Referrals, What Truly Make the World Go Around

Referrals are truly what make the world go around.

Not google, not the yellow pages, not newspaper ads.


We recently moved to Nashville from the Finger Lakes Region of New York.  So we were pretty much clueless about who the good people are to do business with.

We needed some work done on the house.  I didn’t google, I didn’t Angie’s List, I didn’t hunt down the phone book (don’t even have one).

I asked a local friend.

Of course I then went with who he recommended, and was glad I did.

We needed a light installed in our house.  My wife was in charge of that project, she didn’t head for the world wide web, she called Brian.

Brian recommended Shane Electric.

So we went with Aaron Shane and were absolutely glad we did.  The dude came when he said he would even though it wasn’t convenient that day, he was cleaned up, courteous, and did a great job.

And he did it for the price he quoted to begin with.  (BIG lesson right there y’all)

Aaron said he’s so busy with electrical work right now he can’t hire good help fast enough and he’s leaving a bunch of business on the table.

I thought that was pretty interesting so I asked him what he does for advertising.

Pretty much nothing.  He has a website, but that’s about it.  His phone rang 35 times that day by the time he got to our house, and he was on it most of the time he was working here.

Because people like him, his work, and he does what he say he will do.

Dienner’s Kitchen recently opened up in Seneca, SC.

They’ve been so busy they’ve had to make emergency trips to Atlanta to get more food.

We arrived for breakfast at 8:30am on a random Saturday and had to wait 30 minutes to get in.  The front room had standing room only, all the ‘waiting seats’ were taken.  They were busy.

They’ve been so busy that soon after opening they decided to be closed altogether on Monday’s (as well as Sunday’s), just for a much needed break.

Their advertising?  None.  Zilch. Nada.

They have a small makeshift sign out by the road, but truthfully it’s not that visible.

But their food was excellent and people are clearly talking.

I don’t think I’ve ever been to a conference, seminar, or restaurant that I hadn’t first heard about from someone.

Ok, the restaurant thing is an exaggeration, but barely.


I know a bunch and have yet to meet one that gets super excited about internet leads.  I’ve never met a traditional realtor yet that’s making a living solely from the web.

But they own the referral game.

The good ones are all over that mess.

Well, there’s another example right there.

When we moved to Nashville we bought a house with Kristin Kelley (yes, someone referred her).  She was great so guess who Brian used when he bought his house?  Kristin Kelley.

And guess who he and I now refer to other’s moving into the area?


We’re starting a location here in July.  But we already made a couple sales.

Care to guess how the first two sales were made?

Referrals, that’s right.

Did it hurt that we have a website?  For sure not.  But that’s not what brought in the biz.

I recently heard someone say If you don’t have a website you don’t exist.

I hear what you’re saying, because I’m all about it, but it’s simply not true…yet.  And maybe never will be for the select few.

I would say it highly depends on your industry.

Depending what you’re doing if you don’t have a website you truly don’t exist.

But I know some pretty successful people that either don’t even have a website, or their website is so terrible you know no one ever goes there.

What puts food on their table?  Word of mouth, repeat customers, referrals, and indisputable name recognition to name a few.

But Kent, this is crazy talk!

I know.  It is.

I’m curious right now how many business owners out there have spent money on advertising because you feel like you should be doing something.

Come on, be honest.

I have.

I remember years ago I was cleaning house on our print advertising.  We had been regulars in quite a few little newspapers and magazines and I thought we had either outgrown them or they weren’t worth the money.

And every time a salesperson from one of those agencies would call to see if we wanted to renew our ad again I would get freaked out, thinking that maybe this ad was what was putting food on our table.

But I stuck to it until we weren’t paying for any print advertising.  It felt horrible.  And I was not sure it was the right decision.

But our sales never dipped, sputtered, or slowed in any way.

Matter of fact, those were some of our biggest growth years.

Am I saying that I’m anti-internet and don’t believe in social media?

No, definitely not.  Those growth years I just talked about?  The internet had a huge part to play in that.

Without a website we wouldn’t be where we are today.

But your website is not a ticket to success.  Neither is Facebook.  Or Instagram.  And definitely not Twitter.

But here’s the part I love.

All those things can be used to compound the sacred referrals that make the world go around!

So I’m all about the web and social media, but I think it’s merely a great tool to help you expose yourself and/or your company for who you really are.

If you’re a grumpy soul that doesn’t like to be bothered with customers, Social Media will not help or change that.

If you love solving people’s problems with your product, Social Media will not change that either (thankfully).

It may make you more visible.  It may make it easier for someone to see if your other customers were happy.

It’s a great way for word to spread, good or bad.

So here’s how I want to sum this up. 

The internet and all it brings with it has opened up a whole new world of opportunity.

But depending on your industry and company in particular, you may find that good old-fashioned referrals and happy customers are still what makes the world go around.


PS: Click here for the best book I ever read on this topic:

Entrepreneur, Investor, Optimistic Realist. Saved by Grace, Student of Life. Husband, Father, Son.

Get updates right in your inbox. It's easy!

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic. Not that it would ever happen.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

2 thoughts on “Referrals, What Truly Make the World Go Around

  1. Good post man! Asking for referrals was probably the hardest habit to create (for fear of course) but there is nothing better and an easier sale than a good referral