[FYI: The title “BBJ” refers to Bill’s Business Journey]
Long ago, as a solo freelance writer just starting out, I quickly went on the hunt for what I thought were my primary revenue streams: direct customers. I did my best to get the word out that I was available. I informed all the people who knew me, and made cold-calls to lots of people who didn’t.
I tried this approach several times over the years, with the same results. I found no revenue streams, only a few trickles that always dried up quickly. I had hoped to embody the results I read from the stories of successful freelance writers. Instead, I embodied the phrase, “Nice work if you can get it” – which is why I was so skinny.
More recently, as a presentation consultant, I discovered that the solution to my business drought had come to me 26 years earlier from an unexpected resource: our wedding coordinator.
The church where my wife and I were married employed its own wedding coordinator. At the time we met with her, we hadn’t given a single thought to a florist or a photographer. But we liked her immediately, so when she said, “I know a florist and a photographer,” we didn’t give a single thought to any others. We called them both immediately and booked them for our wedding – simply because they’d been referred to us by someone we were already happily working with in a related industry.
That’s the difference between being a solo and being a solution. As solos, we’re disconnected from everyone else, like that lone shop on the long boulevard whose parking lot is always empty. As solutions, we’re linked with other vendors who are already serving our potential customers with related services. By making these vendors our primary networking focus, we can work together to turn our meager revenue trickles into successful revenue streams.
And we might be really surprised by where those streams come from.
At a referral marketing workshop I attended, the clever facilitator created a potentially lucrative networking solution by introducing me as a presentation coach to yet another unexpected resource: a men’s fashion consultant. The consultant was as surprised by the connection as I was, and equally delighted: like the wedding coordinator, we can now refer each other to clients who are seeking to present both a better image and a better message. We both came away with a new revenue stream to draw from – and perhaps more importantly, a whole new way of thinking about business.
For more on referral marketing, click here to learn about the Referral Institute.
For more on the clever facilitator, Andy Springer, visit him on LinkedIn here.
This blog chronicles my adventures with my public speaking and presentation coaching business, Rhetorio Presentation. To learn more about it, visit the main site at www.rhetoriopresentation.com. For presentation-specific tips, scroll down the right-hand sidebar for the 3 presentation categories: #1: Think, #2: Show, and #3: Tell.