Your #1 Mistake:

You Aren’t Looking for Referral Partners in Shoulder Industries

Here’s What That Means…

There are professionals who’d love to partner with and refer you business. They just don’t know you exist (yet)!

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I’m Sara Hardwick,GIFT∙OLOGY’s community relationship strategist.

Based on the information you’ve shared (and the little I know about your situation), the #1 mistake limiting your true referral potential is:

You aren’t looking for referral partners in shoulder industries.

This is a widespread issue. Many leaders limit their search for referral partners to existing customers or familiar industry sectors. This narrow focus pins professionals against each other as everyone chases the same people. What you want, instead, are unique, high-quality connections that others overlook. That’s how you build a defensive moat for your business, not by sucking up to current clients.

Complete Breakdown:

“Why does this challenge occur?”
Oftentimes it’s a lack of knowledge, both in identifying shoulder professionals and knowing how to approach them. This gap perpetuates feelings of scarcity and frustration. Thoughts such as “I could succeed wildly at this business, but I’m feeling stuck or overwhelmed” are common at this stage. The good news? Your big break exists, if you know who to seek and what to say.

“What behaviors or experiences mark this challenge?”
Your weekly agenda may allocate time for networking, but it’s often untargeted and hit-or-miss. Maybe you’ve moved past networking, recognizing that a scattered approach does NOT work. Consequently, leaders in this stage often feel stuck, causing them to chase experts, programs, or marketing techniques that make grand (but hollow) promises.

“What’s a major pitfall for people at this stage?”
The #1 bad habit is relying solely on your existing network for referrals, resulting in inconsistent new business. By not actively seeking out referral partners in shoulder industries, you miss out on expanding your reach and tapping into new networks. It’s often a flawed, customer-centric mindset — not just poor technique.

“What if this mistake isn’t fixed?”
If left unchecked, this mistake will lead to missed opportunities and stagnation in your business. By depending on the same client pool and failing to attract new relationships, leaders in this stage find themselves ‘chasing business’ and ‘treading water’ instead of drawing high-value customers who value their premium expertise.

3 Immediate Action Steps:

#1. Identify 30-50 shoulder industries, both common and uncommon, where referral partners could exist (we use artificial intelligence for this).

#2. Prioritize 5-10, high-opportunity, shoulder industries you will “major in.” Investigate the trends, challenges, regulations, and main players in each.

#3. Make a list of 10+ people in your network who are connected to these industries. Individuals who can open doors and introduce you to others.

As a resource for our community, we have a case study and conversation template that takes the awkwardness out of approaching these individuals.
(After following the outline, most will want to help you.)

Go Even Deeper:

Is building a complete, top-to-bottom, referral system your next big move?

Being straightforward here: we have a step-by-step course tailored to this very topic.

But let’s book a call to chat more about your results and get your questions answered. And I’ll even GIVE you some proprietary information from the PAID membership community, tailored to your business and relationship needs.

And then, if you want, I’ll give you the details of our membership.
(In my experience, I think you’ll want ‘em. But it’s up to you – no pressure!)

Regardless if you join the R.I.C.H Relationship Society or not – I want to help you win! I want to GIVE! And there’s nothing I have that’s more valuable than my time. And yours.

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