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How to win new business through referral marketing – and save marketing $$

Hello it’s Scott Trevethan here from Scott Partners.  I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Michael Griffiths, the referral marketing guru as part of our Small Business Heroes program.  In this interview we discover how to use referral marketing as a way to increase sales and decrease your marketing spend.   A must watch, listen or read for every Small Business owner.


Important Links:

Small Business Heroes Facebook Group

Scott Partners Facebook Page (Please Like us)



Transcript of our Interview – 2nd May 2016

SCOTT: Hi, and welcome to the Small Business Heroes show, where we talk about everything to help your small business grow and prosper. I’m your host, Scott Trevethan, and today I’m talking to Michael Griffiths.

Michael has played many roles in life, starting as an elite-level basketball coach when he was only 10 years old. Since then, he’s been a teacher, property investor, and has owned and sold several businesses. Today, Michael is a prominent keynote speaker, author, connector, networker, and referral marketing guru.

After becoming despondent with the school system, Michael went out to create his first business in 2007 – an education center helping students one-on-one in their homes. In 2009, he followed his passion of helping others into marketing, and quickly became known as “the marketing guru” through providing real-life marketing solutions to businesses. That took Michael to his real love and passion: helping others connect and become better networkers to grow their referrals into their business.

Today, he helps businesses just like ours to generate more referrals and gain more clients through implementing a referral marketing system into their business. His motto in life is simple: look to help someone else before being asked to help.

Please welcome Michael Griffiths to the Small Business Heroes show. Michael, welcome. I’ve just told everyone who’s watching or listening out there today who you are. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about what you do?

MICHAEL: Fantastic. Thank you very much. I suppose the simple part is we help people generate more referrals, use their networks better, and grow their networks with the right people. We’ve got so many people around us that we just don’t tap into and we don’t keep or build relationships with that in the end, business is actually quite simple, and we leave so much of it on the table that we show people how to take it off the table and actually generate money back into their business through the relationships that they should be having.


SCOTT: That sounds beautiful, Michael. But I thought it was all about digital marketing and websites and lead magnets and funnels and stuff. Are you telling me you actually have to have a human connection to generate sales?

MICHAEL: [laughs] Yeah, it’s wonderful all these little fads that will always come and go, but when you look through the decades and decades and decades of business, there’s one thing that has always stayed, and that is relationship marketing and the power of people and leveraging networks. And that starts from great relationships. Are all those other things necessary? Yeah, without a doubt they help. But if you didn’t have any of them, and all you did was build relationships every day, I guarantee you’d still have a business.


SCOTT: What do you think is the key essence, or what’s the key ingredient to developing a good business relationship?

MICHAEL: It comes down to two people having similar mindsets and want to actually have the desire to help one another. That’s probably the starting point. Because if you have that sort of person, you will always build trust, you will always build rapport, you will always find ways of helping each other. So I suppose it comes down to having the mentality around “How do I help others?”, abundance rather than scarcity, and really having that way of thinking of “How do I do stuff with other people?” rather than “How do I do it all by myself?”


SCOTT: That’s lovely. I think as small business owners, we’ve all been to those networking events where you get round to talking with someone for an hour who’s just trying to sell you something, and when you say that you’re not all that interested, then they just walk away quickly. Is there any way that we can navigate those waters to get greater benefit?

MICHAEL: Yeah, good. I tend to be able to go that if you can’t work out within the first two to three minutes whether this is someone that you want to do something with, then you’re probably not picking up on the cues or asking the right questions to start with. So I’m always big on, whenever I meet anybody – so let’s just say that I’ve just met you for the first time, Scott, wherever it happens to be – I’ll always just start with a simple question of, “Tell me more about you.”

Now, we’ve been trained to talk business straightaway. Every now and then, you’ll know if a person starts just talking about themselves from a personal level, that’s a keeper. Because that person really gets it. Quite often they’ll start talking a little bit about their business, and then I’ll come in and I’ll go, “Great, tell us some things about you personally, too.” Because that’s the level that we can know straightaway, is this someone who I actually want to be doing things with? Or is this someone who there’s just not ever going to be anything there?

And those people exist, and you’re going to come across people where you just go, “Hey, I’m just not interested in doing anything with you.” And that’s absolutely fine, but at least you’ll know in three, four minutes rather than in 10, 15, 20, 30 minutes.


SCOTT: Is relationship marketing, network marketing, whatever terminology we want to use, is that for all types of small business or large business? Where does it start and where does it end?

MICHAEL: Every single business can grow their business through partnerships in some way. We’ve had online businesses that were paying tens of thousands of dollars for Google ads, for Facebook ads, for banner ads, where all they needed to do was learn actually, how do we do cross-promotions with other businesses that have the same target audience?

One business, for example, that was paying $40,000 a month in traditional marketing – well, we got that down to they only needed to pay about $5,000 a month, and yet the number of visitors into their websites actually tripled. And that was purely because they found other businesses that had the same sort of target audience and organized cross-promotions with them. So one person would promote into their network; the other person would promote into their network, and now both people benefit. So there’s an online store.

A local business, even just a health professional that had just started, had three clients – within 45 days, 100% full. And again, through building relationships with other local businesses that would then promote them, that would then leave their flyers on the café bench, that would then talk about them – suddenly, no matter where somebody in that local area went, they always heard about this health professional. So they became the #1 person to go and see because everyone was talking about them.

That doesn’t cost you a cent. That just costs you a bit of time and effort to actually go around and enhance those sorts of relationships. Then you’ve got B2B businesses, where referral partners are very easy to be able to create. So whatever type of business you have, it’s a matter of going, “Who else also do my people buy from?” And they’re the sorts of people that you want to create referral relationships with. Doing cross-promotions with those sorts of people are also brilliant, because it’s just sharing networks.

So in the end, I don’t think it matters what type of business; it is relevant for everybody. And those big corporations, they’ve been doing it for decades. I tell a story where – it was just the other month, where up on the Gold Coast, Cavill Avenue, McDonald’s and Timezone, they have a DL flyer. McDonald’s is on one side; Timezone’s on the other side. They put them on both their counters. They’re just sharing customers.

So when we look at big corporations – what’s the Qantas Frequent Flyer program? That’s just all little partnerships built into that particular program. So I think the big organizations have learnt it and known it and used it for a long time; now it’s time for the SMEs to really start understanding how to benefit for themselves also.


SCOTT: That’s beautiful. But Michael, you’re a fairly gregarious fellow, if I do say so. A lot of us are very nervous when we’re talking to new people and having to go to an event where we might not know anyone. What’s the secret to being able to be an effective networker in that sort of environment?

MICHAEL: It only comes through practice. Here I was as a teacher who’s never done anything in business. It hasn’t always been the way. But what I suppose I always am interested in is the other person. I think when you come from that space, that “Hey, I’m actually really interested in your story and what you’ve got to say,” then all of a sudden you take away any sort of pressure of “I’ve got to make something happen from this conversation.”

Because most people go to networking events going, “Here’s my chance to get business, and if I don’t get business tonight, I’m stuffed for the next two weeks.” Well, that’s actually not what the networking event is all about. It’s about being able to grow your network and meet the right sorts of people to have future conversations. So I think probably taking the pressure off oneself, as well as coming from a position of “Hey, I’m just really curious to find out more about the other person, and then we’ll worry about what we can do together” – I think when you do that, then it actually becomes fun rather than nervous or scary.


SCOTT: Great. So just bring it down to that personal level, and we’re all people, so that sounds beautiful.

MICHAEL: Spot on.


SCOTT: Where’s the best sort of places for people to go and network?

MICHAEL: With there being so many, it comes down to an individual and what an individual is comfortable with. Without doubt, there’s more structured networking groups where it’s very structured, it’s very “this happens and this happens and this happens and this happens.” That suits some people. For other people, they couldn’t run fast enough.

Then there’s other networking events which are very casual. You turn up and you might see – far more casual. And the people who like the structured ones can’t stand the casual ones, because there is no structure around it. But for someone who doesn’t like the structured ones, those casual ones are brilliant.

Even to the extent, this – the community. Lions Clubs, rotaries, schools. There are so many other places that people can network which aren’t classified as a networking event, but in the end, it still brings people together. So whether it is at a barbeque, whether it actually be at a run event, whether it be just casually when someone’s out, networking really is just talking to people. So it doesn’t have to be a structured event to network.

These days, I think when people do it right through social media, you don’t even have to go out and you can grow your network by 20 or 30 people a week by just starting good conversations. Where most people do it wrong is – as a prime example right now with LinkedIn, people will go “Please connect with me with LinkedIn,” and then the very next day they send a whole page sales letter, and you go, “What sort of moron are you?”

In the end, if they connected and just went, “Hey, thanks for connecting. Love to be able to know more about you. Look forward to catching up” – perfect. You’ve started the relationship. Well, it’s not hard to do 10 of them a week and really be able to grow your network with some good people. But again, coming from the position of “Hey, I’m really interested just to find out more about you, and then let’s work out what we can do.” So that’s a bit of insight to those.


SCOTT: That’s beautiful. Michael, you’re known as the “referral marketing guru.” You give education on these sort of things on a regular basis. Where’s the best place that our Small Business Heroes audience can connect with you?

MICHAEL: Certainly. is probably a great starting point. Whole bunch of education, blogs, videos. You can join our different social media communities. So that’s a nice place where from there, you can pretty much go to a whole bunch of different things.

The other thing is, by going there you’ll be able to get the Referral Networking Success Kit, which is free, and that’s some great knowledge and education on how to be able to create a million dollar network, how to be able to use your network more effectively, how to actually get your referral partners to be able to pass business to you, rather than just hoping that you might get referrals from them. So Great starting point.


SCOTT: I’ll make sure that those details are listed on this site below so that people can find you. Michael, thank you so much for coming on the show today and for giving us your pearls of wisdom in relation to the referral marketing space. I hope you’ve enjoyed listening to and watching this as much as we’ve enjoyed bringing it to you.

My name’s Scott Trevethan. I’m from Scott Partners. You can find us on our Facebook page, which is Scott Partners; you can give us a like if you like. Or the Small Business Heroes group, I encourage you to go on there and join up our Small Business Heroes group. Or just find us at

Michael Griffiths, thank you so much, and we’ll catch up with you next time.

MICHAEL: Pleasure. Thank you, Scott.

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