IT’S A BOY! And it’s the result of the “best referral” I ever received! Several years ago I belonged to a Breakfast Club. I was a member for about 10 years and it was a great group to belong to. The group began as a business club and the goal was to help each other build our businesses. The way we did that was by referring business to each other. This club was very effective. Maybe you’ve belonged to “networking clubs” before. Maybe they were successful for you or maybe they weren’t. Most of the business people I’ve talked to about networking groups tell me they invested a lot of effort and received very little return in new business. What Made This Club So Effective? There were some key elements that made this club so effective? First; we met at breakfast. Meeting at breakfast weekly takes more commitment than meeting at lunch. Usually, everyone is looking for some place to eat lunch. So the first key in getting referrals is “Commitment” on the part of the members. Many people will refer if it’s convenient and not much effort is required. But to really make the referral process work, it takes commitment on the part of the members. Second; the group consisted of only “business owners or key decision-makers” for their company. Many times you may attend “networking functions” and the majority of participants are salespeople. They are there to strictly sell you something. When they’ve gone through the membership they then move on to the next group. Third; A major reason our group was so effective was that the majority of the membership joined “To Develop Relationships.” I was a member for almost 10 years. I developed relationships with many of the members. I still see many of the members on a regular basis. Fourth; We had open houses on a regular basis at one of the members place of business. It’s what happened at one of these open houses, several years ago, that led to “The Best Referral I Ever Received.” I attended an open house at one of our members business. I coach the racquetball team at Missouri State University and our practice usually runs late. So when I would go to the open houses, I was usually a little late. This particular day I was running later than usual and when I got to the open house the only people left were the business owner and his staff. The owner asked me if I was going to attend the next club function. This function was really for couples and I was single. I told him that I probably wouldn’t go because I didn’t have a date. He suggested that I should go with his office manager. (He referred me to his manager because he thought we’d be a good match). I’d had a couple of glasses of wine. (I very seldom drink wine). So with the courage of a couple of glasses of wine I asked her if she’d like to go to the party. She promptly said, “absolutely NO way.” Some time later, with the prompting of the owner, I asked again. She replied, “absolutely NO way.” I’ve been in sales for many years and when someone tells me “No”, that means to me that they just need more information so they can say, “Yes.” So after the FOURTH time I asked her she said, “Okay, I’ll go.” That was about fourteen years ago. That Was The Best Referral I Ever Received. Here’s the reason why. On the 29th of June of this year my wife gave birth to our second child. It’s a boy weighing 7 pounds and 11 ounces. His name is Eddie Connor Sims and he’s as beautiful as our little girl Amanda. My family is the most important thing in my life. They occurred because a person referred someone to me who was a perfect fit.