Referral Trigger for the week of November 26

Conversation led this week by the Emory Teamall responses welcome. (100% Responses)

Name one of your GateOpener classifications, then tell us the difference between the individual

in that industry who is a GateOpener for you, and the person who is not. 


Does the person who 

is not a GateOpener overlap with you?

Or do they not value your service?

Or do they not get value from the activity of referring? 


Comment below to share your perspective.

22 Responses to Referral Trigger for the week of November 26
  1. Samuel Lysinger
    November 23, 2012 | 10:08 am

    One of my GateOpeners is an Internet Marketing Firm. The Firm that is a gate opener for me is interested in working with me and building a relationship, as opposed to just trying to sell me their services. Too many are just trying to sell me their services.

  2. Shelia Brown, Ph.D.
    November 25, 2012 | 9:01 pm

    I find senior managers to be good GateOpeners. Senior managers are typically impacted most by organizational change decisions. Often they are assigned to act as change agents and are responsible for communicating and implementing new processes, organizational changes, methods, and procedures. And more often than not they have the ear of the decision-maker and can be an advocate for hiring my management consulting services. Ironically, HR Generalists employed by the organization are not always my best GateOpeners because they are usually focused on the priorities of executive leadership.

  3. Shelia Brown, Ph.D.
    November 25, 2012 | 9:25 pm

    Business Coaches, Staffing Specialists, Marketing Specialists, and Business Consultants are also my GateOpeners for our consulting services complement each other. While these specialists and consultants focus on the “what” in business solutions, my services can provide the other half of an end-to-end solution by focusing on the “how”.

  4. Cal Anderson
    November 26, 2012 | 4:50 pm

    One of my gateopener classifications are business bankers, because they have great relationships with business owners. The best gateopeners for me in this industry are folks at local and community banks, as opposed to individuals employed by the giant, monster, mega-banks. The reason for this is that the mega-banks, because of their size, generally try to “do it all” for their clients. They may have different financial services in house, and specifically relating to me, insurance operations. This works to limit possible referrals outside of the branch, therefore representatives of these large banks are not prime gateopener connections for me. The only nuance to this downside is that those individuals probably will not work for that mega-bank their whole career.

  5. Ana Lawless
    November 26, 2012 | 9:40 pm

    The most obvious, and yet not, GateOpeners for me are CPAs. Some CPAs provide all accounting services in-house – this includes the service I provide: bookkeeping. Other CPAs focus on tax-planning, audits, CFO-for-hire services and do not offer bookkeeping services to their clients. With the latter, we complement each other very well. In the case of the former, there is definite overlap. I believe they do see the value in my service, but if the CPA is just starting out they will most often provide full-service to their clients – from the day-to-day bookkeeping through tax planning and preparation. As these practices grow, I tend to see referrals come my way as they focus on developing the more specialized services in their business. Of course, some simply prefer to be the “one stop shop” for their clients.

  6. Clay Jeffreys
    November 27, 2012 | 2:52 pm

    Real estate agents are great gate openers for me. I am looking to meet any great real estate agent, and specifically meet those who classify themselves as a buyer’s agent or a full service agent. Someone who identifies themselves as a listing agent may not be a great fit. While the current home owner of the house they are listing may need to purchase a home, it seems “listing-only” agents are not as open to meeting with mortgage brokers.

  7. Bill Kelly
    November 27, 2012 | 5:59 pm

    Mortgage Professionals are great gate openers for me. I appreciate those people in that industry that take a “holistic” approach, not a one size fits all transaction attitude. When they approach the subject of insurance, my best gate openers offer suggestions for possible savings and/or coverage options with referring me in mind. Some just tell their clients to send them a copy of their current insurance without asking or offering any alternatives. Some of the “monster megas” even farm out the insurance to third party broker or an 800 customer “no service” outlet. (Thanks C Howard for the terms used in this remark)

  8. Rob Schenk
    November 27, 2012 | 6:06 pm

    80-90% of my practice is business litigation and trial work, which normally results from business relationships dissolving. When those relationships go bad, companies will usually go the the attorney that handled their initial organization or transaction. As such, the Business Law Attorney classification is a great gate opener for me. Many Business Law Attorneys do not do trial work and refer that work out. By extension, Business Law Attorneys that do both (like me) would not be good gate openers, as the overlap my services 100%.

  9. Robert Schenk
    November 27, 2012 | 6:07 pm

    80-90% of my practice is business litigation and trial work, which normally results from business relationships dissolving. When those relationships go bad, companies will usually go the the attorney that handled their initial organization or transaction. As such, the Business Law Attorney classification is a great gate opener for me. Many Business Law Attorneys do not do trial work and refer that work out. By extension, Business Law Attorneys that do both (like me) would not be good gate openers, as the overlap my services 100%.

  10. Will Smith
    November 27, 2012 | 6:49 pm

    As a criminal defense attorney my practice obviously revolves around people who have been arrested for something. Typically it is DUI and Drugs, but I represent a wide variety of defendants. It is therefore difficult to narrow down a “gate opener” for me because anyone who breaks the law (which actually includes almost everyone I know) is a prospect. What I’ve learned, however, is that many of my clients tend to be one of the following (or both):

    Young high school or college students/ Restaurant employees.

    Both of these groups tend to be around a fair amount of drugs and alcohol. Because of this, good gate openers for me tend to be guidance counselors and bartenders. While I think that school principals and restaurant owners might also open the gate for me, they are probably less likely to be the first one informed of someone’s bad deed. Essentially, what makes the counselor and bartender good gate openers for me is that they are naturally in a position on the grapevine to hear about an arrest or trouble with police before those higher up in the chain of command.

  11. Chris Handley
    November 27, 2012 | 8:03 pm

    One unique gate opener for Snowball Creative Group is a boutique, fashion, retail store owner in the Atlanta area. They work with supply vendors on a day-to-day basis and often hear complaints about their own website design, or lack of a website. Retail store owners outside the Atlanta are may be difficult to connect with in person, but it’s worth an introduction to Snowball.

  12. Matt Harvey
    November 27, 2012 | 8:44 pm

    As an electronic security sales person, Realtors and insurance agents are my best gateopeners. With that being said, there really isn’t a person in either of those classifications that would NOT be a gateopener for me. Even the clients of listing realtors are moving somewhere…

    The fortunate thing of being in my industry in regards to referrals is that pretty much everyone is a gateopener for me, it just depends to what degree.

    Matt Harvey
    Senior Security Consultant

  13. Rebecca Zimmerman
    November 27, 2012 | 11:35 pm

    As an Amway Independent Business Owner, I know that anyone can be a good referral or gate-opener for me. I look for two types of prospects — business partners and customers. The profile of individuals who have successfully joined the Amway business enterprise and built large businesses range from successful professionals such as doctors and lawyers to individuals who have had less external success. Amway folks come from all walks of life and demographics — even other multi-level business enterprises.

    As far as customers are concerned, the main lines of business I promote are the Nutrilite supplement line, Artistry skin care and cosmetics and Ribbon Gift and Incentive Program.

    Rebecca Zimmerman
    Amway Independent Business Owner

  14. David Cox
    November 28, 2012 | 1:20 am

    As a closing attorney, mortgage professionals have historically served as my best gateopeners. Ironically, I’ve had great success developing lasting relationships with mortgage loan officers when unanticipated difficulties arise. It’s at those times when I most often hear, “The attorney I’ve been using never did that for my borrower. Can you handle more of my closings?”

    Actions, of course, speak louder than words. I haven’t had much success cold-calling mortgage offices attempting to explain why I’m a great resource. Their responses are overwhelmingly more positive after they’ve seen me in action. 🙂

  15. Sheila Kozak
    November 28, 2012 | 11:32 am

    One of the GateOpener classifications for me are bookkeepers. Bookkeepers and CPAs can make a great team for a client when working together and referrals will go both ways. However, when bookkeepers also prepare tax returns, this individual would then overlap with me. Due to the overlap and resulting competition, the referral opportunities are not there so this would be an example of when a bookkeeper would not be a good GateOpener.

  16. Jo Kenney
    November 28, 2012 | 11:38 am

    One of my best gate openers is a the HR director for a corporation, who can refer new hires coming into Atlanta nad looking for a home. There really is not a category of that gate opener that is not a good resource for me, unless they have their real estate license.

  17. Claire Bell
    November 28, 2012 | 11:40 am

    Since I specialize in decorating and remodeling homes, financial advisors are great not-so-obvious gate-openers for me. They are in a position to counsel clients about setting aside funds for projects such as kitchen & bath remodels or redecorating plans that include items such as upholstery, rugs, and lighting. Clients considering home transformations want referrals from trusted advisors with credibility and a high level of accountability. When a client enlists a financial advisor to manage their money, they place a high level of trust in this person. When I oversee remodeling projects, I have a similar level of reponsibility because more often than not, the home is the client’s greatest financial asset. The financial advisor who recommends me reaps value from the knowledge that I am not your average project coordinator–I bring a high level of accountability and ability to manage technical details from self-leveling concrete to even out the floors of a historic bungalow to the right chandelier chosen to anchor a dining space in which light and color establish a mood and look for the entire house. In short, I use both sides of the brain–selecting beautiful home decor pieces from a myriad of lines that are not available through retail locations, but also strong construction knowledge and the follow-up skills to make sure that every last punch item gets taken care of both to the client’s satisfaction and to mine…

  18. David Tannen
    November 28, 2012 | 2:14 pm

    A good gate opener for me is a therapist. Often, they are the first to know if a marraige is ending and/or any custodial needs/changes that are required for minor children. A good gate opener in this area specializes in family and child therapy. A less beneficial gate orpener in this area specializes in treatment of chronic psychological issues (e.g. paranoia and schizophrenia).

  19. Randi Stillman
    November 28, 2012 | 7:49 pm

    One of my GateOpeners is a GRAPHIC DESIGNER, who creates marketing material for companies. Marketing material includes logos, web sites, brochures, banners, packaging, print or web-based advertising, and other visual communications with a company’s prospects and customers.

    A VALUED Graphic Designer GateOpener refers a business owner to me for guidance on developing a customized marketing strategy with tactics to obtain measurable results. S/he also turns to me to advise on the direction, content, and/or format of marketing materials, which I base on marketplace research.

    A graphic designer who is NOT a GateOpener is usually more of an artist than a marketer. This individual typically measures success aesthetically rather than by how well it is designed to achieve strategically-driven business results, and does not follow up with clients to find out.

  20. Gerrell Sterling
    November 29, 2012 | 11:30 am

    A business consultant is a great Gateopener for me. Since the consultant is going into businesses with an eye toward fixing problems, and since those problems will often be technology related or have technological solutions, the consultant will naturally refer technology related issues to me.

    The difference between a business consultant who is a Gateopener for me and one who isn’t lies in the consultant’s perception and focus. If they focus exclusively on leadership styles, for instance, then they will overlook tech issues.

  21. Charles Turner
    November 29, 2012 | 3:51 pm

    Graphic Designers are usually very good gate openers depending on the circumstances. They can be direct customers and I have had some hand off marginally profitable customers direct to me. They can and will bow out of the printing all together and refer me direct to the end user. In some cases they can be a competitor since there are quite a few web based printers now. The difference is usually the price point or the required service needed…ie they can get it quicker at my shop and see it before it delivers to their customer. Even though firms like Vista Print are very cost effective, they ship in their boxes and with their tag lines included which can cause major issues with the end user. Sewell ships/delivers in blind boxes and shipping documentation for all of our wholesale (yes even other printing companies and brokers) customers.

  22. Karen Powell
    November 30, 2012 | 12:13 pm

    As a Certified Financial Planner who offers cash flow management strategies and full financial planning services, business brokers are a good referral for me because they may have a candidate who is not quite ready to sell their business and they need to improve their cash flow, in which case I may provide a service. Or if the business owner is in the process of selling their business, they may want an analysis regarding what net amount of the sale is required to provide a sustainable retirement income. I can provide that analysis. However, business brokers who only concentrate on sales of $30mill or more may not be a good referral source as such a transaction may involve so many players, I may not have a reliable referral -as the business owner(s) may be pulled in many directions.

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