Thursday, January 1, 2009


This is the beginning of a three-part article that will walk you through the philosophy and basic strategies of Working By Referral (WBR).

Here in Part 1, we’ll talk about why we MUST Work By Referral. Things have changed and the traditional methods of lead and customer acquisition just don’t work any longer

In Part 2, we’ll talk about why you CAN Work By Referral – Why EVERYBODY can work by referral. You can because you have a wealth of opportunity before even walking out your door. TRUE! And you don’t have to be an outgoing, Type-A social networker either.

Finally, in Part 3, we’ll go over the three basic strategies in the HOW of Working By Referral and give you some easy first steps to take.

I can sum up the foundation of Working By Referral in one key word: GENEROSITY

Generosity with your time, your resources, your relationships, your business "secrets." This should become more clear, so let's press on.

Part 1. Take your time and please don’t skip ahead... -------------------------------------------------------------

Why we MUST work by referral -- Because traditional methods of lead and customer acquisition simply don’t work like they used to.

Things have changed a lot in the last 20 years, haven’t they? Life moves at a faster pace. All those “labor-saving devices” like cell phones, the Internet, voice mail, answering machines and computers haven’t really moved us very far ahead. But they sure have changed things.


Remember when the mail used to be looked at with anticipation? We ran to the mail box as soon as the mail truck left or even met him before he even got to the mailbox. Now the mail is viewed with suspicion. Ever received a piece of junk mail disguised to look like a check? You see what I mean. That’s why now we stand over the trash can to sort through our mail.

The best case we can hope for is less than a 1% response rate to our direct mail. And even then the quality of the leads is very second rate.


Remember how we used to just love the telephone? Because we didn’t have email, text messaging and chat rooms on the Internet, the phone was our only way to stay in touch. Now it seems cumbersome and time-consuming.

I remember when answering machines first came out and we all rushed to get one so that we wouldn’t miss any calls. Now we use them to SCREEN our calls so we only answer for people we want to talk to.

I can’t remember the last time I cold called, but I bet that I’d see less than 5 in 100 where I wouldn’t have to first get past the screening of the answering machine. Certainly NOT my idea of a good time.


Unless it’s one of my neighbors or someone I’m expecting (or a Girl Scout offering those MARVELOUS Girl Scout Cookies), it’s just plain weird when someone comes to my door. Like most of us, I have the peep-hole to see who it is and make the WILL I ANSWER THE DOOR DECISION based on what I see. Usually I don’t.


We live in an age of information overload. Between all the books we can read, the Internet sites and the newspapers and magazines we can read, a person could go crazy just trying to keep up. Aside from the dramatically declining subscription rates to newspapers and magazines with the advent of everything alternatively available online, print ads are SO EXPENSIVE. Kind of like putting all of your money on number 7 and letting them spin the wheel.

I don’t know what everybody else does, but I don’t read ads when I occasionally read a newspaper or a magazine. I don’t subscribe to any magazines and my wife likes to get the newspaper on Sunday for the coupons. She doesn’t read it either.

If you’re depending on print ads to generate enough business to pay the rent and feed the family, you’re going to end up homeless and hungry!

THE BIG WWW…(aka the Internet)

More of the same here with the information overload.


Remember the days of the Knights of the Round table, Sir Lancelot and King Arthur? They all lived in some kind of castle. And all the castles had a moat and a drawbridge. Visitors had to first be identified and then allowed access to the castle.

We’ve gone back to that.

We’ve built electronic moats around our lives to keep the unwanted people out.

In the days of old:

  • They called up to the watchman; we call into the phone.

  • They threw small stones over the wall to get their attention; we throw direct mail into their mailbox or email inbox hoping for a response

  • They stood at the drawbridge door and banged on it until it was answered; we stand at their door and knock hoping for a friendly face on the other side.

OK… So now we know what DOESN’T work. But before we jump into what DOES work, let’s go to Part 2 and talk a little bit about the most important ingredient of Working By Referral – YOU. Anybody, especially you, has already IN PLACE a foundation of a fantastic referral system. I mean it’s at your fingertips and you can start enjoying the fruit of that foundation -- TODAY.

See you in Part 2.


It's a Good Life !

Dennis Volz Insurance Agency
10783 Jamacha Bl, Suite 1, Spring Valley, CA 91978
OFFICE: (619) 670-1000 - FAX: (619) 670-1121 - Cell (619) 339-1339
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