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Referrals for Dating

May 9, 2009 | by Bob Burg

How to adapt a successful business strategy for the purpose of finding your soul mate.

You want to meet The One. Sure, you have friends, Aunt Bessie, and even a rabbi looking out for you. You attend some SpeedDating events and are a member of All of these are good ideas, but there's another key step you can take to increase the odds that meeting your beshert will come sooner rather than later.

It's called "Networking." Now you might be thinking, "Networking isn't for me. I'm not the hustler type who can just walk through a crowded room, shaking hands with everyone, introducing myself and sticking a business card in everyone's face. No thanks."

I don't blame you. But that's because the idea of Networking is very misunderstood. So for the sake of this discussion, let's define Networking as the "Cultivating of mutually beneficial, give and take, win/win relationships." And you can utilize the principles and skills of Networking in order to meet your beshert.

You can get lots of referrals without coming across as pushy or aggressive.

The goal in Networking is to meet not only potential mates, but to meet people who will know of potential mates and will want to introduce you. With the right approach, you can form relationships with these referral sources without ever coming across as pushy, aggressive or in any way less than humble.

The premise, which was developed for building business contacts, can be adapted for our purposes as follows:

All things being equal, people will want to introduce their friends to those whom they know, like and trust."

It has been documented that most people know about 250 other people. Therefore, every time you develop a relationship with one new person who "knows you, likes you and trusts you," you've just increased your sphere of influence by a potential 250 people!

Opportunities constantly arise to meet people -- at local business events, synagogue, a charity function, your nephew's ballgame and myriad other places. The key is to develop relationships in a way that is fun, non-intimidating (to you, as well as them), and effective.

Movie of the Week

So how do you get people to "know you, like you and trust you"? Let's say you meet someone at a local business or social event. Many people feel they need to do most of the talking in order to sustain a conversation. This can often be counterproductive and uncomfortable for both people.

Instead, let the conversation happen naturally, and in such a way that this new person enjoys the conversation as much as, if not more than, you do.

How? Ask questions. But not just any questions. And not personal questions. Instead, use Feel-Good Questions.® These are designed to put the person with whom you are speaking at ease, and begin the rapport-building process. And these questions will not come off as invasive or intrusive.

For example: Find out what line of work the other person is in, and then ask, "How did you get started in that field?" I call this the "Movie of the Week" question because most people love the opportunity to "tell their story" to someone. This, in a world where most people don't care enough to want to know the other person's story. But other people are fascinating (perhaps even as much as you are!), and I guarantee if you make a genuine effort to be interested, it will be interesting!

A good follow-up question: "What do you enjoy most about what you do?"

The One Key Question

Once you've begun to establish a nice rapport, and this person feels good about you, it's time for the "One Key Question" that will set you apart from everyone else:

"Gary, how can I know if someone I'm speaking with would be a good connection for you?"

Why is this question so powerful? First, just by asking it you've separated yourself from everyone else. You are probably the only person he has ever met who asked him this question during the first conversation. You have implied that you are concerned with his welfare and wish to contribute to his success. Most people would be focused on trying to sell their own product or service (or themselves!), but not you.

How can I know if someone is a good connection for you?

Let's say that Gary sells copying machines. After thinking about it for a moment, he suggests that the next time you walk by a copying machine, notice whether the accompanying wastepaper basket is overflowing with tons of crumpled-up pieces of paper. He says: "That's a good sign the copying machine has been breaking down a lot. And that's a good prospect for me."

You've given Gary the feeling that by just by associating with you, his success is going to increase. That of course makes you more "attractive" (no, not in the romantic sense) to that person, who feels a vested interest in cultivating an association with you.

The Payoff

At this point, if you've done your job right, you've met lots of high-quality people, and cultivated relationships where many people "know you, like you, and trust you."

But how does this translate to finding a spouse?

Like any Law of Life, those who give with genuine caring seem to have it returned to them many times; not always from the source to whom they gave, but from unexpected sources (directed by the Ultimate Source).

So you'll need to let your contacts know that you're "in the market." Sit down with them over coffee to discuss this, and make sure you provide some parameters, so they exactly who your desired "prospects" are.

I guarantee that since they "know you, like you and trust you," they'll be only too happy to connect you with people they know.

Keep in mind that marketing (and this is, after all, self-marketing) is a numbers game. With the Networking system, you exponentially increase your odds. The more people you meet, the better your chances of meeting that special One.

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