Frank Agin: Why You Are Not Getting Referrals (Even If You Network A Lot)

December 14, 2023
Networking for referrals can be a valuable strategy for business owners and professionals looking to expand their reach, increase visibility, and create potential partnerships. However, many people find themselves overwhelmed by networking and frustrated by the lack of referrals they receive. In this podcast episode, Mari-Liis Vaher from Powerful Marketers interviews Frank Agin, a thought leader in business networking and professional relationships since 1997. Frank shares his insights on 3 common mistakes people make when networking.

Mistake #1: There is no relationship

The first mistake people make is being too focused on the quantity of networking events or meetings they attend. They go from one meeting to another, trying to meet as many people as possible, but end up feeling overwhelmed and unable to keep up with all the connections they've made. Having a large number of connections on platforms like LinkedIn does not necessarily equate to having meaningful relationships. It is not enough to simply be connected to someone; they must also know, like, and trust you. Building relationships takes time and effort, and it is important to go beyond surface-level interactions. People are more likely to refer those they have a genuine connection with, so investing in building relationships is crucial.

Mistake #2: Not understanding what is a good referral for you

The second reason why people are not getting referrals is the failure to create recognition in people's minds as to how to spot a referral. It is not enough for people to know and like you; they must also understand what kind of referrals you are seeking. Effective communication is key in this aspect. Clearly articulating your needs and the type of referrals you are looking for can help others identify opportunities and refer you to the right people. 

Mistake #3: Not knowing how to talk about what you do

The third reason is a breakdown in communication when opportunities for referrals arise. Even if people know, like, and trust you, they may not know what to say or how to approach the referral. It is important to provide clear guidance and information to make it easier for others to refer you. By giving them the necessary tools and knowledge, you increase the likelihood of receiving valuable referrals.

In conclusion, relationships are the foundation for obtaining referrals. Building genuine connections, creating recognition, and facilitating effective communication are essential in maximizing referral opportunities. Networking for referrals requires a focus on quality over quantity and a willingness to invest time and effort into nurturing relationships. No one wins alone, and by prioritizing relationships, we increase our chances of receiving valuable referrals that can contribute to business growth and success.


  • "There have been studies done at Harvard. It was done over years and years. But loneliness is worse for your health than smoking. We need people in our lives." (00:03:01)
  • “We do business with those we know, we like, we trust.” (00:08:32)
  • "And it's entirely possible that there are people out there, they're known, and they're liked, but people don't necessarily trust them. And I always tell people there's really two aspects to trust. One aspect of trust is they have to believe in your honesty. And then the second aspect of trust is that they have to believe in your reliability or your capability.” (00:09:58)
  • “[My parents], they knew me. They liked me. They trusted me. I never got a referral from my parents. Never. You know why? Because I never explained to my parents what a good referral would be for me.” (00:13:57)
  • “But if they don't know how to recognize opportunities, you're not going to get a referral." (00:14:32)
  • “And I tell people, it's your job. If you're looking for referrals, it's your responsibility to get the people around you to understand what it means. It's not their responsibility to learn all about you.” (00:17:40)
  • “And we need to empower people with that language. When you see this, recognize me. When you hear this, recognize it could be a good opportunity for me.” (00:29:04)
  • “But the exercise I give in my organization is, what I tell people is, don't tell me what you do. Don't tell me you're a marketer. Tell me when you do it.” (00:33:36)


  • [00:02:53] Why should we network?
  • [00:07:53] Mistake #1: There is no relationship
  • [00:12:55] Mistake #2: Failure to create recognition
  • [00:24:07] Mistake #3: Not knowing how to talk about what you do


Connect with Frank Agin:

What inspires Frank into action:

Here's the full episode on YouTube:

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