Anyone who has run a business knows how important business referrals can be — so much that many set up systems and invest a lot of time and energy asking everyone for them. After all, how else would you get those referrals coming in, right?
Matt Ward says, “But that’s the wrong approach.”
Matt is a professional member of the National Speakers Association and a podcast host of the popular small business podcast Square Peg Round Hole! He’s also a 40 Under 40 Recipient and Chamber Small Business Owner of the Year.
He is the founder of Breakthrough Champion and author of “MORE…Word of Mouth Referrals, Lifelong Customers & Raving Fans” which was released in September 2018 and was a #1 New Release.
He initially started a website agency called in Concert Web Solutions which he eventually sold in 2018 so that he could focus on helping businesses get more word-of-mouth referrals through his public speaking platform.
Matt believes that the problem with small business is bananas, and, today, he’ll tell us why.
If the first thing that popped into your mind when you heard Matt’s core belief is the image of a monkey, then you are not alone.
Matt, however, is quick to explain that his belief has nothing to do with primates and the yellow fruit, but with people who go to events and hand out business cards without engaging people in meaningful conversations first — something that he likens to dumping bananas on people without considering whether they’d like them or not.
Matt admits that early in his career, he was probably one of those people handing bananas as well, but after reading Keith Ferrazzi’s “Never Eat Alone,” he grew to understand relationships better.
He also learned how you can build mutually beneficial ones simply by engaging them in a conversation and truly caring about what they have to say.
How to Get Word-of-Mouth Referrals
Matt shares that about 90% of his business now relies on word-of-mouth referrals alone, and he said he managed to do this by educating people.
“You have to arm people with the knowledge of what it is you’re looking for and what you’re all about.”
He said a lot of people get lost in targeting the right market that they neglect to figure out the message that they want to send. “You need to know your topic first; your target second,” he explains.
Grateful to be Living the Dream
Matt said like everyone, he had his dreams when he was younger, but like a lot of people, he thought they were just that — dreams.
After all, he’s the first in his family to graduate and the first one not to go into prison, but he met someone who encouraged him to start his own business, he decided to give it a try, made some big changes in his life, and now he’s here.
Building Relationships with People
Matt said he owes it all to the relationships he built, which, he said, all started from caring.
“When you care about others, they care about you, and referrals are a by-product of caring,” Matt explained.
That said, he reminds people not to give just for the sake of getting something in return. Even if people don’t refer you, he said that it builds a habit of helping other people, and you’ll never know how it’s going to impact their life, and, maybe in the future, yours as well.
One Step at a Time
“You can’t care about 200 people at once.” Matt knows this too well so he advises people to take things one step at a time. He says you can start by staying in touch then paying attention to what they say. After that, always try to find ways to provide value to the people you meet.
“One of the core tenets behind getting word-of-mouth referrals is surprise.” The goal of advertising is to always be at the top of the mind of your prospects, and this is one good way of leaving a strong impression on them.
Matt identifies Keith’s Ferrazi’s “Never Eat Alone” as his favorite book. In fact, he has multiple copies in his bookshelf that he ships out to other people every now and then.