Monthly Archives: July 2012

How do you find new prospects?

How do you find new prospects for your services – through cold calling, leads, referrals or prospects who contact you? Each involves a numbers game. For example, 20 cold calls may bring you five appointments and ultimately one contract. Leads may yield better percentages, depending on their source.

Prospects that contact you are rare, but their closing rate is usually better. Good referrals have a much better closing rate. Everyone wants referrals. What is the trick to greatly increasing the number of high-quality referrals you receive?

Increasing your referrals

Tim R. Green knows how. He runs the Referral Training of Michigan and is the author of Set 4 Life: Four Amazingly Simple Steps to Personal, Financial & Referral Marketing Success.

Most salespeople believe they can get referrals simply by providing great service for a fair cost. Green told me this method is actually one of the least effective sources of referrals because clients already expect great service.

I asked Green if people can really predict the number of referrals they will receive. He replied, “Yes, if they take a proactive stance to referral marketing – not a reactive stance. We call this [reactive referral stance] the ‘good luck’ referral: first of all, good luck if you receive a referral this week, good luck if the person referred to you will talk to you and good luck if you close the referral.”

Instead, he teaches you how to take a proactive stance to referrals and not simply rely on good luck. Key to the proactive stance is identifying four referral partners who will provide you with referrals on a continuous basis. The Referral Training of Michigan  teaches this using its “VTB Process.”

Cultivating high-quality referral sources

What is the VTB Process? Green explained, “A referral marketing plan involves relationships of many different kinds. Among the most important are those with your referral partners, with prospects these referral partners bring you and with customers you recruit from the prospects.” Green pointed out that the relationships require nurturing through three phases: visible, trust and beneficial – an approach called the VTB Process.

Green went on to say that the VTB Process “describes the process of creating growth and strengthening of business, professional and personal relationships; it is useful for assessing the status of a relationship and where it fits in the process of getting referrals. It can be used to nurture the growth of an effective and rewarding relationship with a prospective friend, client, co-worker, vendor, colleague or family member.

“Understanding the VTB Process helps eliminate any frustration we might have around the referral process. Have you ever had someone point the finger at another or at a group and say, ‘They aren’t passing me referrals?’ Well, when we point the finger at others, three more are actually pointing back at us. You see, the fact that others are not passing us referrals has nothing to do with them.”

Green emphasized the need to take personal responsibility for “moving the relationship from V to T and then from T to B.” According to Green, the strategic objectives in the visibility phase are to get your potential referral partners to:

  • Show (know that) you are a friendly and considerate person
  • Show (know that) you like, respect and value them
  • Show (know that) you are a valuable resource for information, support and contacts
  • Become interested in learning more about you
  • Remember you

In the Trust phase, the goals are to get your potential referral partners to:

  • Establish a networking connection with you
  • Believe that you are trustworthy
  • Believe that you are a knowledgeable individual in your field

And in the beneficial phase, you should strive to get your potential referral partners to:

  • Seek you out for your products and services
  • Believe your products and services are valuable and reasonably priced
  • Promote you and your business
  • Provide you with referrals

What are the levels of referrals? Green refers to “4 different levels of referrals.” The higher the level, the easier it is to close the referral. Here’s how he describes them:

  • Level 1: I qualify a prospect’s specific need or interest and arrange a meeting between the referral partner and the prospect.
  • Level 2: I qualify a prospect’s specific need or interest and arrange a face-to-face introduction of the referral partner to the prospect.
  • Level 3: I describe products and services in person so well that I can tell my referral partner what the prospect is looking for within his or her product or service area.
  • Level 4: I bring my referral partner a closed deal.

Where to concentrate your efforts

Is it important to drive your relationships all the way through the VTB Process? Have you wasted or invested your time if all of your relationships stop at V or T? It only counts when you drive your relationships completely through the model, Green said.

Which source of referrals is the best for salespeople? “The absolute best referral partner you work with is one of your contact spheres,” Green noted. A contact sphere is an individual or business that has the same target market you have but is not your competitor, Green pointed out.

Green recommended that you begin with just four partners in the VTB Process and get to know them well.

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Filed under Guest Blogger

Lead a Life of Fulfillment Through Values

by Richard Schultz

Living and leading our lives through our values is one of the foundational elements of fulfillment and true success. By living authentically from our core values, by making our decisions based upon them and by matching our behaviors to them, we trend to the higher side of life experience, cherishing each moment with few or no regrets.

When we are true to who we are at the fundamental level of our core values, then life just naturally changes for us. Relationships will become deeper and improve because others experience us as more authentic and are more open to trust us. Decisions will become much easier because our values consistently inform them. We will find ourselves more within the flow of life because we have clear inner guidance for each step in each moment. Values are like lighthouses that keep us in the deep  clear waters; keeping us from running aground as long as we pay attention to them.

What are Values?

Values are deep. Each person has a set of values that is uniquely theirs. Although we are all different, if we find someone or some group that has similar values, then we will have found a rewarding relationship and a feeling of being home.

For a value to be true value, it must be lived. To commit to a certain value is noble, but it is not real unless our behavior matches our words. That is where many of us fail. We will speak one thing and do another. When we do this, others see us as being in-congruent and out of integrity. That creates distrust. For a value to be real, we must be able to walk the talk!

Values = Beliefs + Behavior

Values are seeded in our subconscious belief systems, so it is important to bring them into our conscious awareness so that we can make conscious decisions through them. It is also important to examine and change any limiting subconscious beliefs that might prevent us from being in integrity with this essence, no matter what situation arises.

How do you discover your values?

Values, like our purpose, is a discovery process. They are already there within you. The essence you came into this world and your life experience has shaped them. It is just a matter of uncovering what they are.

  • One way to find your values is to look at a list of values and pick which ones are important to you. While this is helpful and effective, sometimes when we pick off a list, we might “shop” for values which we “should have” rather than discover the essence of what is authentically present within us. You could also take the list to some people that know you well, and ask them what they believe your values are in order to get external feedback. Others may see what you do not yet see.
  • A second way to discover your values is to “mine your life experiences” for the essence of what has brought you fulfillment. What makes you happy & what are the values behind that? What are some peak experiences in your life and what are the values behind those? By examining our lives as we have lived them we can discover what “makes us tick”. Values bring us into a higher energy in life when we are living them and can bring us to a lower energy when we don’t.

Questions for Reflection

What are your top 10 values?

Where and how could you live in more integrity with your core values?

What decisions might you make if you were consciously leading your life from your values?


WisdomWays (  has a couple of offerings that can assist you in getting to know what your values are, in changing any limiting subconscious beliefs you might have or in living your authentic life.:

1.  The Living a Values-Driven Life On-line Workshop.

2.  WisdomWays Life Coaching:

3.  Private belief change sessions:


Richard Schultz – WisdomWays-

Richard’s passion is to create & facilitate “sacred” spaces for personal and organizational transformation. For the past decade he has been internationally teaching and facilitating a powerful subconscious belief change process as well as working with individuals using state of the art concepts and processes for deep and rapid change.

Presently, Richard is stretching into a bigger game where he can use his talents and expertise in collaboration with others to facilitate and support the mass awakening of human consciousness. He sees the internet as a powerful ally in this vision and is currently developing new change technologies, e-books and courseware to serve on the edge of this wave.


Register for Richard’s free on-line values workshop.

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Filed under Dreams, Guest Blogger, Motivation

Social Media Becomes a Local Resource

By Gail Z. Martin

Google AdWords offers specialized services to target customers within a 20-mile radius from your business. AdWords permits you to add or exclude areas, and can integrate your targeted AdWords campaign with text messaging.

Facebook can serve as a showcase for your community activity. When you host an event that benefits a local charity or sponsor a local sporting team, promote before, during and after the event with updates, photos, Web video and testimonials. Encourage attendees to become part of an ongoing conversation. Many companies successfully use their Facebook page as an instantly updateable second Web site to let their community know what’s going on and to share information and updates.

Twitter has been used by local charities to mobilize volunteers for projects or to alert donors to immediate needs. Animal rescue groups and humane societies have used Twitter to match shelter animals with new homes. Schools have demonstrated Twitter’s ability to alert parents to unplanned closings or to request badly needed supplies or last-minute parent volunteers. Businesses tweet about their upcoming live entertainment, dinner specials, or daily discounts.

Twitter can also help you promote upcoming local events, share photos and video via links, and give your online press releases a broader readership as you tweet news and provide links to coverage you’ve received in local online publications. Your blog can also be an effective part of your online marketing program by sharing the story behind your achievements or by providing deeper insight into what’s happening with your business, which deals and events are coming up, or the news of your industry as it impacts local customers.

Foursquare is an intensely local social media application that makes going about your business or going out for the evening a shared experience treasure hunt. Foursquare users use the site and text messaging to share their current location as they patronize businesses, retailers, entertainment venues. They can become the “mayor” of frequently-visited sites, and can gather their friends to join them on a spur-of-the-moment basis. Foursquare rewards users who are out and about in their local area—and the local companies they frequent benefit as well.

Groupon subscribers can sign up to get special online deals from local businesses. Subscribers indicate their local area and their willingness to receive emails and social media alerts to short-lived discounts from local merchants. Companies sign up to provide limited-time special deals that are only available via Groupon. In some cases, deals are only available if a specified number of people show up to claim it. Groupon makes bargain hunting fun and social while retaining an intensely local flair.

LivingSocial is another site that offers a daily deal from local businesses with up to 90% off the regular price. Once a subscriber buys the daily deal, he/she has the opportunity to forward the deal to friends, and if one of those friends also buys, the original customer gets the deal item for free. It’s a fun way to publicize specials while encouraging customers to tell their friends about your company.

Yelp, and Citysearch are other sites that capitalize on the concept of “local.”  Not only can they help others to find your company more easily (both online and in person), many of these new locally-oriented sites also encourage customers to rate their recent experience.  Don’t let that scare you off.  If you provide good service and a good product, you have reason to expect most of your ratings to be positive.  Those that aren’t positive provide valuable feedback for you to make improvements, and a highly visible arena in which to demonstrate your great customer service to woo back a less-than-thrilled former customer.

Your neighbors, customers and prospects are online, and they respond to businesses that reach them where they spend their time. Customers also like getting relevant messages and discounts when they’re on the move. Create your own highly local online PR and marketing strategy and reap the benefits!

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Filed under Business Planning, Gail Z. Martin, Strategy

Welcome to the Presidential Suite

By Gail Z. Martin

“Welcome! Right this way.  I’ve got the Presidential Suite waiting for you.”  With those words, the smiling restroom attendant ushered me into a bathroom stall that had plenty of space for me and my luggage.  She walked ahead of me, wiping off any surface I might touch, so that the facilities seemed clean and fresh.  When I emerged, she was waiting to hand me a paper towel.  On the counter was an array of mints, mouthwash and hygiene items, just in case I needed something.  She made sure I got the royal treatment, along with a smile and a cheery word to speed me on my way.

Was this a pricy hotel?  No.  This was the ladies’ restroom in Terminal A of the Charlotte-Douglas Airport.

What’s the lesson?  Here’s someone with a job that many people would not regard as being high status.  But she found a way to really embrace the job and share her personality.  (One attendant in another terminal bursts into Broadway show tunes.  Bathrooms have really good acoustics.)  She gives weary travelers a pleasant experience that transforms something routine into a nice surprise.  She found a way to bring dignity to a job some people might disdain.

It’s one more example of how attitude is everything.  Elinor Roosevelt was right: No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.

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Filed under Gail Z. Martin, Gratitude-Giving