October 21

Episode 93 – Virginia Muzquiz – The Referral Diva

In this episode of the Marketing Guides for Small Business Podcast, You’ll learn the benefits of Revving Up your referral programs!

Ken: Hey everybody. Welcome to Marketing Guides for Small Businesses Podcast. I’m really excited to have a special guest with us today, Virginia Muzquiz, who is also known as the Referral Diva.

So, welcome Virginia. 

Virginia: Hi. Thanks guys, so happy to be here. 

Ken: Yeah, as usual, I’m joined by Paul who works with Changescape, Ian and Jen who are in Canada. We’re really excited. Virginia has become a master connector and helps businesses build their referral networks. She’s the founder of Master Connectors and has a referral on demand program, which teaches solo entrepreneurs how to turn their network into a referral generation machine.

Virginia, I know you’ve been doing this for quite a while now. You’ve worked with a ton of entrepreneurs, so we’re really excited to learn about your experiences and hear your recommendations for our viewers and listeners to find out how they can leverage the power of connection and referral marketing. 

Virginia: Thanks. 

Ken: Yeah. So Paul, let’s get started with you. Paul would give you the first question. 

Paul: Welcome, Virginia. Thanks for joining us. 

Virginia: Thanks, Paul. 

Paul: Talking about referrals and a lot of businesses don’t have referral programs. Why do you think that is? 

Virginia: First of all, I wanna make a real distinction between a referral program and what I do, because I personally don’t think that a lot of referral programs that are out there actually work, which would be why a lot of companies don’t do them, right?

Because if I tell you, if you refer me a friend, I’ll give $25 off your next bill, or I’ll give you a $25 gift card to a restaurant. It’s not really a big incentive for someone to put their reputation on the line for someone. So I ain’t doing that for Direct TV. I’m sorry, but I’m just not. I think that kind of a program, there needs to be something really meaningful to be able to do it, and you really have to know what your customers want, and there’s a whole lot of market research and a whole lot of stuff that you would have to do to be able to gift your customers something that would make them refer you. And that what I do is I teach people how to become a referral hub. So I’m not really so concerned about whether or not my clients refer me, although they do, my clients refer me right and left. That’s about their customer experience, and I don’t have to bribe them for that as long as I have a great customer experience they tell people about it. And Ken, you’re on my business network international meeting today, and half of the visitors that were there today were all my clients and my customers, and three of them were just doing testimonials for me during a keynote. That’s one side of the equation. The other side of the equation is do you have a circle, a tight knit circle of like-minded professionals who work with your target market, but do something significantly different or do something similar, but the overlap isn’t substantial.

Maybe there’s a 20% overlap in what we do, but that 80% we can start referring back and forth. That’s what I teach people to do is how to build those relationships with people that have a whole bench, if you will,of your ideal client who will eventually have your problem and need a solution, and then that person can refer you.

Jen: What kind of results can this well curated, leveraged network produce? It sounds like we have to be very careful with the kind of network that we’re cultivating to then go out and have these kind of results for us. Can you talk about that?

Virginia: Yeah, I can. It takes a little time to learn the system, but the vast majority of my clients who follow the system are methodical about doing it, have seen upticks in their top line revenue of anywhere from $50,000 to a quarter of a million dollars.

I had a physical therapist, when they started working with me, they were doing about 60 grand a year and just burning themselves out, running themselves ragged. After the year of working with me, did $267,000 in revenue. Got a new office, got some rooms that he could rent out, so now the office pays for itself because the rooms are rented out to people.

That’s a significant uptick as well because you take whatever the top line revenue is and then you start reducing expenses. He was able to get a full-time assistant that serves all the people in the building and go home and do woodworking and be with his wife like he likes. So results are monetary, but more important to me, their lifestyle results.

So with all of my clients, we talk first about why are you working? Because most of us are trapped in the work, eat, entertainment, sleep cycle. We get up, we work, we buy a bunch of stuff to impress a bunch of people that we don’t even like. Clean it, dust it, do some more chores, right? So we could do work, buy stuff, chores, then we eat, then we watch tv, then we go to bed.

And that’s not really the lifestyle that most people want to live, but it’s the lifestyle that we find ourselves getting stuck in. And so the real benefit of building a powerful network is the ability to share your lifestyle dreams with people, and have people get excited about that and wanna help you achieve your dreams.

Ken: A completely different perspective, I think, than a lot of people are gonna have. So I’m really excited to explore more about this. I’m asking for a friend here on this question. Do you have to be an extrovert on the perspective network. 

Virginia: No. Let’s talk about extroversion and introversion. The myth of I introversion is that introverts lack confidence that introvert are awkward that introverts don’t like people, that introverts are super shy. It’s not necessarily true. Those things do happen, but they happen to extroverts too. The difference is how we like to have conversations and how we like to get energy and recharge ourselves. So introverts typically like to have meaningful conversations.

Not superficial ones, and they leave time alone with a book or in the woods. They just, they need time away from the noise and the hustle and bustle and the minutia in order to recharge. So an introvert that wants to go out and network really needs to have a plan for going to go network and meet with all these people and collaborate with all these people.

And then I’m going to use this time to recharge and refuel. There has to be a plan in place. Extroverts, on the other hand, the myth is that they’re all outgoing and they’re super confident and they just love people. I’m an introverted extrovert. I don’t like meaningless drivel. I love being in the woods.

I love all those things, but I can also gain energy when I’m in a crowd. I feel like that extroverts have is, they know about a lot of people. They know who a lot of people are, but they don’t often slow down long enough to take the time to get to know who the people are. And because they don’t take that time, because they’re very quick and because they talk a lot, they tend to forget to listen and ask questions and be curious and get to know people with the necessary depth for those people to want to support them and refer them.

Ken: And your program helps people do self-analysis to really figure out how to take advantage of the way they naturally are, which is really cool. 

Virginia: And one of the things that I’ve been told, so I’m tooting my horn, but it was already tooted by somebody else, is that one of the big differences between my coaching programs and my training programs and a lot of other online gurus, if you will, is I don’t think there’s one way.

Okay, There’s a highway, right? There’s Highway 70 and it goes east west, and we’re not gonna make Highway 70 go north. Sometimes it turns that way, but we still are trying to go west, right? But there is one highway. But what car you drive on the highway, how fast you drive on the highway, which rest stops you take on the way. What detours you decide to engage in. Those are all very personal. 

And so I have a pathway and a system that tends to be really appealing to process oriented people, right? Because they’re like, Yay, a system. And then people that are a little more on the people side, less process. I like, oh, thank God, a system and I can manage it.

But how you do it, how you implement it, how you expand your network, how you make those connections, all of those things. I tend to have options available. You need to get this thing accomplished and here are five ways. Pick the one that’s best for you. Here’s the manual, here’s how we do that.

For me, it really is all about living life by design and living in accordance with your own God given wiring. Because no one is ever going to make me file things in a notebook. It’s too much work, right? You gotta get the notebook out, you gotta open up the rings, and then you gotta find the little, whole punchy things. You gotta line it up. You can only do four pages at a time. No, I’ll just put it in a pile. So if you wanna organize me, you’re gonna have to go with my pile mentality in order for me to be successful. And that’s how I feel about networking. We have to go with your own internal compass and make it work for you.

So it’s a lot more customized than people might think. 

Ken: I took sales training. I think it was a company that I got connected to from HubSpot, and one of the things that I thought was just really, truly fascinating from the sales program. I can’t even remember the name of it off the top of my head, is that our bias in how we sell is dictated on how we want to buy.

I’m a huge fan. I’m also a philosophy major, so I’m a huge fan of self discovery and self-analysis. Your approach really resonates with me. 

Virginia: I’m glad, you should come to my workshop. 

Ian: This leads really well into the next question. How do you help business owners and sales people determine how to be most effective at getting referrals? Sounds like you have a frame. 

Virginia: Do you have all day? First of all, they need to understand that referrals is a matter of influence. It’s how much influence can you build and influence is built by know and trust, right? It’s the whole know and trust factor. So are you taking time to get to know people, to find out what it is that they are trying to accomplish in their life?

Again, this is for me, if I’m gonna have a conversation, I don’t really wanna know about your business yet. I wanna know what are your hopes? What are your dreams? What are your aspirations? What is your business for? What are you trying to accomplish? Cause if you tell me you’re trying to save the whales, I’m all in.

Let’s save some whales together and my referrals become more about what you’re up to and my excitement for who you are, what you wanna accomplish, the legacy you wanna leave, the impact that you wanna make. I’m more interested in that, and then the referrals will happen because I want to help you make an impact.

I don’t really wanna help you make money. I get that we often measure impact and influence and by our income, but I’m more interested in getting to that first. So that’s one thing is I think we need to listen more. Ivan Meiser says, you have two ears and one mouth. Use them in correct proportions. So we really do need to ask more questions, be more curious.

Another thing I think is really important is that we are hardwired a certain way, and we do have certain subconscious programming and certain conversations that run in the back of our head, which causes us to judge people, and it also causes us to dislike people based on what they say or they do because they trigger memories that were unpleasant for us. 

And so I do think emotional eq, that whole emotional intelligence piece, we’re gonna be out there and we’re gonna be building relationships with people. We’ve got to constantly be working on our emotional intelligence and getting to the heart of the stories that we tell ourselves, and being able to distinguish between that’s a feeling or that’s a gut, like that’s an intuition, or this is reality.

Because reality is more important than anything we think or we feel. And oftentimes we get caught up in that subconscious programming. So there is a little bit of that gets outed at some point if you’re in any coaching program. But I think what’s most important to know is that not all connections are made are born equal.

You’re gonna meet some people that are what I call algorithmic. It’s like somebody says, Do you know a HubSpot expert? And I think maybe Ken. They asked and I think about Ken period. So that’s algorithmic if nobody asks, I don’t think about Ken. An archeologist, that’s the second sort of genre of people that you meet out there.

Archeologists are gonna say something like, I don’t know, but let me see what I can dig up. And they’re gonna go look in their business cards, they’re gonna go in their LinkedIn, they’re gonna dig around and then they’ll find something or they won’t. What I teach my students is to become referral alchemists.

So I teach them referral alchemy. And alchemy is the very secret, archaic art of turning your network into gold. Okay? And what an alchemist does, is an alchemist can leverage a network and leverage their influence to make things happen. An example would be, on my podcast, I ask everyone that is a guest who they might wanna know. And one of my guests said they wanted to meet John Lee Dumas.

So I’m guessing you guys know who JLD is, right? 

Ken: Oh yeah. 

Virginia: So I go back and I think, you know what? I do have a connection to JLD because he was in business network international. His name is Zach Hesterberg, and Zach actually said, Oh my God, I could totally get JLD on your podcast. So JLD reaches back out to me and he says, would love to be on your podcast, just need you to know I only do seven minute interviews. So I book ten minutes. And I was such a brand new baby podcaster that I got intimidated and I was,Thanks, I’ll let you know when I’m ready. And I literally turned down JLD.

So I called Zach and, Hey Zach, I’m the dumb you know what, that turned down JLD when you made that connection, but I have somebody that wants to meet him. Can you make that happen? And Zach says I don’t really have a connection with him anymore. So I didn’t drop it there. I said, who do you have a connection with that does have an intimate connection with JLD?

I gotta get this guy to JLD’s house. He just moved to Puerto Rico, JLD’s in Puerto Rico. So Zach says, I’ll call you back. So Zach goes and calls around and he finds somebody who’s Yeah, JLD and I host a monthly dinner party at his house, and so I got a guest for this dinner party. Here’s who he is. Here’s why he is cool. So Zach introduces Rob to the friend. The friend invites Rob to the party. Rob meets John Lee Dumas. John Lee Dumas says, Oh my gosh, you need to meet such and such. Rob goes over and meets so and does a six figure deal. Alchemy. I turned, we turned into a six figure deal.

It took a little work, six figures takes a little work. 

Paul: So let me ask, obviously you’re gonna have to go out and network to build a referral network. So what are some of the biggest mistakes people make when they network? 

Virginia: There’s a lot of them. Confusing selling with connecting, So I really love that one. One time I was going to some of you St. Louis, know goBRANDgo. Brandon Dempsey and Derek Weber, they were having a little coffee house thing and they were having speakers come in once a month to this thing and Brandon asked me to come in and speak about referrals. So I park down there in the city and I walk in on all the little brownstones and whatever, in my heels and my assistant is behind me, and we walk up into the steps of the brownstone, the door whips open before I even get to it, and I start walking up the steps and this business card attached to a hand. There was no person, there was just a hand and a business card comes flying out the door at me, knocks me off my balance. I land on my assistant who happened to be a guy, so that was really good. He’s, Okay roll off gracefully, and I don’t know how to do that right? So I’m a bloody mess. I go in and I go into the bathroom and all of the business cards from this guy, it was, I hate to say it, it was a charter communications business card.

Can’t even remember the guy’s name, but they were all in the trash can. So I would say that’s a mistake. Because they may not be doing much good in your pocket or on your desk, but they’re definitely doing you harm if everyone’s throwing them in this openly, throwing them in the circular file. Again, it’s that sense of, it’s all about me. I need a client. I need you to give me a referral. I need, here’s my card, so let me know if you know anybody who wants my stuff and do you want my stuff? And that’s just, it’s a huge mistake. So when you’re networking, number one priority is to connect. It’s to initiate a relationship. It’s the very first baby step.

Initiating that relationship and then invite them out for coffee, then invite them out for lunch, then invite them out. It’s kinda like dating. You need to establish yourself. For those people already doing that. Like I already am. I’m developing relationships. I’m having lots of one to one conversations, cups of coffee, and I’m buying all the coffee.

I’m buying all the lunches, I’m connecting all the people I know. Like I asked Ivan Meisner one time, I’m doing all the giving, when does the gaining start? Cause being a givers gain philosophy. Yeah. And he laughed and he said if you’re not gaining, you’re doing it wrong. And I said, Okay, school me on that.

And so really the message was you gotta stop over giving and under receiving. And that is, you need to know what you want from people. So you need to know what you’re trying to accomplish, what resources, knowledge, and networks you have, and what resources and knowledge and networks you need. And then you pursue people who have what you need, and then you create a reciprocal agreement and you make sure that ask and that you control that conversation. That’s a skillset that needs to be learned, understood, practiced and mastered. And that’s one of the things I love about the community that I’ve built, is they get to practice with each other, but miraculously as they’re practicing, you know what? I actually know somebody that would be really helpful for you.

So by the end they’re giving each other connections and referrals in a safe environment. It is something that you have to learn how to do, but I think that’s it. It’s lack of clarity and lack of confidence. 

Jen: Yeah. There also seems to be a trust and authority in order to become referral worthy. There’s a lot of invisible things that have to happen here.

So how does someone build the trust and authority as they’re building the network? 

Virginia: Again, I think it’s really about being a giver from the get go, and we can give in really interesting ways. So just think about belonging to a network. Make yourself indispensable to the organizer. If I’m indispensable to the organizer, what the organizer does is promote me.

Give you an example. I was on the marketers cruise, which is a, it’s a great community of people and we get together once a year on a ship. We booze and schmooze and cut deals. It’s a great networking event. It’s like a business network international meeting for seven days, one minute presentations and keynote presentations.

And Covid was real hard on the organizer. His name is Lou Edwards. And we were just really appreciative that he was able to get us on a boat and get us back together after the whole Covid thing. I know his wife is a foodie and his love language is words of affirmation. So the night before we got on the boat, I happened to be at Universal at a restaurant called Tooth Sums Chocolate Emporium.

And I bought Phyllis these really cool heart shaped truffles cuz I know that she just loves that stuff. And then I passed around a book to all of the marketers cruise participants to write a love note to Lou. Book was called Love Notes to Lou, and so Phyllis got her truffles and Lou got this Love Notes to Lou book. He did not stop talking about me for seven days on that boat. 

Virginia, and we’re gonna give Virginia that light and we’re gonna do this. There was another moment where people were giving their 62nd introductions. They were at a mic, but the clock, the timer was behind them and the timer would go off and they were just talking and they would not shut up.

But it wasn’t because they were being disrespectful, they really didn’t know their time was up. So I pulled a chair up in front of the people and when they got to 10 seconds, I just went 10, 9, 8, did my fingers, and then I gave them a time sign, and then we were on time. And that Lou was really grateful for that because we all got out on time.

So it’s make yourself indispensable to the person who knows everybody in the network and they’ll introduce you to the people in the network. At a registration role being the master connector in an organization. And I think one of the things where people loo se influence and authority is that they join an organization but they don’t serve.

They go, they show up to get and then they may give to individuals, but the deal is if you want influence you need to serve in a public way. So I think about people in our network, like Brian McRae, for example. This guy’s a mortgage lender, which is mortgage lenders, and he put together this thing called Mastermind St. Louis, and they read a book every month, and then he brings an author in to speak and it’s free. It’s totally free, anybody can go for free. Then he has sponsors and you can buy a table. There are different things that you can do, but it’s free. So for the longest time, he just paid for it out of his pocket and just did it for free.

And now Brian McRae is one of the most giving humans on the planet, and he is one of the most referred mortgage lenders on the planet because he’s built this network that has nothing to do with give me business, and has everything to do with let me serve this business community. And I think serving in a big way is a way to create more influence and more impact.

And once you have influence and impact, your income follows. It’s not the other way around. It’s not income. Then influence and impact. It’s influence, then impact, then income. And people have that backwards. 

Ken: Yeah. A lot of what you just talked about ties in really well to something I wanted to dig in a little bit more.

And that is Business Network International, business international. I know Ian and I have been a member of various chapters for several years. The thing that I love about it, you’ve used this word, which means a lot to me, several times throughout this podcast, and that is system. Marketing is a system and every element of what you’re doing in marketing should be systematized.

Virginia: Absolutely. 

Ken: Business Network International is a great repeatable system. It’s proven. It’s got a formula that just really works. Just elaborate a little bit more if you can on why you think that’s so effective? How does somebody get started with business network international? And I think you’ve already talked about it a lot, which is you’ve gotta give and you’ve gotta help be really somebody who helps run your local chapter. Don’t just show up. Don’t just pass out individual referrals to a couple of people. But can you talk a little bit more about that?

Virginia: Business Network International is a global organization. They have almost 300,000 members in 75 countries around the world organized in close to 11,000 chapters. This has been going on for 37 years.

It’s proven. I had the privilege of winning a trip to Big Bear, California to stay in Ivan Meisner’s lodge, the guest lodge there for a week with Ivan Meisner, Mike Macedonia, and some other folks. And I’ve learned a whole lot in that time. But one of the things that I would say, Ivan why don’t we, blah, blah, blah, blah.

And he would walk over to a file cabinet in his office, bring a folder out and say, we tried that in 1999 and it didn’t work. And I’d say let’s do this, this would be so much better. And he goes back to the file cabinet. Cause I tried that in 2002 and it doesn’t work. At one point he looks at me and he says, you are a terrible franchisee.

You’re horrible because you just wanna change the system. Stop changing my system. My system is proven. It’s tried. It’s true, it works, right? And then we just drank a lot and I just shut up after a while cuz he was getting irritated with me. So the thing is that it’s proven and people wanna change it cuz we’re entrepreneurs so everybody gets really great ideas.

So to all of you who are in Business Network International, find new and exciting ways to recognize one another, celebrate one another, and find each other opportunities, but leave the freaking system alone. The meeting agendas, the meeting agenda for a reason. So it works because Ivan spent his whole life proving it, optimizing it.

There were some changes that were made as Ivan transitioned out that we were a little dog eared on that, and now they’re going back to the way it was like, Oh why change anything? It works. And I think having a process is something that gives us hope. And a lot of people that are like me, like super ADHD and entrepreneurial visionary, like we wanna change everything, but the structure is really what gives us freedom.

When you know exactly what you need to do to get a result, and then you do that thing and you don’t get the result, you can do one of two things. Just be the thing doesn’t work. Or if you’re smart, you say, Huh, I wonder how I’m not optimizing my utilization of this system because the system is working. I say to people all the time, somebody in your line of work somewhere is crushing it today in this organization.

Someone is crushing it and you’re not. But that can’t be the system if there are people that are in digital marketing crushing it in Poland, crushing it in Ireland, crushing it in Phoenix, Arizona. And you’re not crushing it here. The system has to work because other people are crushing it. It’s how we utilize the system, right?

If you give me a bicycle and tell me there’s a bike and I put the bike on my back and I carry it, and I think this bike doesn’t make anything easier, it makes it a ton times harder. You’re like, No, dude, you’re supposed to get on it and pedal. What are you carrying it around for? So I think that’s why is that structure gives us the opportunity for greater freedom.

But one thing I did notice about Business Network International members, is they tend to flail a little bit sometimes in the implementation of the structure, and that’s where master connectors takes people to the next level. So I’m saying like, who, what do you wanna be doing and have? What are you really earning this money for?

Then we go into what are the things that you need in order to build your business that you don’t have? And then there are a lot of people who think they have nothing to give. Why would I talk to Ken Tucker or Jen? Why would they wanna talk to me? I’m nobody. And I say, you’re really somebody or God wouldn’t have put you on the planet.

So make a list of your assets, make a list of all the things that you know how to do, all the books you’ve ever read, all the skills that you have, and you’ll find that you have these commonalities with people and that you can help them. And maybe Jen and I don’t do business together. Maybe she has an unruly puppy and I have dog training advice for her, right? Because I’ve grew up with dogs my whole life. Now she loves me. She doesn’t do weird things and chew things and whatever. And if the opportunity comes to refer me, she’s gonna think of me because every time she looks at her well-behaved puppy she thinks,Virginia taught me that.

Has nothing to do with business. So I think structure gives us that opportunity to go out and talk to people when we might not normally talk to people. And then if we have structured, I know what I want, I know what I have, I know what I need. I have good messaging, I understand my competencies, and I’m growing in my competencies, all of those things.

I think it makes a huge difference. 

Ian: Yeah. That’s awesome. I love that Business Network International gives you, it’s almost like it’s a preformed sport like basketball, right? You have a court to play on, you know what the rules are, and you have systems that can work really well to help you be successful in there. One of the questions though I had for you, Virginia, is in the marketing world, we talk a lot with our clients about niching down. There’s value in that. There’s efficiencies and effectiveness, greater effectiveness that you can get when you niche down. Maybe talk a little about that, of how that connects with an effective referral system. 

Virginia: Check it out. Referrals is a form of marketing. Instead of using Facebook or emails or videos, I use people, real live people like I did today in my Business Network International meeting, right?

I brought my real live people on and they buzzed for me. So the key in all of this is, yes, you have to niche down because if I just asked you to run to your refrigerator and get me something. You’d be stymied. If I asked you to bring me anything except mustard, cuz I really hate mustard. You’re still stymied because I told you what I don’t want, not what I do want, but if I ask you to go get me a vanilla yogurt, you have one or you don’t.

And so I think what most people think when they’re out in the referral marketing world is that if I don’t say anybody who, or everybody who I’m gonna miss out on some level of opportunity and the truth is that no one’s brain can respond to anybody and everybody in something. You get nothing. So when you’re very specific, people go, Oh yeah.

So I’ll give you, this is hilarious. So I’ve been asking for referrals to coaches for months. In my Business Network International chapter today, I did my presentation and the coach that I had was a speaking and communications coach, and then I said, I’d like the name of a business coach, life coach, or health coach in your network.

And the chat blew up. They’re like, Oh, I know a health coach. I’ve been asking for coaches for months, but coach didn’t mean anything. Too big a concept, and when I niched it down, I said, These are all coaches. They’re like, Oh, I get it. The thing is, if you’re gonna build a quarter of a million dollars worth of revenue by referral, and let’s just say you’re selling a $2,500 program, you need a hundred people.

So go out and find a hundred health coaches and just focus on that and prove that you are the person that helps health coaches get the best of their great businesses. Independent financial advisors are awesome. I love them. And we can just focus on that. And what you wanna do is focus more about who you are.

Seth Godin, in his book Tribes talks about this, that you’re not really looking for a target. You’re looking for human beings that share your biases and your values, and that have similar experiences because they have similar experiences, talk each other and bring people into you. So that’s another which like attracts like.

And at the end of the day, when you’re out there and you want your clients to talk about you, you want them to be buzzing around in the same target market that you’re working on attracting. So that’s very helpful. The more you niche, the more your clients can refer you. 

Paul: Yeah. So Virginia, I think you’ve already talked about this a little bit, but what would you say to people that they go out, they network and they try and they say this doesn’t work.

Virginia: I would say they need a system because they’re doing it wrong and they’re living in what Stanley called the networking disconnect. And that’s when you go looking for clients. But no one in the room is looking to buy anything. If you stand in a chamber. and you step on the stage and you say, Okay, everybody to hold your list up high.

Everybody looks at you like what list? I’m like, the list you prepared before you came here. And typically the only list is a shopping list. I have a list. I go, what’s on here with lettuce, tomatoes, mayonnaise. That is great. Do we have a grocer or food wholesaler here in the room because she needs to meet you.

But other than that, nobody’s need some web design and I might like to get a little insurance. Think I’ll go to the chamber. I think I’ll go to the chamber meeting looking for my insurance agent, nobody does that. That’s the problem is going to sell and not using a system and a plan and going to connect instead to initiate relationships and connect with people as opposed to going to get something, get business.

It’s just not effective. 

Jen: Virginia, you talked a little bit previously in the episode about referral alchemy. You had a great story about that. So how do we create that for ourselves? 

Virginia: It’s a huge process. So number one is you have to be fairly committed to adding new people into your sphere. Okay, and I’ll jump into this.

I have a system, it used to be called the Five A System, really sexy name, but we decided there’s a sixth A. The first A is audience. Those are people that know who you are, but you don’t know who they are. That’s audience. So those are the people that come up, Oh man, you’re Virginia. I’ve heard all about you.

That’s cool. They’re watching me, but I don’t know them. If they get on my radar, I can get their contact information, they become an acquaintance. And a lot of people think that they should be getting business referrals from their acquaintances, but their acquaintances, all you know is their contact information.

You don’t even know if you want to do any kind of business or place your reputation or do you really want their referrals, cuz they don’t really know you either. So they give you really weird stuff that is actually a waste of time. So what I do is, when I make an acquaintance, I say, I’d love to get to know you better.

Let’s have a cup of coffee, and I’m going to try to turn them into what I call an associate, which is level three. So an associate is someone that I’ve met with and I understand them. I understand their business. I know what their needs, their wants, and their desires are. Ken, you mention you’ve been through sales training.

So I actually do a gap conversation with every acquaintance that I meet. So I wanna know, tell me about you. Tell me about your hopes. Tell me about your dreams. Tell me where you are with that right now. Why are those things important to you? If you achieve your dreams, what impact will that have on you, on your family, on the community, and why is all that so important to you?

So now I really know what’s going on, and then I can simply say, what kind of support could I offer you? What’s missing? What would be the one thing right now that if you had it would make everything else easier? And then I try to get them that it might be a book, it might be a podcast episode, it might be a connection.

It might be, Oh, I can refer you, right? Because I know somebody who can do that. So that’s what I do as an associate, and I’m waiting for them to say to me, Oh my gosh, we spent this entire time talking about me. I didn’t learn anything about you. We should get together again. And I wanna know about you. If they don’t ask me that question, if I’m vibing with them, like I really dig them and I love what they’re up to and I love what they’re about. I say, Oh my gosh, we ran out of time. Would it be okay if we got together again and I could share with you a little bit about me and my family and my business? You’d have to be a major jerk, right? But sometimes I say this was great. I’m so glad to get to know you. If an opportunity arises for you, I will make sure to think of you, but I just leave them in the associate pool and I don’t worry about it. No matter how sexy their network is, no matter how much I think they could be a great referral partner, they’ve demonstrated to me, they’re not that into me and they’re not a person who’s going to give, they’re not a person who’s going to ask those questions.

So when we get to the end of that associate conversation, if we’ve both had a chance to share and there’s a vibe. Then I usually say we should find a way to cross promote or find some way that we can help each other. I have a podcast. Would you be willing to listen to an episode and subscribe, rate and review?

And if you send me the review, I’d love to put that on a podcast page and feature you. Ken, just listened to my podcast and this is what he had to say. Just be able to use that in social media. What would you like me to do for you? And it usually revolves around, you can be a guest on my podcast or let’s do a live stream, or I’d love you to listen to my podcast and do the same thing for me.

And then we look through all the episodes. And which one would you recommend for me? We start that journey. When people follow through, I usually go first. So I usually say, Okay, I did it. I did that thing you asked me to do Ian, how’s it coming along? How’s your end coming along? And then I hope that he says I’m doing it. I did it. Whatever. 

If they deliver on that, then I’m willing to be a referral partner. Now, I’m willing to give you connections because here’s the thing. If you only talk about yourself for an hour and you won’t follow through on a simple request like, like my Facebook page or listen to a podcast episode. I really don’t know that I trust you to take great care of someone that I refer.

I really don’t. I’m gonna be afraid that all you’re gonna do is talk about yourself, talk about your product, talk about talk, and they’re not gonna get served. So that’s where a lot of time, I think a lot of the over giving  and under receiving is that we start giving way too soon, like dating the wrong way. We do too much too soon and end up feeling burned at the end. We wake up with regrets. And so I say a big key in this is take it slow be more methodical, be more precise, and move people up. At the top of my system, there are two kinds of referral partners, one that I call a brand ambassador. Those are people who are likely to have a big network full of connectors for you, but not a lot of clients.

So they’re sending you to connectors to people that can bring you clients. And I call those ambassadors and it’s about an 80 20, 80% of the time, Hey, I just met somebody. They’d be a great JV partner for you. They’d be a great referral partner for you. 20% percent of the time they trip over a good client, a good opportunity.

On the flip side, you have what I call affiliates, your brand affiliates and your brand affiliates are people that do business with your tribe on a regular basis. So they’re seeing a potential client 3, 5, 7 times a week having sales conversations. They have your questions, they have a few questions that they ask for you in every sales conversation, particularly in the ones where, people are I’m not ready to start with you. Then they’re starting to ask some other questions. Where do you wanna start then? And let me get you to the right person to do that. So there are people that are willing to work on your behalf with those clients and ask those questions, and that typically turns out to be about 80%, they give you clients and 20% they find you connectors cuz they have referral partners and connectors also that are giving, feeding them clients and they’re willing to introduce you to their hub. 

Ian: That’s fantastic. Virginia I’m taking lots of notes here just so you know. I was gonna ask you a question, but I think you’ve answered it already.

One of the intriguing things you’ve said that I want to actually take and apply, especially in my Business Network International network and my business relationships. You talked several times about sharing your lifestyle goals, your hopes, your dreams. How can you do that sensitively, or that’s not even the right word, but effectively in relationships like that?

Virginia: Okay. So a lot of it depends on behavioral styles, right? So again, we talked about emotional intelligence. So I think if you have not been a student of, I don’t care what it is, DISC, Anygram, Myers & Briggs whatever. DISC is easy cuz it’s four, right? Yeah. And you can get a general knowledge. There’s a great book, Ivan Meisner wrote it with Tony Alessandra called Room Full of Referrals and how to network for them.

It’s great book. Absolutely worth reading to get an overview of the behavioral styles. So typically people that are what we call drivers, so I’m a pretty high driver, but that’s not my primary. Drivers wanna talk business. And the way you know you’re in front of a driver is they talk fast and they talk about results and achievement.

So you wanna ask a question that’s in alignment with that. What kind of results are you trying to achieve in your business? And what kind of results are you working on getting in your business? And what will that help you achieve in your life? What are you after? So that’s gonna get a driver to share that.

If I just say to them, tell me about your family, they’re gonna be like, why, or something like, I’m married, I have two kids and a grandkid. Now can we talk about business? Why do you need to know that? They’re gonna give you some sort of an answer like that. Now, folks that are more process oriented, we call those the examiners. They really like their process. They really like their detail.

Sometimes they get a little caught in the weeds. You don’t really wanna talk personal stuff with them because they don’t wanna talk. I asked somebody one time and I taught a class called Room Full of Referrals, and I went to the token one. Examiner cuz they don’t go out much. The token examiner in the room and I said, why won’t you tell me about your family?

They said, cause it’s none of your business. Cause it’s just none of your business really annoyed. They’re very private, right? So they wanna talk about people. And again, so you say, tell me about your business. How can I help you achieve things? And they are more likely not to wanna talk about it. If you’re asking ’em, tell me about your hopes and your dreams, cuz they really don’t frame it that way.

They frame it in terms of why is what you’re doing meaningful in your life. Why is your business meaningful for you? How does it fit in with other things that you do in your life? On the flip side, you’ve got your people people. So that’s me. I’m a high eye. Woohoo. We talk fast. We love people. Carmen, Miranda, I just, I think about that dog in the movie Up where he, hi my master, gimme this collar so I could talk to humans.

I said, squirrel, those are your high eyes and they need to be corralled a little bit. And they go off on tangents and you just ask them. So what are your hopes and your dreams? What are you doing to change the world? They’re inspirational, influential, they’re changing the world. What are you doing to change the world?

That’s what high eyes are all about. We’re changing the world and taking names, and then you’ve got your nurturers. So your high eyes are promoters. They’re the ones that will promote the heck out of you. They don’t really know what they’re saying, so you really have to teach ’em, cuz otherwise they’ll make stuff up.

The examiners won’t promote you unless you give them a script. If you give me a script, I will memorize it and I will say it to everyone you tell me to say it to. They’re the best referral partners ever when they have a process. High eyes, don’t give a rip about your process, and they’ll make shit up.

Sorry. Don’t make stuff up all the time. They’ll make stuff up. They’re the fun ones and they wanna talk to you a lot and tell you all about themselves. The nurturers wanna talk about their families. Tell me about you? Is a great question. So tell me about you? And any one of them, drivers will tell you that they’re gonna achieve stuff.

Examiners will tell you about their business. Promoters will tell you about themselves, and nurturers will tell you about their family. So tell me about you? What would you like me to know about you? And that’s a, probably a really good way, but you really need to know who they are and how they’re wired to be able to ask those questions.

So I would say become a student of that and really understand what vocabulary is gonna be pertinent to each one of those, which is interesting is something that we, I teach in my referrals on demand system. And we talk about DISC, we write separate emails for each one of those separate scripts. We teach our referral partners if this is how you know who you’re sitting in front of.

And then we do have a letter of introduction that is actually written to get results from the way it’s written, appeals to the styles. 

Ian: Very cool. Thank you.

Ken: Virginia. I wanna give you an opportunity to talk a little bit about all that you have to offer. I know you’ve got some online courses and I know you’ve got a big three day, I call it an intensive, I don’t know if that’s what you call it, but a three day event coming called Get Connected Live.

In St. Louis in person, but you can also connect by Zoom. 

Virginia: It’s hybrid. 

Ken: Yeah. So talk a little bit about those and how can people find out more about you and also any of the programs and events that you have coming up. 

Virginia: So my favorite way for people to connect with me is to go to LinkedIn. If you go to LinkedIn and look up Virginia Muzquiz and then connect with me and message me. I always answer those messages.

So that is my favorite place to connect with people. My least favorite place to connect with people is on Facebook. If I don’t know you and you send me a friend request, I’m probably not gonna answer that because I don’t know you. But on LinkedIn, I’ve really never been, ooh, you’re so pretty. I’ve never had that happen on LinkedIn, so I feel really safe over there. So LinkedIn’s great. I do have a website, it’s masterconnectors.com. My suspicion is that Ken and I are gonna be doing some analysis of that website someday soon, cuz it’s my version of me. But, and then Get Connected Live. It’s so super much fun.

It’s three days. We start at 10:00 AM central time because we have people on the Pacific. I try not to start much later than that because we have people over in Europe that are going long into the night. It really is an opportunity to spend three days implementing this referral process in a way that gets you connected with people, creates community, and makes you some money potentially in the workshop when you are on Zoom.

We have both a basic ticket and a VIP experience. The VIP experience also includes a mastermind the day before. So there’s a mastermind evening, and then we do a cocktail party. But it’s really funny. So you get assigned to somebody and they get you on FaceTime, and then you get to network with them.

Oh my gosh. You gotta network with Ian and then they hand their phone over to Ian so you can network with somebody. So it’s pretty funny. I have figured out a way for people to actually open network virtually. And then I have some of the big top experts out in the online marketing sphere come in and drop what we call knowledge bombs.

10 minute, 10 minute. They teach on one micro topic. It’s a micro teaching, and they’re really super valuable and you get to be in a really relaxed environment with some really cool people. And if you come live, there’s only one kind of ticket. Everybody goes, VIP, in that ticket is included. All of your meals, just everything for the day.

Except we don’t do breakfast cuz it starts at 10 o’clock and we don’t do dinner cuz we end at six. But everything between 10 and six, we hydrate you, we feed you and we take great care of you throughout that. So you can go to getconnectedlive.com or masterconnectors.com/get-connected to check that.

And I do that a couple of times a year. So if you don’t get in this time, you can get in the fall. 

Ken: Yeah, and I’ve got those up on the screen as well. I just created a short link to fit on the screen. Yeah. Virginia, this has been awesome. I’ve known you for a long time.

Virginia: You’ve been in my audience for a while, huh?

Ken: I have, yeah. And now I’m excited to be able to work with you every week through our Business Network International chapter. That’s really exciting. And I think you’ve got just so much great knowledge to share with people. I talk to a lot of people. I do digital marketing. Digital marketing is not for everybody. Certain businesses, they just don’t need it.

You talk about independent financial advisors, they’ve got so many regulations. It’s such a pain in the butt for them to be able to do anything online. But the best thing they can always possibly do and most businesses, probably one of the very best things that almost any business can do is know how to build referrals and work with people and build that tribe like you’ve talked about. So I’ll leave it up to you if you wanna say any last words. 

Virginia: I just really wanna encourage people because people that are just starting out, or people that are in the mid five figure to six figure range as solo entrepreneurs and you dream of being online and you dream of the digital marketing where you just put out Facebook ads and go to sleep, and tomorrow morning you wake up and there’s all this money in your PayPal account.

Everybody dreams of that. It is more challenging to do it, and if you’re trying to do it on your own, you’re missing the boat. You need to go talk to somebody like Ken, because doing it on your own isn’t gonna work. But more likely, if you can build your business by referral, you can generate that cash flow that makes it easy to write Ken a check.

So I’m like the person that grows ’em up and hands ’em over. And if they say I can’t afford digital marketing, then referral marketing is the way to market. But you’ve got to market, you’ve gotta market somehow. And if you say referrals don’t work, so I’m throwing spaghetti on the wall in the digital space.

I’m telling you. You’re gonna do better if you get your message clarity, you get all of that stuff done. You have people speaking, you have an audience, then you go to digital marketing. The digital marketing pays dividends much more quickly. 

Ken: Awesome. Virginia, thanks so much. I really enjoyed it. I learned a lot as always whenever I talk with you.
So thanks so much. Yeah, it’s been a lot of fun and have a great rest of your day. 

Virginia: Thanks so much. I appreciate it. 

Ken: All right, thanks everybody for watching and listening. 

Virginia: We lost Jen somewhere.

Ken: Yeah. Jen had to drop she warned me that she was gonna have to drop just a little bit early.

Virginia: I miss her already.

Ken: I know, I know.

We have so much fun doing this. Paul and I have worked together for years. I’ve known Ian and Jen for, what, five or six years and we just have a blast doing this, getting together once a week and having these conversations and when get to have a guest like you, it just makes it even better.

So, thank you so much. 

Virginia: Oh, thanks so much. And Ken, if you don’t mind send me Paul and Ian’s information so that I can find them on LinkedIn and we can all get connected. 

Ken: Absolutely. I will do. All right. Thank you. 


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