Get More Speaking Referrals with the ‘One Thing’ Question

Updated to Business, Speaking on January 23, 2023.

You were brilliant! The audience leaned in for each point and scribbled your clever tweetables – heck you even finished 2 minutes early.

Now it’s time to get referrals—you know, the stuff that puts food on the table.

Of course, you can ask for referrals, and you should. But, there’s one way that always guarantees more work…prove your stuff works.

Just like your local plumber, mechanic, or handyman – if your stuff works, you get more work. Simple.

And I discovered the best way to prove your insights, lessons, and clever innuendos worked is to, well, ask them!

The One Thing question

Years ago it hit me that grinning from ear to ear accepting gratuitous platitudes didn’t teach me a damn thing.

Sure, we all want to feel the love, but wouldn’t you also like to know what part of your speech hit home?

Enter the One Thing question.

For everyone who comes to talk with me, buy a book, or ask a question, I always, always ask them what is the one thing in my speech that made a difference. And they always do the same thing…

They stop talking.

And then they give me the best free market research possible – what I need to do more of.

If they say they learned tips they can use – great! I’ll include more of them.

If they tell me they feel more empowered – great! I’ll spend more time on motivation.

And if they tell me one lesson made all the difference – great! I’ll promote that lesson more.

Getting referrals

The trick to getting referrals is to tell your client what you learned. In other words, share what their audience told you about your speech.

You see, it’s much more powerful to tell your client 5 people just told you exactly what they’re planning to do. That’s ROI!

In many cases, I debrief with the client on the spot, other times I write a quick follow-up at the airport on my way home. Either way, I want my client to know I have evidence that my work works.

Want more referrals? Start asking the One Thing question.