in. I think that's really important as well.
Melinda Wittstock: It really is. So as we wrap up, I want to make sure that you can take us through the five steps to generate referrals without asking, because I know this is a value bomb. And I want everybody here on the podcast to learn this.
Stacey Brown Randall: Yeah. I'm going to give it to you at that high level. I'm going to hit all of the five steps. I know we don't have time for me to go in detail in depth for each one of them. That's okay. There is actually a book out, Generating Business Referrals Without Asking.
Melinda Wittstock: Yes. And everybody has to get your book, so we'll make sure that's in the show notes, and the link and everything because it's awesome. Anyway, but really briefly top level, the five steps.
Stacey Brown Randall: Yes. And there are chapters on each of these, so don't feel like I'm cutting you short. But these are actually really simply. I mean, Melinda, this is my favorite part of what I teach because what I teach isn't rocket science. And it's not complicated, but you have to know what to do and how to do it, and when to apply it. The first step, now I'm going to make some assumptions. I'm going to make the assumption that you do great work. You are referable, and on some level, you have received referrals over the years. It may only have been one or two a year, but on some level, you've received referrals, which tells me you're referable, which tells me you have a sticky client experience, so I know that you have something to work with.
Stacey Brown Randall: If that's not you, these five steps is not where you start. We've got to back up a little bit and go get ourselves referable. But I'm going to assume that you're already there. The first thing you do is identify your referral sources. It's a pretty simple, basic step to understand. Though, it can be a little time intensive if you don't have great data in your business. It's pulling who your clients are and how they found out about you, and then looking for the ones that were referred to you, and then capturing the names of those referral sources. Those are now the gold star people within your business. Your referral sources are your list of gold. And so we need, and every step after this comes to support them.
Stacey Brown Randall: So once we've identified our referral sources in step one, step two is I just need to make sure every time they do send you a referral, you're being a grown up, and you're doing what your mama taught you, which is to send a thank you note.
Melinda Wittstock: That's nice. Yeah.
Stacey Brown Randall: Yeah, because the impact of that handwritten thank you note that says, “Hey, I value you enough to take two minutes and 32 seconds to write you a note,” the impact of that is massive on the person receiving it. And it tells them, “Hey, I appreciate the referral you sent me. And I'm worthy of the next one because I'm willing to thank you.” You don't want your referral source going, “You know, I referred to Sam, and then I never actually heard back from Sam. So why would I refer to Sam again?” Right? It's like an automatic process you need to have. But it sets up step three and step four, which is in between receiving those referrals and sending those thank you notes for those referrals received, you need a plan or a process of how you're going to take care of your referral sources. And that is an ultimate piece that I see people skipping. This isn't like, oh, I'm going to throw a client appreciation party and invite a bunch of people, or I'm just going to do some holiday cards and buy them at Hallmark.
Stacey Brown Randall: No, what I'm talking about is being memorable and meaningful, staying top of mind with the outreach you do for your referral sources. That's all about them, that is focused on cultivating relationships. And remember, when we're memorable and meaningful, sometimes it is very touching. And sometimes we're being funny. There's so many things we can do. I always tell folks when you're building out this plan in step three, which is your referral generating plan, the outreach, the touch points you're going to do throughout a year for your referral sources that you've identified in step one, the ideas are unlimited, which is usually paralyzing for most people.
Stacey Brown Randall: But there is tons of things you can do. But there's only a few things you need to do. And it's just really figuring those things out. Referral sources want to be thanked and acknowledged first and foremost. So we build plans around that. Step four though is the language we use when we're executing on that plan, when we're writing those thank you notes, we're executing on the plan in step three because we want to plant referral seeds so that subconsciously they're thinking about us in a very specific way while we're taking care of them and nurturing the relationship and thanking them for the last referral. We want to make sure that they're thinking about us in that referral perspective.
Stacey Brown Randall: But we do it in a very normal way that people are okay with and comfortable with. And it comes at it from that perspective of caring about this relationship because you should because they just dropped a new client in your lap. So why wouldn't you care about them? It's using language so they think about us differently. But it's normal language. It's not asking. It's not salesy. It's not slimy. It's just the basic planting some referral seeds.
Stacey Brown Randall: And then step five is what kind of ties it all together, that Tiffany blue box with the white bow, is you're a busy business owner. And to make all this happen, you need a process and you need a system. And you need to know what you can delegate and outsource and what you can automate and systematize within your own business. So we need to take what you built, and we need to make it a process so you'll actually execute on it because when I talk about someone in my program, Amanda, who is receiving every year for the last five years, she's hit her goal or exceeded it. And the number of referrals she's wanted for five years every year, it's because every year, she's worked the plan.
Stacey Brown Randall: And [inaudible] process behind it, and that's step five. So they're pretty simple. There are some pieces you have to know what to do and how to do it correctly. But ultimately, this comes down to knowing your referral sources, taking care of them in a very specific, memorable, and meaningful way, and using the right language.
Melinda Wittstock: That's wonderful. So Stacey, how can people find you and work with you?
Stacey Brown Randall: The best place to find me is always my home base. It's my website, staceybrownrandall.com. And Stacey does have an E. But I always tell folks if you're really interested in getting more referrals in your business, and you really want to know what your skill is in this. What does it actually look like? I have this great, what we call, in the program it's called referral ninja quiz. So when you come into my community, not my paid community, when you just join my community, you're going to become a referral ninja. But what I need to know though is: What level are you starting at? Are you a beginner? Are you in the middle? Or are you a master? And so there's a great free nine question quiz that anyone can take to just figure out. What's your skill level? How good are you at generating referrals right now? And then by taking that quiz, you'll learn what you need to be doing different.
Stacey Brown Randall: So you can just go to staceybrownrandall.com/quiz. And that'll direct you to those nine simple questions where you can find out what level you are. And I tell folks, if you're at the master level, welcome, only 2% of the thousands of people who've taken the quiz land at that level. Mostly 80% or more land at the beginner level. But that's okay, we've got lots of free resources to help you move along in your journey.
Melinda Wittstock: That's wonderful. Well, thank you so much for putting on your wings and flying with us.
Stacey Brown Randall: Thanks for having me.