If you read Part 1 of this article, you learned about the difference between referrals and stageside leads. Now, let’s use them both to build your referral tree!

“How do meeting planners select and find their speakers?”

In 2020, keynote speaker and emcee Jay Baer asked this question… and he partnered with Michelle Joyce and SpeakInc to find the answer.

They polled 150 meeting organizers and three clear methods stood out:

  1. See the speaker somewhere else. (Which we know as a stageside lead.)
  2. Word of mouth from other meeting professionals. (Referral!)
  3. Word of mouth from other people in their organization. (Yup… another referral!)

You see?

The top ways meeting planners find speakers to hire is through stageside leads and referrals.

Understanding and leveraging the ways in which your referral network grows is one of the most under-rated and under-appreciated parts of the speaking business.

So, let’s fix that… time to build your referral tree!

How to Map Your Referral Tree

In the book I co-authored with Michael Port, The Referable Speaker, we talked about the referral tree on page 28.

Simply put, it’s a map of the gigs that led to other gigs.

If you look at the structure of your tree, you’ll notice that certain branches make up certain fractals. A fractal is a smaller subset of a larger industry.

For instance, within the larger real estate industry you might find yourself speaking at events focusing on residential vacation rentals.  Most of your gigs are within this fractal, so you get a lot of stageside leads for even more gigs within this fractal.

Your branch is growing! As a result, you’re fractal famous within just that certain branch of the real estate industry.

An example of a Referral Tree from The Referable Speaker

Eventually, you might decide to take a gig on a new branch of the tree.  Maybe you speak at an event for an apartment rentals organization.  This one gig leads to new inquiries in that same fractal so your fame begins to grow on this branch as well.

Now, your tree is growing!

(By the way… I know it’s called a “referral tree”, but remember that it’s used to map both referrals and stageside leads.)

If you zoom in on a specific branch of your referral tree, you might see event A… which leads to you booking event B… which results in three more leads where you eventually book event C.  This goes on and on.

Here’s a branch of my own referral tree so you can see how this looks:

This post is for paying subscribers only

Sign up now and upgrade your account to read the post and get access to the full library of posts for paying subscribers only.

Sign up now Already have an account? Sign in