Business Lessons From Golf

The lessons learned while playing golf can be great for your professional life. Let’s look at a few examples.

Reliable golfers add their next round to the calendar as soon as it is scheduled. If something is important to your business, it should be on your calendar.

Relaxed golfers prepare in advance for each round. They ensure they have enough balls, tees and a glove in their bag. They lay out the proper attire in advance, and are dressed for success. You should plan ahead and prepare for important events in your business, too.

Professional golfers arrive early and allow plenty of time to warm up. This allows them to perform better and creates a good impression with the rest of the group. If you are always late or unprepared, you will not perform as well and may create a bad impression with people around you.

Smart golfers are observant and pay attention to constantly changing conditions. They recognize opportunities and challenges well in advance of taking any action. They try to position themselves to take advantage of opportunities, while avoiding the hazards at the same time.

Experienced golfers realize different problems require different tools for a solution. They know that having the right tool for the job typically produces better results. They also recognize the limits of their abilities and try to play to their strengths.

Creative golfers also know there are several ways to solve every problem. They are always thinking outside the box to find a good solution. They are not afraid to try something new after considering risk vs. reward. They take action only after careful planning.

Gracious golfers are respectful of those around them. They allow other players to take their turn and are friendly with their competitors. They are sure to compliment impressive results. They look their competition in the eye and acknowledge them with a friendly handshake at the end of each round.

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Not all referral partners are created equal.

After managing many professional referral groups over the past 10 years, I have learned that not all referring partners are created equal. People typically fall into one of the following categories.

The Givers: On the surface these people are great. They are addicted to the dopamine released when making recommendations and they give with no expectations of reciprocation. Often they make referrals because they “know” someone, not because they “trust” them. As a result the referrals they make can sometimes be suspect. They are good to know, but qualify their recommendations before you act.

The Takers: These people want to collect as many business cards as possible. They prefer the free networking events and you will see them everywhere. When they do join various professional groups they often join several of them. They are in it for themselves and prefer quantity of connections vs. quality of connections. Takers seem to be known by everyone, but typically develop shallow relationships, so avoid them if you can.

You typically will not meet a gold mine referral partner at local mixers, especially at the free ones. When they join professional referral organizations they are selective. Birds of a feather flock together and only a few group options exist for them in Tucson. If you can build relationships with these gold mines, do it!

Which category do you fall into? Are you a gold miner? If not, what do you need to do to get there?

If you would like to meet every month with a room full of gold miners, attend a Tucson Business Club meeting. Our members generate more closed business for each other than any other professional referral group, at any price. 

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Fishing For Referrals?

Strategic partnerships are the most powerful way to generate significant streams of referral business. To understand the concept, consider the analogy of the fisherman. His fish are to him, what your clients are to you. 

Every day the fisherman goes to the mountain lake to catch some trout. If he does not catch fish his family goes hungry. If he catches a lot of fish, he does not have to work the next day. Simply attracting the fish is not enough, he needs to land them in the boat. There are other fishermen on the lake too, so he needs to be smarter than his competition. 

Then one day a stranger approached and ask for some help. He was a forest ranger who worked for the hatchery which stocked all of the trout in the lake. His tanker truck was full of fish ready to be released into the lake when it quit running. He needed a ride to the hatchery to get some help, or all the fish would die.

 The fisherman gave him a ride and once there, he could not believe his eyes. There were dozens of pools of differently sized trout from hatchings to full grown. There were millions of them!

 To thank the fisherman for his help, the ranger gave him permission to fish at the hatchery lakes anytime he wanted to. There was no competition here and the fish were plentiful. The fisherman could now catch all the fish he needed for the entire week in just one day.

 The forest ranger is a strategic partner for the fisherman. He has the ability to create life-changing opportunities just like your strategic partners can do for you. Who are your strategic partners, and what are you doing to build relationships with them? 

Why are you still fishing in the same lake as everyone else?

If you would like to learn who your best strategic partners are and exactly how to get them to start sending business to you instead of to your competitor, attend a Tucson Business Club meeting. That's what we teach our members.  

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This May Be Better Than Any Referral

Most business owners agree that referrals are a great source of business. One of the best ways to generate referrals is by building mutually beneficial relationships with quality professionals.

Consider this hypothetical case of a business owner who made a simple mistake. This is a common mistake that may cost a business in many ways.

Pete owns a residential pest control company and gets most of his business from realtors. One of them, “Realtor Rhonda,” sends Pete more business than any other. When Pete knows someone who wants to buy or sell a house, he refers them to Realtor Rhonda.

There is another real estate agent who works with Pete, her name is Amy. While “Agent Amy” does not send Pete as many direct referrals, she does other things to help Pete.

Amy introduces Pete to other good referral sources like property managers and home inspectors. Amy also placed Pete’s marketing materials in her office so the other 300 realtors might do business with him as well.

Amy and her collective connections wrote several online reviews for Pete on websites like Yelp and Google+. These reviews help Pete’s website appear at the top of the search engine pages. Now he gets more clients from online inquiries than ever before.

While Amy does not send as many direct referrals as Rhonda does, collectively her efforts produced more business for Pete than Rhonda ever could.

Pete never gave Agent Amy credit for the indirect business she generated and kept referring his buyers and sellers to Rhonda. After a year or two, Amy was forced to find a different pest control company to build a mutually beneficial relationship with. Eventually all of her collective benefits shifted away from Pete and directly to his competitor.

The moral of the story is this: Pay attention to the value everyone brings to your business. Find a way to help all of those who support you.

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Networking Group vs. Referral Group

Difference between networking groups, and referral groups

There are many groups you can join from Chambers of Commerce, Networking Groups, Trade Associations and Service Organizations. Each of these groups offer a chance to network, build relationships and receive referral business from other members. All of these can be classified as "Networking Groups", but very few can be called "Professional Referral Groups". 

A Professional Referral Group exists to leverage the collective connections of the members to create great opportunities for each other. These opportunities include referrals, introductions to strategic partners, speaking engagements, radio, TV and newspaper exposure, online reviews with platforms like Yelp, and much more.

The Professional Referral Group will screen for quality of the members and refuse to accept all but the best of the best. Most of the networking organizations listed above will take anyone who wants to join, as long as there is an opening.

The Professional Referral Group also spends more time educating and developing every member of the organization to become better and stronger referring partners.

In addition, the best Referral Groups will dedicate time and energy to run separate groups strategically targeted to specific niche markets. For example, Tucson Business Club runs three dedicated specialty chapters focusing on B2B Commercial ReferralsHealthcare and Real Estate Services.  Members of these groups are extremely well connected in their respective sector, which helps everyone generate a better return on their investment.  

If your main purpose for joining a group is to generate closed referrals and opportunities, why not join a group whose main purpose is exactly that?

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Do you know a connector?

Here is a short excerpt of the article we wrote for the Arizona Daily Star Biz Tips section. The full article can be read here:  Do you know a Connector?

Some connections are better than others. For business purposes, no connection is better than the one you have with a connector. 

There is a difference between people who are connected, and people who are connectors. Connected people attend lots of events, they know lots of people and can refer a lot of business. They are great to have in your network, but the connectors are better.

Connectors can introduce you to incredible referral sources, and can create amazing opportunities. The connector has the ability to impact your bottom line much more than most.

Connectors love creating introductions and opportunities more than anything else. Making connections for others is what feeds them. If you appreciate their efforts, they will do more for you. If you help them achieve their goals, they will do more than you ever imagined.

Be sure to read the rest of the article with the link at the top!

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Overcome the fear of networking

Overcome the Fear of Networking

Have you ever felt nervous about walking into a networking event? Have you ever decided not to attend an event because your anxiety was too great? If you could remove all of the anxiety, improve your results and make networking fun, would you attend more events? Of course you would and here’s how to do it!

I attended a networking presentation on behalf of SCORE.  Dave Sherman, National Sales Trainer and Professional Speaker, was the presenter.  He taught me a valuable lesson in networking.

Here’s the secret…  

Almost everyone is nervous when walking into a room full of strangers. From a very early age, we were told not to talk to strangers. Combine that with the added pressure of performing well enough to secure a sale. No wonder people are nervous about networking events!

According to Sherman, all you have to do is change your mindset. You are no longer walking into a room full of strangers to sell your product or service. Instead, your goal is to make quality connections with people you can help.

When you meet people at an event, ask them questions about their business.  Ask what a perfect referral would be for them.  Ask them what sets them apart from their competitors. Try to find out as much as you can because questions like these help create connections with others.  

By being one of the only people offering to help others, this will set you apart from the crowd. It makes a great first impression and people will want to connect with you and, potentially, want to refer business to you too.

By simply changing your mindset, you can walk into any event with total comfort and confidence. Your results will improve, and networking will be fun and profitable!

For more fun networking tips, check out Dave Sherman’s line of networking books at

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Why refer business into your group?

Your referral group is a local economy, much like the city you live in.  As money is introduced into your group’s economy by way of referrals, members should choose to keep the money circulating in the economy.  They do that by spending the money with other members, and continuing to refer business to members of the network. 

When spent in the network, the money circulates over and over, and comes through all of the members’ businesses, including yours.  It allows all of us to generate more revenue, hire more people, and expand our businesses.  It allows us to plan for our retirement and provide a better life for our families.  The economy will be vibrant and healthy.  Member retention will be very high and everyone will want to join this economy.  Every time someone new joins, they will refer business and create opportunities for you.    

Conversely, money spent, or referrals sent outside the network benefits residents in a different economy, not yours.  Members in your group will never see any of those benefits.  The money will circulate over and over, but in a different economy and flow through the door of our competitors.      

Next time you find yourself buying something or referring business to someone outside of the network, stop! Find a local service provider in the network.  Keep the money in the group; keep it circulating through your business over and over.  

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Networking Time Saving Tips

Every hour you invest doing something has an opportunity cost.  Every hour you spend doing one thing means you are not doing something else.  What else could you have done with that hour, and what would have been the return on that hour invested?  If you could have been more productive, spent your time more wisely or made more money doing something different, why wouldn’t you?  



Effective networking generates a lot of business, but it can take a lot of time.  Time is money.  You can make more money, but you cannot make more time.  Consider these time saving Tips for Networking:

  1. Target The RIGHT People:  You do not have time to build relationships with everyone.  Focus your efforts on people in a related profession who are good at what they do, and good referring partners.  Because you are in a related profession, you are in a position to refer a lot of business to each other. Because they are good at what they do, you can trust them with your referrals. (See our blog on building relationships with the right people).  
  2.  Target The Right Functions:  Before you invest time attending a networking meeting, Chamber of Commerce breakfast, workshop or mixer, make sure it is the right function.  Look for events your strategic partners will be attending.  Look for events that allow you to deliver a short commercial to the attendees and ample time for open networking.  Events that have a set agenda full of announcements and presentations may not be as valuable to you as an event that allows you to deliver a commercial followed by open networking time so you can meet people and build relationships. (See our blog on Strategic Partners).
  3. Price vs. Value:  The time you invest attending any function is much more valuable than any nominal fee that might be charged to attend.  Price is what you pay, and the value is what you get.  Free groups and events draw an audience driven primarily by cost.  Usually you will find better connections and referring partners at premium events.  Attend a few free events and pay close attention to the caliber of connections you meet.  Then attend a few premium functions and see if you notice a difference.   Target the functions that deliver the most value to you. 
  4. Set Your Goals: Set goals before you get to the event.  Maybe you want to meet three strategic partners at the event, or perhaps your goal is to line up a speaking opportunity or get interviewed on a local radio show.  Maybe you want to get past the gatekeeper and get an introduction to the decision maker at a specific company you have been trying to connect with for months.  Knowing what you goals are will help you achieve the value you want in exchange for the time you invest at the event.  Be sure to ask everyone you meet at the event if they can help you achieve the goals you set. 
  5. Meet The Connectors:  Once you select an event, arrive early and meet the organizers.  Offer to help them set up for the event.  They will appreciate your help, and might be willing to help you sometime.  They will know many people at the event and can introduce to a few great connections at the event.  Chances are the event organizers are community connectors and might prove to be very useful to have in your network in the future. 
  6. Make New Connections:  One of your goals for every event is to expand your network with quality people.  That means you need to meet new people.  It is a natural tendency for people to migrate to comfortable situations.  For most of us it is easier to talk to people we know, than it is to strike up a conversation with a stranger.   Resist the temptation to spend too much time with familiar faces.  If you find yourself talking to someone you know for more than a few minutes, mention the goal you set for this event and ask if they can help.  Chances are they will introduce you to someone new.  Remember you are there to expanded you network with NEW connections.  Spending time with people you know is probably not the BEST use of your time. 
  7. Follow up:  The vast majority of people do not follow up with great connections they recently met.  When you do, it will set you apart from the rest and make a very good impression.  You may not have the time to follow up with everyone you meet, but certainly you need to follow up with the GREAT connections you meet.  If you do not follow up, there is almost no chance a relationship will develop.  If there is no relationship, there will be no value and you will have wasted your time.  Remember time is money, don’t waste it. 
  8. Join the RIGHT Referral Group:  If one of your primary goals for networking is the hope of generating referral business, you MUST join a professional referral group.  Keep in mind most professional referral groups are a waste of time, so join the RIGHT group.  We have seen hundreds of businesses attend various events, trying to build relationships with people they meet.  They end up spending more time and money and get significantly less closed referral business than if they would have joined one effective referral group.  Joining the right referral group will provide the highest return on the time you invest in networking.   Find the right referral group and join it before you spend any additional time networking.  (See our blog on choosing the right professional referral group)
  9. One-On-One Meetings:  You will need to invest time meeting people one-on-one to build the relationship.  Those meetings can eat up time faster than anything else.  Consider the time you will spend coordinating schedules, setting the appointment, driving to and from the appointment, the meeting itself etc.  Do not invest this time unless the potential is huge.  Be strategic in whom you meet with, and focus on those strategic partners than can bring the most value to your business, and you to theirs.  (See our blog on Effective One-On-One Meetings).
  10. Four-on-Four Meetings:  Instead of scheduling four independent meetings, consider one meeting with four people at the same time.  This will save considerable time for everyone involved and usually four people can provide more value and opportunity than two people can.  This is especially true if you are strategic in whom you invite so they are all good connections for each other.  

Thanks for reading our time saving tips for networking.  We hope it helps you generate more value from your networking efforts!

The Tucson Business Club - 520.481.5505

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The BEST One-On-One Meetings

When people meet one-on-one to discuss business, both people are investing their time, and time is a limited resource. It is important that BOTH people receive value from the time they are investing.  There is nothing worse than meeting with someone who has a one way agenda, dominates the entire conversation about ways you can help them.  It is a complete waste of time for the other person, so don’t do it.     

Here are some tips and tricks that can help you have a GREAT One-On-One Meeting! 

Prepare for the meeting:

  • Be strategic and think about who you want to meet with.  Meet with those individuals who target the same clientele as you, or who are well connected to lots of your potential clients.  Since you share similar clients, it will be easier to exchange business. 
  • Do some research before your meeting.  The more you understand about whom you are meeting with, the faster and easier it will be to identify ways you can help them.  Look at their website and review their social media platforms.   You may find information on common interests you share, or at minimum, give yourself some good talking points to use. 
  • Put some thought into how you might be able to help them. Who are their strategic partners - people in a position to refer them business?  Who do you know who can send them business? 
  • Think of other ways you could help them.  Maybe you could combine marketing efforts or advertise together to keep costs down.  Could you create a speaking opportunity for them? 
  • Put the meeting on your calendar.  Agree on the expected length of the meeting in advance. Confirm the appointment the day before – and don’t be late.
  • Consider scheduling the one-on-one immediately before, or after, our normal chapter meeting.  Since both of you will already be there, this will save each of you the round trip commute time.
  • Be prepared to answer the question “how can I help you”, without selling yourself.  


Once You Are At The Meeting:

  • Set your expectations up front.  What you hope to accomplish from this meeting?
  • Allow both people equal amounts of time to talk about their business.    
  • Don’t sell yourself. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss ways you can help each other, not to sell a product. 
  • Ask questions to uncover specific ways you can help each other.
  • Take notes at the meeting. This makes the other person feel important, and allows for effective follow-up.
  • Go through the checklist of how you can help each other (see below).
  • Make a commitment of what you will do to help each other.


After The Meeting Follow-Up:

  • Do what you said you were going to do.
  • Schedule a follow up meeting to review what has been done to date and what can be done in the future.    
  •  Do not add them to your database and start sending marketing emails, unless you get their permission.  


Checklist of Value You Can Offer 

Here are some things you can do for other members.  Consider these as you meet one-on-one.  Be sure you trust the other person before you put your reputation on the line. 

  • Use their service yourself.  This allows you to know for sure the quality they provide, and makes future referrals stronger when you can say “I use them, and they are great”. 

  • Refer family, friends or clients to them. 

  • Introduce them to a good potential referring partner.

  • Get them an interview on radio, TV or featured in an article. 

  • Place their business cards on the counter of your business, or in a package you give to clients.

  • Share best business practices – what is working for you.

  • Market or advertise together to reduce cost – get more exposure.

  • Offer good expert advice to solve a problem.

  • Create a speaking opportunity for them if they appreciate that.

  • Can you share FREE tickets or special offers on events they are interested in?

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