Friday, February 29, 2008


 WORKING BY REFERRAL and NETWORKING while intimately related are not the same thing. While you can certainly do both concurrently, it's helpful to distinguish the difference between the two activities. That’s important because nurturing one doesn’t necessarily bring results in the other.

Here's how it looks to me anyway:

NETWORKING is the process of knowing lots of people, businesses and centers of influence and serving as the CONNECTOR for those entities. You bring people in your network together for business, services or just friendship. For example, you might know a general contractor who's just lost his favorite Plumbing Contractor because he moved out of state. You happen to know a great plumbing contractor and you introduce them. or... You have a friend who has a problem getting her kids to study and another friend who USED to have the same problem until she instituted some strategies with her kids and now they study very well. You introduce them. In a fashion, it’s providing referrals for others within your network. THAT'S NETWORKING.

Networking can also be the process of nurturing relationships within your company or profession to exchange information, learn and grow together. It can also help you in the “Cover for me” types of things -- You get into a pinch with the kids ride or get sick… etc.

WORKING BY REFERRAL, on the other hand, is the process of nurturing your relationships with numerous people, businesses and centers of influence thru personal, written, phone and email communications that serves to:

  1. Keep your name in front of them.
  2. Ask them for referrals and keep them aware that you REALLY DO appreciate their referrals.
  3. Demonstrate your competency at your chosen profession thru timely accurate information and problem solving abilities
  4. Show that you are a resource for knowledge, information, and encouragement.

So here’s the important part for me. The process of NETWORKING doesn’t necessarily get the same results as does the process of WORKING BY REFERRAL. I’ll be the first to admit that the efforts in one area do, in a sense, serve the results in another but without this clear distinction you could end up being a great NETWORKER and never receive the benefit of getting referrals from that network.


It's a Good Life !

Dennis Volz, Agent
10783 Jamacha Bl, Suite 1, Spring Valley, CA 91978
OFFICE: (619) 670-1000 - FAX: (619) 670-1121 - Cell (619) 339-1339
Websites: Company Site: DennisVolz.COM, Client Convenience Site:

My 'Other Blogs'

The San Diego Insurance Blog

Active Rain Networking Site

Musings from California

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Sunday, February 24, 2008

BOOK REVIEW - Personal Notes: How to Write from the Heart for Any Occasion

Personal Notes: How to Write from the Heart for Any Occasion

Is this you?

"I'd love to write personal notes but I just can't get to them and when I do, I CAN'T THINK WHAT TO SAY !

If that's the case then READ ON....

I know the owner of a print shop. She tells me that she prints lots of personalized thank you notes. It's one of her most popular items. We all know the power of personal notes. Yes, we all do whether we send them out or not.

Think back to the last time you were sorting thru your pile of junk mail and nestled in the middle of the disarray of fliers, postcards, bills and circulars was a HAND ADDRESSES note or letter to YOU! Maybe it was your birthday or maybe it was just for no particular reason. You STOPPED with an internal dialog maybe something like mine when this happens. (this is all before I even open it.)

WOW! Look at this. Decent handwriting. Don't recognize it. Looks like a card of some kind. Wonder who it's from. No return address on the front. Oooh...>Heres one on the back. No name, just an address. 5656 Prarie Lane.... OKLAHOMA???? hmmmmmm. OK, let's check this out.

All that just for a quick note. Then you open it and IMMEDIATELY go straight to the END to see who signed. I guess that's why Paul and other New Testament writers put the "signature line" right up front. But I digress...

What an impact! And we know that these notes to our clients, friends and family have a powerful impact their lives, on our business , and on ourselves as we take the time to write them. Do you think they toss these notes with the rest of the JUNK MAIL... NO WAY. They keep them. Sometimes for years.

We all love to receive notes. Maybe you've received one when you needed some encouragement or you'd recently celebrated some milestone. Or maybe you received one from a salesman thanking you for your time. Wouldn't you be more likely to talk to him again. Maybe even send him a referral!

AH-hah... Now I've got your attention.

I've learned that notes are so much more than a TOOL TO GET REFERRALS (although it certainly is that) Notes will bless and enrich the lives of the recipients. They will be possibly that one bright spot in an otherwise ROTTEN DAY.

I've been using this book for about six months now.

The author, Sandra E Lamb offers a step by step process to learn to convey the real you in your notes. This process is so helpful when you know what you want to say in your heart but the words just don't come out for you.

This is extremely helpful for me when i need to write a note of condolence and encouragement for a lost loved one, lost job, or onset of serious illness.

I keep it next to my desk now and pull it whenever I have a little WRITERS BLOCK...

Check out the book description page at AMAZON.

Personal Notes: How to Write from the Heart for Any Occasion
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Saturday, February 23, 2008

Book Review-Endless Referrals by Bob Burg


  • You've ever wanted a simple, no-nonsense approach to WORKING BY REFERRAL.
  • If you would like to NETWORK better than you do,
  • If you just DON'T KNOW HOW to network but like the idea.
  • If you'd like to improve your "people skills"
  • If you'd like to have a LIST OF QUESTIONS to ask people at a mixer to put them at ease with you.
  • If you'd like to have more FUN networking.
  • If you would like to learn to mix pleasure with generating leads.

Bob Burg offers a clear, no-nonsense way to slip painlessly into the world of networking and DOING BUSINESS BY REFERRAL ONLY.

His simple, easy-going style of writing puts you immediately at ease and his step-by-step instructions are SO SIMPLE to understand his book could easily be titled: NETWORKING AND REFERRALS FOR DUMMIES. :)

Treat yourself to a copy of this book or take yourself to the Amazon description page by clicking this link: Endless Referrals, Third Edition

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Sunday, February 17, 2008

Why are Referrals So Important - THEN & NOW

Seems like I've been in the insurance business FOREVER... In actuality, it's only been 30 years. Interesting that in that 30 yaars I don't feel like it's been just one carreer, but about 4. It's just changed so much over the years, I've had to RE-Learn the business several times.


  • Microfiche Readers
  • 1 phone line
  • All manuals/rate books in 3 ring binders
  • Information updates several weeks old
  • Commission checks mailed to me
  • Delivering paperwork all over town
  • Communication by
    • Office phone
    • F2F (Face to Face)
    • Mail (USPS)


  • Computer
  • 5 phone lines
  • Manuals/rate books online
  • Information Updated Immediately
  • Commission Checks Direct Deposit
  • "Paperwork" delivered via FAX / Email
  • Communication by
    • Office Phone
    • Cell Phone
    • F2F
    • Mail (USPS)
    • Email
    • Website
    • Fax
    • Voicemail
    • Blackberry

I'm tired just looking at all that. As our business has changed, so has the world we live in and the people we need to reach to drive our business forward.

  • THEN: People had Answering Machines to Catch Calls (and
    Caller ID)
  • NOW: People have Answering Machines to SCREEN calls (in
    addition to Caller ID)(I never answer the phone when I'm home,)
  • THEN: People viewed the mail with EXPECTATION.
  • NOW: People view the mail with SUSPICION and ANNOYANCE
    (ever received an ad that looked like a check?) (Do you stand over the trash
    when sorting your mail?)
  • THEN: People answered their door when a stranger
  • NOW: People check the peep-hole -- Maybe they
    answer, maybe they don't.

With all this KEEPING THE WORLD OUT going on today, it's no wonder that our "traditional" methods just don't work anymore.

  • Cold Calling (can't get past the answering machine)
    • Expireds & FISBO's included here
  • Direct Mail (sorted into the trash just like everybody else)
  • Print Ads
  • Internet Ads / Leads (what are your chances among all those Web Sites/Pages (here's the best data I could find)
19.2 billion pages were indexed by Yahoo as of August 2005.
websites were indexed by Netcraft as of August 2005.

Yet when we're feeling a little behind the curve, it's all those "traditional" vehicles we run to. It's all those devices that are costly and that provide such lesser-quality leads than do referrals from people who know us, like us and trust us.


  • Usually not just looking
  • Nearly always convert to clients
  • Come to us Pre-Sold on us
  • CALL US (or, IDEALLY, the friend calls us asking us to call the referral)
  • Requires only about an hour a day of nearly FREE activity to create
  • The highest quality
  • Higher average sale price / commission
  • Are most likely to then refer us because they were referred TO US.

How could we NOT embrace the simple, daily process of nurturing our database and centers of influence to generate quality referrals???????

We press on..... :)
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Soon we'll begin discussions of the art of Working by Referral. In the meantime, if you'd like to contact me, just drop me an email.

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