Starting Over

This morning, someone asked me what percentage of my business comes from referrals. Those who know me best already know the answer….100% and honestly, it’s been that way for a long time. Thirty years ago, I had a sales manager that taught me to get 5-10 referrals BEFORE I did my presentation. My focus has always been getting referrals and introductions. However, (This is absolutely true.) I often found myself with so many referrals that I had no sense of urgency. I was never gonna get to all of them anyway, so I’d just plod along. Not worry about closing. Before I knew it, I was in a slump. So, my very wise sales manager says, “Bring all your referrals into my office. We’ll do an analysis and figure out what’s happening.” I probably had 100 pages with 500-1,000 leads, referrals, etc. Some had been contacted, some not. So, he takes the whole pile, starts looking through them, asking questions,”Is this all of them? Anything good here? What about this batch? What’s this mean? etc.”

Then he shredded them! All of them! Imagine what I was thinking. I’m in the middle of a slump and this creep is shredding my only hope of get myself out of it. I was bullsh*t! What are you trying to do to me? Am I fired? What am I gonna do now?

Very calmly, he asked me, “How’d you get so many referrals?”

I asked!

Go ask for more.


Everybody you meet.

What choice did I have? Go door to door or ask for referrals. So, I went door to door asking for referrals.

End of slump.

The next time that I’m in a slump, he tells me to bring my referrals into his office. I tell him that I remember what happened last time and I wasn’t gonna let him do it again. He told me to trust him and give him the papers. When I did, without hesitation, he shredded them again! Then he told me, “You know what to do.”

End of slump.

The next time that I was in a slump, he tells me to get all my referrals and shred them. “What am I stupid?”

“What happened the last two times we shredded your security blanket?”


End of slump.

So…lost your edge? No sense of urgency? Feeling comfortable?

Shred your cushion and start over.

5 thoughts on “Starting Over

  1. I had a big smile on my face the entire time I read this post. One reason is that it is comical. The second reason is that I knew who you were talking about. The third reason is that I could picture it so vividly. But the biggest reason I was smiling so hard is that it is such good advice. Great post!

  2. Rick, that was an awesome story, a great lesson, and it’s also made me a bit uncomfortable. Shred my security blanket??? Can I just hand it to you and shield my eyes (and hide my tears, since I’m so attached)?

  3. This reminds me of every time your Father built us a new house..When I had reached the point that no matter what you did to the house, nothing made it better. At that point I made your Father understand that it was time to build a new one. So it was “get rid of the old and start new”.

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