“There is a handful of people who I would consider really an expert in networking, and Andy is one of the few people on that list. ”
Dr. Ivan Misner, Founder and CEO, BNI
“Andy certainly made a difference on how I normally approach / perceive events such as this. ”
Ann Azzopardi, Category Buying Manager, Pret a Manger
“The process to gaining the right referrals does not happen overnight, but executing Andy’s strategy into your daily business routine will lead to referral success. ”
Tom Price LLB DipPFS Hodgson Wealth Management
“The feedback from attendees was overwhelmingly positive and we will continue to run the training in other offices in EMEA. ”
Astrid Huijssoon, Senior Marketing Manager Cross Border Trade - PayPal CEMEA
“Andy has successfully elevated networking into more of a strategic arena ...................rather than it just being a "skills" thing. ”
Phil Jesson, Director of Speaker Development Academy for Chief Executives
“'Networking' as a topic can often seem forced... about tools and techniques to 'work a room' or 'get noticed' - Andy's take on it in this talk was so far removed from the glib truisms we've all heard before. ”
Bryony Thomas, Watertight Marketing
“Andy's 'The Networking Mindset' networking event was fascinating. I've been to loads of networking events over the years which are always full of people who don't quite know why they're there.... myself included. ”
Nicholas Harkin, Head of Risk & Governance at Close Brothers Retail Finance
“As a direct result of Andy’s workshop, we are now implementing a “networking strategy” that is aligned to supporting our key business goal. Andy’s advice/insights have made me re-think all my customer interactions and even in the short term I am getting results. ”
Adam Newman, Health Outcomes Consultant, GSK
“Wherever I go, Andy is held in very high regard and I can personally endorse him as someone who is easy to do business with, professional and also great to work with. ”
Phil Jones MBE, Managing Director, Brother UK
“The feedback we received from members was overwhelmingly positive, making it one of the best sessions we had all year. ”
Aileen Parsons, Relationship Manager - Strategic Client Services, Paypal
“It was the best talk I’ve ever been to. Loved the content, pacing, delivery, structure. Your message was very memorable (imparting that much information can leave listeners forgetting what was said) and you managed the balance between substance, detail and memorability well. ”
Rebecca Aguilar, BBC Worldwide
“Andy Lopata is a true role model for any aspiring professional speaker in my view ”
Heather Townsend, author of The Financial Times Guide to Business Networking
“Andy worked with my business partner and me for a number of months as a referral and networking coach. Our business has demonstrably grown due to the new techniques and skills learned through working with Andy. ”
Dan Hall, Financial Advisor, Merrill Lynch
“Andy’s style suited our company values perfectly as it is very much based around letting people learn at their own pace and be part of the sessions instead of just being presented to. There was a mixture of experience, job roles, nationalities and seniority in the room and Andy ensured that everyone felt this training was directed at them, such is his way with words. ”
Robert Kenward, Global Development Director, Banks Sadler
“In the three months since Andy delivered his sessions, I've noticed a clear change in the approach taken by everyone who participated. We have already received a number of referrals as a result. ”
Andy O'Sullivan, Head of Sales - Hospitality, Wembley Stadium
“It is great to work with a speaker like Andy who really wants to understand the audience he speaks to and tailors his content to them. ”
Galina Lebedeva, Education & Events Senior Co-ordinator, Wella UK & Ireland
“I found the session with Andy really interesting and helpful. It offered a different perspective to development sessions I have been to before and it made me really think about how I was positioning myself at work and what I needed to be doing differently. ”
Tori Henderson, Senior Public Policy Manager HSBC
“I have already received three emails and two telephone calls from attendees who have expressly advised that as a direct result of the presentation they will without doubt be changing the way in which they network. A huge success. ”
Michael Strawbridge, Head of Member Services, Learning and Performance Institute
“There are many motivational speakers on the circuit who leave behind them just a short lived glow and then there are the subject matter pragmatic, passionate presenters who can potentially change the long term way their audience thinks or operates. I’d put Andy Lopata in the latter category. ”
Trevor Salomon – Director, Corporate Marketing, IFS
“Andy has a can do and flexible attitude and is happy to develop and shape the content in line with the clients changing needs. Feedback from participants on Andy's workshops has been consistently very positive. ”
Una Murphy, Manager BBC Careerlink
“"I was captivated by Andy's insightful and thought-provoking workshop. You could feel the energy in the room at the end. Several people commented that the event had changed their lives!" ”
Miranda Abraham, Chair, Women in Banking and Finance
“Andy, thanks again for making our Balance HK event a huge success. The audience gave you their undivided attention and you could hear a pin drop when you were speaking. I have never witnessed that before, with a room of 170+ people! ”
Maggie Suttie, Chair Balance Network, HSBC Hong Kong
“I would not be exaggerating in saying that last night was the most well received and successful event YEN London has had in over two years. ”
Jairo Jaramillo - Chairman, London Young Engineers Network
“I would recommend Andy to come and spend time with any team that wants to maximize the time of its busy people out in the market ”
Tomas Freyman, Partner, Valuations. BDO llp
“Several people were surprised to find out that Andy didn’t work in our sector as he related his knowledge so well and confidently, which was key to getting the audience to buy into his advice. ”
Suzanne Rowse, Director, British Boarding Schools Workshop
“In the pre-event correspondence, you were the most professional speaker we’ve ever had. By asking great questions as you did, it helped to make us more professional event organisers. ”
Jackie Barrie, Co-President, Professional Speaking Association South East England
“At each stage of the event from planning to delivery to follow up, Andy’s approach was extremely impressive. He spent time at the outset understanding us, the way we work and our key objectives and this continued with discussions with us in the run up to the event to shape the session to our needs. ”
Andrew Kelly, Director Human Capital Services, BDO llp
“Not only my individual life has had a total makeover after I met Andy, as a result of my personal improvement, the networks that I lead are now making a much bigger impact in the society. I can never thank Andy enough and would highly recommend him any time without hesitation. ”
Ruth Lau, Central Marketing, HSBC Private Bank
“Andy is really engaging and left the audience wanting more which is a rarity when you work in Finance! He is extremely professional and personable and it felt like Andy really knew the topics and had researched the audience. ”
Nicola Hradek, Co-Chair HSBC Balance Employee Network
“Andy's enthusiastic and interactive presentation at our National conference was very much appreciated by all and his series of workshops for my leadership team has been put to significant positive use. ”
Shona MacDonald, Business Director UK & Ireland, Wound Care. Molnlycke Health Care
“Andy is an energetic presenter who quickly captured our audience's attention. The content of his presentation was excellent and fostered lively commentary and questions. We will definitely have Andy back for another session and are looking for other ways to partner with him. ”
Jennifer Rademaker, Head of Strategy Development Europe, MasterCard

Why people feel uncomfortable giving referrals

Five Reasons Why People Don’t Like to Give You Referrals

1 – They don’t know you

One of the key foundations of a Champion, someone who’ll happily refer you, is trust. Trust in you and trust in the company you represent or product/service you offer.

Despite this, so many people ask for referrals from people they have only just met or have known for a brief period of time. You might get some short-term results but most people will be turned off just because you asked too quickly.

If people do give referrals at such an early stage, how much do they really mean it? If they are not sincere, people are far less likely to follow up or give strong quality connections. Without any understanding of your business or quality of service, the best you could hope for is a half-hearted introduction.

It may open a door for you slightly, but if they are genuinely willing to help someone they have just met, how much more powerful an introducer would they be once they have got to know you?

2 - They don’t know ‘WIIFM’

While there are people who will happily help anyone they meet from a purely altruistic motivation, most people need to know ‘WIIFM?’ (What’s in it for me?).

Don’t get me wrong, the natural assumption here is to believe that people are motivated by a financial reward for a successful referral. Some people are but many are just as likely to be demotivated by the promise of a commission.  They may feel that it somehow makes the passing of the referral dirty or be uncomfortable about profiting from putting two people together.

If you understand everyone in your network as individuals, you can be better placed to recognise what each person’s WIIFM is. It may be that they want the favour to be reciprocated, for others they simply want to know that they are recommending the best solution to friends, family or clients. Believe it or not, others may do so just because they like you and want you to succeed.

3 – The timing is wrong

One referral tactic taught in many traditional (for traditional, read ‘old-fashioned’) sales courses is to ask for referrals at the end of a sales or client review meeting. This is commonly known as the ‘Columbo Close’ after the famous TV detective and his catchphrase, “Just one more thing…”.

Even if you could collect referrals through this approach, the timing is completely wrong. Whether someone has just thanked you for doing something to help them (either as part of your commercial relationship or just as a favour), or you have spent time demonstrating how your services can overcome their issues, you have been focused on them.

Having spent time focusing on your prospects, to then switch the focus back to you at the last minute destroys the impact you have made and makes the other party feel uncomfortable.

I make this point whenever I run a referrals workshop or discuss referral strategy with a coaching client. I always ask them how comfortable they would feel if, after spending so much time focused on their business I suddenly turned around at the end and asked them for referrals. Not one person has told me that it would feel appropriate.

4 – They are worried about something going wrong

A fear of looking bad if something goes wrong deters a lot of people, particularly those who don’t have direct experience of your products or services, from passing referrals. This becomes a particularly sensitive issue if the potential referral is either to a key client or to a friend or family member of your Champion.

There are a couple of things you can do to make people feel more comfortable about passing referrals to you if this is a concern, apart from always making sure that you do an amazing job of course!

First of all, make sure that you communicate what is happening clearly and promptly to all parties at all times. Own the relationship and responsibility for making sure everyone is kept in the loop, even if things do look like they are not working out.

People can accept that introductions don’t always work out but are less easy to please if they get unpleasant surprises.

Secondly, allow people to pass ‘qualified referrals’. This is where your Champion qualifies the referral by explaining that they haven’t used your services themselves but feel that you ‘may be’ a good fit. Ultimately, they are explicitly clear that any decision to use your services is made by the prospect.

I often ask for feedback afterwards if I make such a referral, to help me when referring the same person again in future.

5 – You haven’t made it easy for them to do so

People will be happy to refer you if doing so isn’t hard work. If people have to think hard about who they need to refer you to, if they aren’t clear what to say to make the introduction or how to overcome the first objection, they won’t try hard to pass the referral.

Be clear about who you want to meet and why they would want to meet you. Step into the shoes of both your Champions and your prospect and understand what their conversation will look like.

I often write the referral email for my Champion, making it even easier for them to introduce me. They just have to copy, paste, personalise and press send.

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