The most powerful weapon to growing your business

It started when Andrew Parker sent me a dozen mangoes and a bottle of French champagne. With that gesture I learnt the secret to guaranteeing a steady flow of referrals and new revenue to any consulting services firm. Andrew called it his MICRophone program. This is how it works.

When I started my own firm, I had 17 years of ‘sweat equity’ behind me of relationships and favours done. I expected a stream of new client referrals in those early days, a ‘thank you and good luck’ gesture from a long list of professional ‘I Owe You’s.’

It didn’t happen*. It really surprised me. I learnt it is a rare (and often unexpected) person who makes the effort to refer clients to you. It’s in their nature. And they are highly likely to do it again- if made to feel appreciated.

That’s where Andrew had it absolutely right. His firm, Parker & Partners, was growing fast, helped by referrals from a handful of what Andrew labelled his MICRophones… his Most Important Client Referrers.


He knew this group were priceless to his business, and he treated them as such. He created his MICRophones program to ensure he nurtured this group, and importantly said ‘thank you’ for a referral, fully and appropriately. The MICRophone program ensured Parker & Partners kept a strong line of communication with each referrer. Andrew in turn added value to their careers through a stream of introductions, events and insights. He made sure this small group (who did not know each other in most cases) felt special, appreciated, valued, and loved.

Who are your MICRophones? Do you know? Make a list. Think hard about what would be the right ‘relationship’ strategy with each. Write it down. Set a timetable. Implement it relentlessly. Thank them with flair (and within appropriate parameters) when they refer. Nurture your MICRophones. They are a rare breed, and  the most powerful weapon to growing your business.

Oh- and why did I get the mangoes and champagne? I’d referred a client to Parker & Partners of course. And so started a wonderful experience being part of his MICRophone program. If only he’d kept me there now that he’s a senior executive at Emirates!

Do you have stories about referrers who have helped your business?

*Some big exceptions… Savage & Horrigan did receive much appreciated early referrals from people we had just met- Andrew Kitchen, David Gonski, Geoff Levy and others, and my business partner Jennifer Horrigan’s investment banking contacts were constantly generous with referrals from the start

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One Response to The most powerful weapon to growing your business

  1. Iain Good May 26, 2011 at 10:41 pm #

    Excellent. I owe you and John G a big box of mangoes. We’ll start our MICRophone program tomorrow.

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