Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Too busy to improve

"My business is keeping me very busy, why should I learn how to get more business by referral?"

Once in a while one of my clients tells me they come across this statement. Often it is from someone where there is a one-way referral relationship. Someone that they'd like to cultivate into a stronger referral partner. Here are some thoughts:
1. I know you are really busy working in your business. Spending some time with Dave will help you work on your business. Dave truly helps business owners work less, make more, and play more. If you would like to play more - Dave's knowledge and trainings can help you. Even if your 'play more' is volunteer time, public service, or just spending more time with family or friends - you'll need to learn how to work smarter, not harder. Dave can help you do that.
2. I know you are busy because of me. I have been referring business to you and you've had a hard time referring people back to me. Dave's class will help both of us speak the same language of referrals - so we can both be properly busy with the right kinds of clients. I want to make it as easy as possible for your to be able to help me.
3. I know you are a giver. Working with Dave will help you give better referrals to other service providers. Working with Dave will also make it easier to give your clients more support and service - so they can have a happier, healthier, less stressful, more fulfilled life - because you recommended and referred them to someone else that you personally know, like, and trust.

Work Less; Give More; Live a better life while helping others live better too.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Pouncing vs. Referrals

Whoah! I got pounced today! Here's an email inquiry (for someone selling advertising to me), the 'bold' text is from me. It was from a form on my website, not a personal email to me:
I want to schedule a 15 minute meeting with you in the next week or two to discuss Referral Institute of Ithaca becoming a (client). I am sure you would agree that the marketing message of Referral Institute of Ithaca is a perfect fit to the same audience as (our company), and I would welcome an opportunity to add your company to our distinguished list of (clients). In addition to (advertising), (we) offer unique sponsorship opportunities that fit well with your marketing and branding needs. (Advertising with us) is unlike any other advertising/promotional strategy in that the (receivers of our message) have an immense level of TRUST for the names they hear; and this creates a high level of respect when your organization\'s name is used. It also shows your support for (our product). As the number one (organization) in Ithaca, (we) reach (many) households in (many) counties; guaranteeing exposure for Referral Institute of Ithaca. Let me know when you might be available, would love to get together! Thanks in advance, (name) Account Executive (Company Name)
And my response:
Hello (name),

Thank you for your inquiry this morning.

Unfortunately I only take meetings with new vendors who are referred to me from people where there is an existing credible relationship. I teach my clients not to pounce on prospects – and instead get referred through an existing relationship. I’m sure you understand that the amount of time that is invested in cold calling (or cold emailing) is not as enjoyable or beneficial to either party as a warm introduction.

If you are able to be referred to me from someone in my network – I would be ok taking some time to chat.

Take care,

Possibly what I found to be troubling (or most interesting) is that we have 41 contacts in common on Linked In and 21 contacts in common on Facebook. We have never met. They didn't have time to ask someone that we both know and trust to make an introduction. I'll let you know if they are up to the referral challenge.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Linked In - August 2011

I wrote this post originally in March 2010, just a little while after I started the Referral Institute. This morning a very pleasant person asked me to connect on Linked In. We have 37 Linked In people in common, but they couldn't find the time to ask any of them to introduce us to each other. I checked out their Facebook Profile - we have 97 friends in common, but again they didn't have the time to ask one of them to connect us. As I looked a little deeper, I found out they had over 4000 facebook 'friends' and over 500 Linked In connections.

Here's what I wrote about Linked In in 2010, "My company - the Referral Institute of Ithaca - helps business owners work less, play more, and make more by helping them create referrals for life. Linking to hundreds of strangers and reading their updates - well that doesn't sound like working less - so I'll probably skip that activity."

I'd love to get connected with you on Linked In - to see the guidelines I follow, continue reading.

Here are my few rules for Linked In:
1. I have to have met you in person. I have to know you are real and that you aren't an avatar representation of someone else (or some corporation).

2. I have to be willing to help you. It would be nice if you were willing to help me too. I like to use Linked In to see how I can help people. If I don't feel comfortable helping you (with information, support, tips, leads, or referrals), then we probably won't have a useful linked-in relationship.

3. I have to have visibility with you. Do I know your first name, your last name, your business name, and your profession? Do you know my profession and business name? Until we have a visibility relationship, in real life, we don't have much of a connection online either. I don't make connections - real or virtual - if there's nothing behind the connection.

4. Do you have 10 connections? I don't ask to be Linked-In to someone that has less that 10 connections. For whatever reason they don't want to use Linked-In, they don't understand the value, they don't want to use online networking, they don't have the time, they don't like to ask people that they know in real life to be connected - - for whatever reason they have less than 10 connections - - we probably wouldn't be able to help each other through Linked-In anyways.

5. Making the first move. If someone asks to Link to me and they follow guidelines 1, 2, and 3 - - then I'll more than likely link to them. (I only use rule 4 when I'm interested in making the first move - usually because we met somewhere in person and I'm interested in getting linked.)

6. Members Together: If we are a member of an organization or hobby group that has a good chance of us meeting in person as some point in the future - I might link to you so we can get to know each other better in advance of a real life meeting. It is unlikely that I would refer anyone to you or ask you for help until we meet in person. That's just the way I am.

7. I don't use connections as a scorecard to measure my life worth. As I tell all of my clients - I'd rather have 10 strong relationships with people I trusted, than 100 weak relationships with people I didn't know.

How do you decide who to link to on Linked-In? Do you accept all invitations? Do you connect with people you don't know, haven't met, don't trust, don't want to help, or have nothing in common?

My company - the Referral Institute of Ithaca - helps business owners work less, play more, and make more by helping them create referrals for life. Linking to hundreds of strangers and reading their updates - well that doesn't sound like working less - so I'll probably skip that activity. For other activities and solutions about working less, making more, and creating Referrals for Life - - check out one of my upcoming Referral Success 101 classes.

Monday, August 15, 2011


Online Software Love - Most of it I do not care for, however, is different.

As a Referral Marketing Consultant, I know that every good business should be tracking their results. Before I started with the Referral Institute - I knew where money making business was coming from, but not which activities were making a difference. Maybe in my head, but not with any planning or accuracy.

I am going to tell you what we all know from Business 101 (and one of my best clients): 'What gets measured gets done' and you need more than a mental sense of what is going on in your business. You need visual confirmation as a base to your analysis. combines contact management with referral tracking. It includes a way to track networking activities and detailed company and personal information. It also allows for tracking of real business data including revenues and tiers of referrals. I use it every day and it has completely shifted the way I do business.

When you are ready to take your referral marketing to the next level - try out

Receive a 50% discount on your subscription at when you use this referral code: RI-Ithaca.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

10 Hours of Networking Per Week?

David's Note: I wrote this post, shared it with my friend Ilise, she posted it on her blog, and now I'm posting it on my blog. Ilise Benun runs Marketing Mentor (, a company that helps small businesses market and grow their business. Here's what Ilise wrote and then what I wrote!

David Makar from Referral Institute Ithaca was a guest on my recent Advanced Marketing Groupphone call. When asked how much networking people should be doing every week, he said 10 hours, which was very surprising to group members.

He went on to say, “This eliminates almost all the time I used to spend driving to prospects, meeting with cold prospects, writing proposals, replying to a lot of Q&A with prospects via email and phone, spending my billable time with the ‘wrong’ clients (who were not a good match for my services), and ‘free consulting’.”

Today, David shares how to transition to 10 hours of networking per week:

In our call we spoke about the number of hours per week that would be ideal for implementing a referral marketing plan. We mentioned the number of hours being 10 hours. That always seems like an overwhelming place to start. “Where am I going to find 10 hours each week? I’m too busy.”

Here’s a sample from my referral marketing plan, working to 40 hours of networking per month (10 hours per week):

BNI (Business Network Int’l) Meetings (7am – 9:00am) 8 hours
Networking @ Noon (Chamber) 1.5 hours
Pre or Post Networking @ Noon 1 to 1 1 hour
Small Business Council Meeting (Chamber) 1.5 hours
Ambassadors Council (Chamber) 1.5 hours
1 to 1 with Referral partners (4 primary, 2 hrs) 8 hours
1 to 1 with Referral partners (3 secondary, 1.5 hrs) 4.5 hours
BNI member 1 to 1’s (1.5 hours each) 6 hours
Business After Hours (Chamber) 3 hours (with drive time)Social media: facebook/Linked In (15 min. x 4 per wk) 5 hours (per month)

Of course this takes time to transition from a pure transactional business to a relational business. I’d say try to spend one less hour doing the transactional activities, and then one hour doing the relational activities. Perhaps plan a 10 week (or 10 month) schedule:

Week 1: 1 hour networking, 9 hours doing transactional work
Week 2: 2 hours networking, 8 hours transactional work
Week 3: 3 hours networking, 7 hours transactional work
Month 1: 1 hr/week networking, 9 hr/week doing transactional
Month 2: 2 hr/week networking, 8 hr/week doing transactional

Jumping in all at once isn’t likely to work – unless you are brand new in business, but even then – you may have to do some ‘prospecting’ work for the first 3 to 18 months as you build a referral network.

First Step: Join one organization (trade association for your target market, local chamber, BNI, or local service organization) and get involved by giving back to the organization and their members – start with just an hour a week.

In the Marketing Groups, I often invite experts as guest speakers. If you want to expand your horizons, the next Marketing Group starts the week of May 16th. Details here or fill out this form.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Event: NEXT GEN': The SEEN & Ithaca College

NEXT GEN': The SEEN & Ithaca College
Network for Success!
Thursday, April 21st, 7-9 pm, TC Lounge, Ithaca College
(14th floor, East Tower)
953 Danby Road (96B)
Ithaca, NY

Please join us Thursday during Earth Week for a special networking event with Ithaca College students, staff and faculty interested in sustainable enterprise. Members of The SEEN, and potential members, are encouraged to engage with each other over their experiences as entrepreneurs and opportunities to expand awareness of local green business. SEEN members also may find opportunities here to tap the student talent for internships and job recruitment.

Further, this event provides an excellent opportunity to connect with other members of The SEEN as well as potential supporters of your business and our network, all while sharing and gaining valuable insights.

As an added incentive, Ithaca College is providing catering for the event, and the cash bar and regular menu will be available upon request. So that we can give the planners a head count, please RSVP here for the event.

Please extend this invite to key contacts in your network, who may be interested in The SEEN and an opportunity to experience what we do. The SEEN grows in value as you grow your relationships!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Your Chamber is Your Goldmine: 5/4/11, 8am - 10am

Are you getting the most out of your investment of time and money in the Chamber? Networking is like mining for gold. You can strike it rich and find a vein, or end up with a few nuggets. Having Knowledge of referral marketing turns the casual networker into a power networker.

The next session is scheduled for:
Wednesday, May 4 from 8:00 to 10:00 AM
Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce, Borg Warner Morse TEC Conference Room
Chamber Members: $25
Non-Chamber: $30

This session will help you:
- Effectively network to get more referrals.
- Interact with people in a way that builds positive word-of-mouth about you.
- Measure your time investment and return from the Chamber.

Don’t miss this opportunity to get the most out of your Chamber membership!

Speaking Engagement: The SEEN, 4/11/2011

April 11th, 2011, 5:30pm - 8:00pm, La Tourelle (1150 Danby Road, Ithaca, NY)
Details and seat reservations link:

Please join The SEEN for networking and a presentation on growing your sustainable enterprise by focusing on your relationships, facilitated by referral marketing expert David Makar, Referral Institute of Ithaca.

In this interactive workshop participants will learn how to add focus and structure to their networking activities, so they can have fun, meet and help people, and get the results they are looking for in their business. David Makar is a 7 year resident of Dryden, lifelong gardener, and owner of the Referral Institute of Ithaca.

The workshop will provide an opportunity to connect with other members of The SEEN, talk about your business, and gain value insights into your referral network. This is a great networking opportunity for you and your business contacts as well; invite a business contact, associate or friend along to further benefit from the experience. See you on April 11th!

Monday, March 7, 2011

The Good: My Name is...

Back in December (2010), my friend, client, and referral source Julia Reich from Julia Reich Design ( invited me to participate in an open house, website launch, holiday party held at one of her client's offices.

The welcome sheet / guest book at the entrance allowed everyone to sign-in (not a bad idea for the host to follow-up with people, the list included name and email address). The welcome table had a sign that read something to the effect of, 'Write your name and how you know the host.'

Some people put client, some people put vendor, some people put friend or family member. I hadn't met the host yet. I did know Julia and I knew that the website launch part of the party was all about the website and branding work that Julia did for the client. So, for my name tag I wrote, 'Dave Makar' and 'Friend of THE website designer'.

The regular, 'Hi, how do you know the host' was changed to, 'Oh! You are a friend of the designer? And she's here? Can you introduce me to her? I want to see the site! There's the site on the monitor. How do well do you know the designer? I'm looking for a designer.' It was a great way to connect with more people - without selling my services (that's for others in my word-of-mouth network to do) and with letting people self select if they want to meet the fabulous Julia who just redesigned and re-branded the look of the host of the party.

As I was introduced and met people throughout the evening I had an instant way to connect these new connections to Julia. I always favor the in-person introduction when meeting a new prospect, referral source, future client, and friend. If you think about the last person you met and became good friends with - did you get connected by a third party in person? How did that change the speed that your relationship developed?

Next time you are at a networking event, consider promoting your referral partner, right on your name tag! It'll take a little imagination and creativity, but the results will be major deposits in your relationship.

Key Points:
  • Use your networking time to help others, not just to sell yourself
  • Be creative in how you help others
  • Make introductions on behalf of your referral partners
  • Make these connections face to face
  • Include a positive and supportive testimonial for your referral partner
  • Network with the mantra of 'Givers Gain'

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

As I traverse the Ithaca area and greater Tompkins County I hear a lot of different stories about networking and referral marketing. Until I come up with a better name for this series, I'll use the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. Enjoy!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Networking can be crucial to finding that next job

I was quoted in the Saturday, March 5th Ithaca Journal, Binghamton Press & Sun Bulletin, and Elmira Star-Gazette on 'Networking for finding that next job'. Here's what I added:
Here are some more tips from David Makar, consultant with the Referral Institute of Ithaca, on how to network effectively:

* Be selective about which networking events you attend to make the best use of your time.

"Go to networking events where there will be people you can help or who can help you," he said. "Whatever your skill set is, you should try to find a group of people that matches that."

For instance, people who are interested in starting a high-technology business might want to consider attending a meeting of the Finger Lakes Entrepreneurs' Forum.

* "Use the networking event to set yourself apart from the competition," he said. "Clean your suit. Get a haircut. Get a car wash. ... This is your chance to make an impression on people. You want to look good."

* "Treat the event like you would treat your first day on the job," he said.

If the networking event will occur from 5 to 7 p.m., show up at 4:45 p.m. Arriving late means you've lost time you could have used to connect with people.

* "Bring your networking tools with you," he said.

That includes business cards, even if you don't have a job. Make sure they include your name, phone number, e-mail address and website -- if you have one -- that features your resume.

Offering your own business card is an easy way to prompt someone to give you their business card in exchange.

Also, bring your calendar so you can immediately set up meetings with people you meet at the event. It's easier to do this face-to-face rather than play phone tag later.

* Follow up after the initial meeting by phone, note card or e-mail.

"Follow up in some way that they're going to remember who you are the next day," he said.

For instance, if you offered to help someone, perhaps by providing them with some kind of information, include that information as part of your follow up.

Jean McPheeters from the Tompkins County Chamber was mentioned. I also mentioned the Finger Lakes Entrepreneur's Forum. Here are a couple links:

Friday, February 25, 2011

Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce hosts Your Chamber is Your Goldmine, sponsored by Moscato and Associates

Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce hosts Your Chamber is Your Goldmine, sponsored by Moscato and Associates

Tompkins Chamber Logo - Blue
March 10
9am - 11am, Tompkins County Chamber Office, 904 E. Shore Drive, Ithaca.
Facilitated by David Makar, Referral Institute Ithaca
$25 for Chamber Members
$30 for non-Chamber Members
Are you getting the most out of your investment of time and money in the Chamber? Networking is like mining for gold. You can strike it rich and find a vein, or end up with a few nuggets. Having knowledge of referral marketing turns the casual networker into a power networker.

This session will help you: - Effectively network to get more referrals. - Interact with people in a way that builds positive word-of-mouth about you. - Measure your time investment and return from the Chamber.
Don't miss this opportunity to get the most out of your Chamber membership!
Considering joining the chamber? Please contact Rob LaHood, Director of Membership, Events & Communications: or 607-273-7080.

BNI Cayuga Lake Connections - Visitor Day!

BNI Cayuga Lake Connections - Visitor Day!
March 10
7:30am - 9am, Elks Lodge at 124 Coddington Road, Ithaca
No Fee to participate in this visitor's day
RSVP: Chapter Vice President Jackie Gartenman, 607-280-0286 or

Professions already filled in this chapter:
Automotive Sales
Bank Services
Certified Public Accountant
Dream Catalyst
Financial Advisor/Consultant
Fire Walk Leader
General Contractor
Interior Decorating
Life Coach
Massage Therapist
New Home Builder
Payroll Services
Physical Therapist
Property & Casualty Insurance
Real Estate Agent
Security Systems
Web Design
Are you looking to meet other business professionals to develop a strong referral relationship? This chapter is starting its 4th year this spring and is a great place to connect with other business owners who believe in 'Givers Gain!'.

BNI's Third Ithaca Area Chapter

BNI's Third Ithaca Area Chapter
March 10
8:00am - 9:30am, P.W. Wood & Son, Inc. (2333 N. Triphammer Road, Suite 5).
No fee to visit this emerging group.
RSVP: Dana Carruth at or (607) 592-9021.

One of the benefits of BNI is that when you join, you lock out the competition. You have the opportunity to network within a group of business professionals where no one in the room is directly competeing with you. Instead, each member has a vested interest in helping each other to achieve great business results. We call it 'Givers Gain'!

Check out this new and growing chapter any Thursday, including March 10th.

Professions already filled in this chapter:
Financial Advisor/Consultant
General Contractor
Health Insurance and Medicare Insurance
Property & Casualty Insurance
Real Estate Agent
Skincare Products
Web Design

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Networking: Tompkins County Young Professionals

February Networking Event for Tompkins County Young Professionals

I just received an invitation to this networking event - do you have a business networking event you'd like to share? Email me at
Please join the United Way of Tompkins County Young Professionals Initiative for our monthly networking and fundraising event! This month we will be at Kilpatrick's Publick House (attached to the Hilton Garden Inn) on Wednesday, February 23rd from 5:00-7:00pm.

A $5 to the United Way is requested at the door. Happy Hour specials all evening! Door prizes raffled at 6pm! Please click here to RSVP:

Thank you to all who have attended one of our prior three events. Our last gathering, which was held at Silky Jones in January, was attended by over 80 young professionals and emerging leaders and raised over $400 to benefit the United Way! We hope to continue providing young professionals the opportunity to network while learning how the United Way of Tompkins County benefits us all.

Please feel free to invite other Young Professionals from the Tompkins County region! Need more information? Email: