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5 Common Mistakes That Will Keep You from Getting Referrals

by Bill Cates
5 Common Mistakes People That Prevent Them From Getting Referrals

What’s that definition of insanity again? Oh… right! “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.”

One form of referral insanity is using outdated methods. Managers and trainers often teach what worked for them, but only produce mediocre results in this new world where we need to blend the analogue side of referrals with the digital side.


Getting Referrals is Simple, But Not Always Easy


There are 5 insanely common and easy to make mistakes that so many people are making in their efforts to boost referrals and introductions. Here’s what NOT to do:


  1. Not being as referable as you think you are.

    Are you referable? How do you know? You’re getting referrals without asking for them! Do notice when your prospects and clients make value-recognizing statements, so you can leverage the value you bring into introductions to others?

    After a live session an advisor said to me, “My clients love me, but they’re not giving me any referrals.” We went through the three main stages of client relationships to make sure he was covering all the bases. Long story short, he’s now in therapy trying to deal with the fact that he’s not as referable as he thought he was.

  2. Not seeing the opportunities right in front of you.

    Do you bring confident awareness to asking for referrals and introductions?  Meaning… are you confident in the work you do and the value that you bring to your prospects and clients?  If not, that should be your first priority of business.

    Are you aware of all the opportunities right in front of you – on a regular basis? Meaning… when your prospects and clients mention other people in their lives, do you pay attention? Do you get curious? Do you explore the possibility of being introduced to them?   Not to the point of being obnoxious, but not missing the opportunities either.

  3. Not using a client-centered process.

    I’ve been teaching my system for 25 years. Apparently, I still haven’t gotten my message out to everyone.       People are still focusing their referral marketing efforts on themselves – trying to grow their business.

    You will be much more effective at getting referrals if you help your clients identify people who need to know about them; collaborating with their clients to identify people who deserve to make an educated decision.

  4. Not coming prepared to collaborate in a focused manner – winging it.

    Without question, the most prevalent mistake I see being made that prevents people from getting referrals is not helping your potential referral source identify specific people or categories of people who should know about their value… “Who do you know who I can help?”

    Please, please, please – don’t wing it and don’t throw open the entire universe to them. Come prepared with specific people you know that they know, and/or categories of people to help your sources visualize people in their mind’s eye.

  5. Not receiving referrals properly.

    I call this creating Referral T.R.U.S.T. There are 5 critical elements to receiving the referrals you get. Here is the link to a 1-minute video about how you can do this effectively every time:


Without question, these are not the only mistakes people make, but if you can master these simple aspects of the referral process, you’ll be on your way to the right habits that produce great results – for you and the people to whom you bring your value.

Attention Managers and Leaders!


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Get the Bill Cates Referral Marketing System into the hands of your reps as soon as you can. You can finish 2016 strong and get off to a strong start in 2017.


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