Referrals and Referral Systems: Your key to a constant flow of prospects
Evolutionary Sales
Jason McClain

Episode 15 - Referrals and Referral Systems: Your key to a constant flow of prospects

In this episode of Evolutionary Sales, Jason teaches you how to create passive as well as active streams for referrals that will have your business build itself. You will learn that the best time to ask for a referral is at the point of opening the relationship. You also have other opportunities—especially in closing the relationship and completing your project, service run, or period of delivery. Additionally, you will learn how to turn money you would have used into advertising into relationships with clients and others who will acquire prospects for you—and you will all make more money as a result. More details on this episode go to



Episode 15: Referrals and Referral Systems: Your key to a constant flow of prospects

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Jason McClain: Welcome to Evolutionary Sales. I am your host Jason McClain and your guide in 21st. century market place.


Jason:  Last week on Evolutionary Sales, we wrapped up thinking about concerns, objections, and reframing those concerns.  I guess now you would expect me to move into some fancy closing techniques. [laughs]

And the truth is, I don't teach closing techniques.  I don't use closing techniques unless you want to consider reframing concerns as closing techniques.  Unless you want to consider just waiting for the client to talk themselves out of  their own concerns while you hold space for them as a closing technique. 

You can call it that if you want to.  But ultimately, all those fancy books on closing tell me one thing:  And that is that the sale wasn't effectively made up front.  That the relationship wasn't really established well up front.  That somebody didn't sell into values and create enough vision and possibility or build enough repartee or ask enough questions and demonstrate enough credibility.

You should not need any closing techniques other than the occasional reframe.   You should be able to assume the sale.  That is, you just assume they're gonna sign and anything else is an oddity; an anomaly, that of course, should be dealt with. 

And it's a powerful place to stand, really.  Because it reinforces the responsibly that you have in really guiding the client. 

It's funny when somebody comes to my office for the first time.  I let them know that I'll meet them downstairs first.  I'm in a historic building in downtown San Francisco.  And I let them know I'll meet them downstairs first and guide them up the first time.  And guide is in a capital "G".  It's subtle; some people notice, some people don't.

When we get up the elevator, I show them where the bathroom is for future reference.  I show them where the bathroom key is, I show them where the stairs are--because I'm only on the second floor currently--if they want to use those. 

All of that is to pre-frame that they're gonna be back.  So the minute I establish contact with them, of course, the idea is to open a relationship.  And I pre-frame that every step of the way.  I reinforce it every step of the way.  And it's those little teeny things--if you do a bunch of those small things, then more and more, they would have to consciously say, "Whoa, I may not be back."  That's a pretty tough thing to do with something as small as, "Here's the bathroom for future reference."

Then, "When you come back, is there a particular kind of tea that you like that I can have here for you?"  Things of that nature. 

So there are no closing techniques in evolutionary sales.  There's the occasional reframe.  But if you master all the skills previously demonstrated, taught and laid out in this series, you won't need those.  You can throw that book away.  And think of it.  If you have to close somebody hard, think of it as an indicator that you missed an important step somewhere.  You missed and important step somewhere. 

But today's show is actually about referrals and referral systems.  

What if it were possible if you never had to advertise again?  [laughs]  And in fact, hopefully I've mentioned it before in this series, print advertising is the least effective advertising that you could possibly do.  And direct mail is one of the least effective marketing campaigns you can run. 

Direct mail--if you're lucky, you'll get a 1% return on the database.  And with print advertising, it's very difficult to track.  You can track it, of course, you can create what they call a "landing page" on your web site so that you know that whoever saw that ad is going to go to that particular web page and only those people are going to go that particular web page. 

But really, you want to be engaged in referrals and referral systems.  You want at least two referral systems.  I'll tell you what my two are.  Now for some people, they may think this is a little strange.  Some people feel a little uncomfortable with one of these.  Let me tell you, I actually got this from Jay Abrams.  And if any of you have studied anything about marketing or results, I'm sure you've heard of Jay Abrams, one of those gurus in business. 

I got this directly from him.  But some people are a little uncomfortable.  Now, let me also say that there are some industries in which this is illegal.  That is, if you're in a heavily regulated industry, perhaps you're a physician, or perhaps you're a licensed therapist and in your particular state this is not legal, then you of course, want to check your local laws.  I know for me, being a straight service provider in a relatively unregulated industry, this is perfectly legal and certainly ethical.   

A first way is you simply write it into your agreement.  One of the clauses of my contract currently states:  Client understands that Evolutionary Guide actively markets their business based on a formalized referral system.  If client is satisfied with the work Evolutionary Guide provides, he will agree to refer two people for an exploratory session. 

I've met a couple of people who have asked about that.  You know, a little clarification, "Well, what if I don't know anybody?"  But mostly I think there's only one person where I had to delete the clause for and that's because they wanted it confidential that they even saw somebody like me.  So they just didn't want anyone to know that they were seeing somebody like me for their life, for whatever reason. 

Of course, it hinges on being satisfied with my work.  Satisfied with the work that they've experienced with me.  And in the exit survey for those of you who are in service industries, words are one-on-one relationship, or whether it's even a different kind of relationship besides on-on-one.  I highly encourage you to create an exit survey so that you can gather feedback; honest unvarnished feedback from your clients.  Your best resource is the client that you've developed a relationship with who's willing to tell you the truth about what they liked, and what you could improve.  But in my exit survey, there is, of course, a place for two names and numbers if they have not yet given me those referrals. 

In addition to that, once they've completed that agreement--and by the way, all they have to do is simply get someone's permission to give me their contact information.  And that part's critical and you're gonna want to educate your clients around how to refer people to you.  And it's to get their permission to give you their contact information. 

Here's why that's so critical:  I can't think of how many people who've said, "I gave so and so your number, did they call?"  And well, of course not.  They may have lost my number, they may have forgotten.  They may have gotten scared, given that they would really have to take on their lives.  There's any number of things that could stop them.  And for me, if I'm really coming in for a service, I'm gonna take the burden of contacting me off of the client. That means giving their friend permission to give me their contact information and let them know that I'll be calling.  The second referral system I employ is a straight ten percent referral fee for anybody who is referred to me for the length of the initial contract which is normal 26 sessions. 

And that referral fee is not an insignificant amount of money.   So not only does somebody they know get the change they want in their lives--not only are they doing good, but they're actually getting paid for it.  They're doing good and they get to do well.  And I've had couple of people who are absolute referral machines for me once they finish with my personal evolution program.  And of course, an existing client, once they're done with the commitment of two referrals, then they also are eligible for that ten percent referral fee.

And here's the basic frame for you:  Rather than pay for advertising that may not be effective, pay the people around you to advertise for you and acquire qualified leads for you.  It's a hundred times more effective and a hundred times more bang for your buck. 

But let's say neither one of those are--you're either not comfortable with them or for some regulatory reason, it's not appropriate for you to do that.  There's also ways you can show appreciation to people who refer people to you.  But also, the best time to ask for a referral is when somebody signs the agreement because right then they're the most convicted that this was a good choice.  They have to be.  Maybe they had to talk themselves into it so they've convinced themselves, "This is a good idea, I'm spending this amount of money for this product or service." And you simply ask them at that moment, "Do you know anyone else who would be interested in this?  Do you know anyone else who would be interested in this?"  And they may say they want to work with you for a while first.  And then of course, after you complete your agreement or your assignment or your project for them, that's your other major point of asking for referrals.  "Do you know anyone else who would like this quality of service? Do you know anyone else who would be interested?"  What it makes possible for you is the ability to always have streams of referrals--that is, prospects--coming into you all the time.  Then your business becomes a self-perpetuating motor for you.

And one last thing I'll say about referral systems and most of these little techniques in general:  Maybe you feel uncomfortable with them, but they're legal and they're ethical.  Or maybe they're legal and you feel that they're unethical, and yet, someone else might disagree with that. 

What I would ask you to do is, I would ask you to first of all, remember that I'm completely committed to the 21st Century Marketplace which requires a profound relationship with your clients.  However, that also does not mean that I let go of all tools of influence.  One of the mindsets--and in a couple of weeks I'm going to get into some mindsets that are necessary for you to succeed as an evolutionary professional--ten or twelve basic mindsets.  Basic, but profound that will make a huge difference in your business and your life.  Ask yourself:  Is it a belief that you have?  That is, you don't think you should do that even though there's no rational reason, necessarily?  It's legal, it's probably ethical.  If I’m suggesting it, it certainly is. 

Do you have a fear about whether or not a prospect will like it?  How confident are you in your services?  Is it some unbelief?  Are you caught up in "shoulds" rather than in results?  And for the most part, what I would ask you to do is try it.  Just try it.  See if it works or not.  Try it with full confidence that it will probably be effective and [unintelligible] at it.  And then there may be some personal work for you to do there.  There certainly may be some personal work. 

Most importantly what I would say is depending on your industry and depending on your clientele, simply gather feedback implicitly or explicitly from your clients.  Try and let your clients decide.  In a free market economy, there's a sense in which you almost don't hae a right to determine what services you offer and what prices you charge.  Partly because it's set by the consumer.  The consumer is the god in the free market.  So try it, be aware of your shoulds, notice any limiting beliefs that come up.  When you haven't tried it, you free yourself of those in service, again, in service of your outcome and assist others in their outcomes.


I'm Jason McClain, your host and your guide in the 21st Century Marketplace.  For questions about his show, you can reach me at [email protected].  For transcripts of this show or any other shows on the Personal Life Media network, please visit  And thanks for listening.

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