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An Elevator Pitch that Attracts Referrals

“I don’t remember saying that” says a member of my business network when I call him with a perfect opportunity for him.

I see this a lot – offhand comments that generate great referrals. The skill is to recognize the gems so you can craft an Elevator Pitch that attracts more of those referrals.

Here’s how his worked:

He mentions on his podcast that he wants to speak at Rotary Clubs (that’s what he doesn’t remember saying).

Now, keep in mind that I know he’s a keynote speaker.

Also keep in mind that I am a member of a Rotary Club.

But here’s the thing: based on that information I would never have invited him to speak.

First because being a speaker at a Rotary Club is a somewhat specialized thing.

You’re not allowed to sell or give a commercial for your services.

We don’t pay.

You only have 20 minutes.

So while it’s a great opportunity for the right kind of speaker, I don’t automatically assume that speakers want to speak at my Rotary Club.

Second, like most people, I don’t hear my specific situation in a general ask.

Keynote speaker? Great! I’ll keep you in mind.

Want to speak at a Rotary Club? * pulls up club speaking schedule * What date works for you?

See the difference?

I don’t know any opportunities for a keynote speaker, but I’m always interested in speakers for my Rotary Club.

Anyone who mentions that they want to speak at a Rotary Club instantly grabs my attention.

It’s a subtle distinction, and a crucial one for anyone who wants to attract more referrals.

It gets better. I call him immediately, and discover that his goal is to speak at 40 Rotary Clubs this year.


If you’re targeting Chambers of Commerce, or women’s networking groups, or trade shows for manufacturers…

If you’re targeting CEO’s of $5 million companies, or first time home buyers, or men in a second marriage…

Let people know. The more specific the better. That’s how they can help.

Here’s the second connection I made yesterday for this same contact:

On his podcast he’s looking for people who have written business books.

Lo and behold! Another contact of mine mentions in his newsletter that he wants introductions to podcasts to promote his new book.

BAM! They have already connected and are making plans to have him on the podcast.

Now, a key thing I want to mention here: NO MONEY CHANGED HANDS.

Did you notice that?

None of us are clients of each other.

We are not paying for him to speak at our Rotary Club.

There is not charge to be a guest on his podcast.

Yet there is still tremendous value for everyone.

Referrals do not have to be strictly to customers.

One of the best referrals I ever got was a guy who sponsored the kickoff barbecue for my charity work.

Or maybe it was the artist who helped me surprise my wife with a keepsake painting of our Back Bay Condo.

Referrals are everywhere.

This week, Rotary Clubs and Business Books.

Specifics help other people make the right connections for you.

What’s your specific ask this week?

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