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Jacky Sherman

The Consultant's Consultant

07970 638857


Referral Marketing: It's A Numbers Game

How many in your network?


Posted by Jacky Sherman on 18/10/2023 @ 8:00AM

Whenever you talk to trainers about sales and marketing, sooner or later, they will tell you that it's a number's game. So here are some numbers to get you thinking about the referral results you get from your network ...


In 2018 according to LinkedIn, I was connected to 1,051 people, which means that there were 10,886,861 professionals in my network. 4 years on that number has increased considerably.

"So what? Does this mean I have a meaningful relationship with millions of people or even the thousand-plus who have connected with me? Of course not!"

Anthropologist Robin Dunbar calculated that the human brain is only capable of maintaining about 150 close relationships. His - and others - analysis of human communities shows that to be effective even large organisations actually have functioning groups of about 150 individuals and this is where the loyalty and relationships that motivate and bind people actually reside.

The logic goes that if you add new relationships this means someone drops out of your circle. When you think about it this explains why we lose touch so quickly with people when we change jobs or move house. We meet new people and form new relationships and the old ones get left behind. Or we go back to see old friends or colleagues and somehow the friendship isn't there anymore. Our - and their - brains just can't cope!

Now, referral marketing is all about having breadth as well as depth in your business relationships. So having wide and diverse links is useful to find both your own customers and to refer to your network.

"Most of your referrals will come from your close relationships, those magic 150 who form the heart of your business community!"

So my tip this week is to list your top 150 relationships, counting in friends, family, customers, suppliers, colleagues, referral partners and other business contacts.

  • Now short list those who potentially could refer you?

  • When did they last refer you?

  • When did you last refer them?

  • Have they ever referred you more than once?

If that seems like a tough call to you and you're not coming up with many names of people who refer you then give me a call and we can work through how to increase the return on your investment in all these people.

Until next time ...



Would you like to know more?

If anything I've written in this blog post resonates with you and you're not coming up with many names, it may be a great idea to give me a call on 07970 638857. Let's have an initial chat over a coffee and see how I can help you.

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