Liam Austin is the co-founder of Entrepreneurs HQ and a virtual event strategist, having launched over 15 virtual summits and online business networking events, hosting over 400 speakers whilst educating 100,000+ business owners through his programs.
Virtual Summit Academy is Liam’s 6-week implementation program which makes it easy for people to create their own online summits and virtual conferences to grow their email list, authority, impact, and revenue. Liam is also the creator of the Million Dollar Virtual Summit Program,
where he partners with select clients to generate seven figures.
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Resources Mentioned in this Episode:
Free Gift: Virtual Summit Kickstarter Checklist
3 Key Points:
- Everyone knows referrals are the best form of leads you can possibly get.
- Referral Process and Steps:
-Ask for a referral
-Make it easy for them, by giving them the script to introduce you
-Ask them to CC you on the email and then take it from there
- Scripts should always be short, simple, personalized, should have a link for them to take immediate action.
[2:39] When we get leads coming into the business, coming from different sources, the ones that convert the most are the ones that have been referred to me.
[2:53] When someone recommends your business, then that leads coming through is going to be more likely to convert, they’re going to be a much better quality customer for you and ready to take action because they’re trusting the person that referred them and they’re being told about this because it’s something that they’ve shown interest in and they want to get a solution to this issue or problem.
[4:26] Most businesses don’t ask for the referral. They just hope that happy customers or people that hear about the business are going to talk about it and share it on the social media world that we live in. Now. It’s so easy to talk about businesses and share good experiences.
[4:48] You need to ask for the referral from your prospects from your customers and especially from happy customers like your ideal clients that you love working with you.
[7:44] Email is the channel that provides the highest conversion rate and spends the most with you. So you’ve got referrals, right, that convert the highest and spend the most with you combining that with email, and you’ve got a super high chance of converting those leads into customers because the referral that has come from your best customer is coming via email now.
[9:13] You incentivize people to actually refer people. So you’re giving them rewards for referring your business.
[13:38] Those rewards should be aligned with ultimately what you want to sell and give people a taste and a high amount of value so that they love what they’re getting. And they want more.
[19:29] Just by being yourself is being true to your heart, I suppose in this case, then you’re going to attract the right people, people are going to resonate with you and what you have to say and your beliefs and how you go about your process to get results.
For FULL Transcript click here:
Christine Schlonski [0:02]
Hi Gorgeous. This is episode number 303 with the amazing Liam Austin.
Liam Austin [0:07]
Hey, this is Liam Austin, you’re listening to Heart Sells! Podcast with Christine Schlonski. Enjoy.
Christine Schlonski [0:14]
I’m so looking forward to dive into the conversation with Liam, “The Perfect Automated Referral System” is our topic today. And Liam has managed to educate over 100,000 business owners through his programs. Liam Austin is the co-founder of Entrepreneur HQ, and a virtual event strategist, having launched over 15 virtual summits, and online business networking events. His programs “Virtual Summit Academy” and “The Million Dollar Virtual Summit” helps entrepreneurs to grow their businesses in a beautiful way. And as you probably know, my work by now a little bit, I love summits. I do summits on a regular basis. And I am inspired by summits. And I am inspired by Liam’s success story. So let’s dive right in. Well, I am so super excited to have you on today, Liam, welcome.
Liam Austin [1:09]
Yeah, cheers, Christine, excited to chat with you today.
Christine Schlonski [1:12]
Yeah, I know, you’ve been part of The Heart Centered Lead Generation Summit. And I just love the content you shared, you shared so much value all around having a virtual summit, getting clients from it and so valuable. So I’m really, really excited to have you back on the podcast, and you know, to get more pieces of wisdom for the audience. And we just had a little chat before. And obviously, it’s been a process and you know, finding your business, fine-tuning your business, and becoming one of the go-to people when it comes to virtual summits. And we talked about referrals. So let’s start right in with this important topic, because I feel a lot of people leave money on the table because they don’t really know a) what a referral is b) how to use it or how to make the best out of it. So let’s start right in.
Liam Austin [2:10]
Fantastic. So yeah, we’ve been running our own online business since 2015, where referrals have been the number one source of leads, like 80-90% of our database of prospects come from people referring us business. And that’s 100,000 plus leads across the last few years, which has been, like phenomenal. Because when we get leads coming into the business, coming from different sources, the ones that convert the most are the ones that have been referred to me because it’s pretty simple. I think most small business owners know that when someone recommends your business, then that leads coming through is going to be more likely to convert, they’re going to be a much better quality customer for you and ready to take action because they’re trusting the person that referred them. And they’re being told about this because it’s something that they’ve shown interest in and they want to get a solution to this issue or problem. So when we’re getting these referrals coming in, we know that they’re more likely to be a better customer for us and more likely to spend more in the business too. So we always look at identifying partnerships where we can get referrals into the business, knowing that that’s our best source of leads.
Christine Schlonski [3:38]
Awesome. So how can people who are listening now, can take that thought and kind of try to implement it in their business? So let’s just say we have a consultant or coach or a healer listening in or creative, and they, you know, have a service that they probably want to sell. And maybe that’s one on one coaching, maybe it’s group coaching, can they use referrals, even though they have not yet scaled to online programs?
Liam Austin [4:09]
Yeah, like, the thing is that everyone knows referrals are the best form of leads you can possibly get, like, I’ve explained why there are so much data and stats out there that show that they spend more they convert better. So the problem is that most businesses don’t ask for the referral. They just hope that happy customers or people that hear about the business are going to talk about it and share it on the social media world that we live in now. It’s so easy to talk about businesses and share good experiences. But the reality is, you need to ask. You need to ask for the referral from your prospects from your customers and especially from happy customers like your ideal clients that you love working with you get good results for these are the number one people, you should be asking for referrals, do you know anyone that you think could benefit from the top results that we got for you? Oh, yes, I can think of two or three people. Okay, what are their names? You know, write them down? Can you provide an introduction? Okay, fantastic. Here’s a template that you can use, make it super easy for them to just make the referral, as well.
Liam Austin [5:26]
So first of all, asking a referral, second will make it easy for them, by giving them the script to introduce you to their colleagues, friends, and they don’t have to use this script perfectly, but it gives some idea of what to write. And then to say, Yep, just gonna cc me in the email, and I’ll take it from there. So you’ve given them everything they need, all they need to do is copy-paste the template input in the email addresses of people that you want to refer to you. And you know, those leads, just start coming through to you so that the process there is really, really simple, right? You ask for it, and then you just give a template to get them to actually take action on it. If they don’t do it within a few days or a week or at a time, like a time that you feel is appropriate, then you can always follow up with them and just ask, hey, do you mind doing that introduction, because I’ve been thinking about this person we discussed. And I really think we can help them da da da da da.
Liam Austin [6:26]
Always personalize it and make sure that you look after your best customers at the end of the day, because they’re going to be your hottest source of referrals and leads. So that’s the simplest way to do it. But you can automate this as well, which makes it even easier, right. Set it up once and then you don’t have to worry about making the ask ever again. Because it’s automatically asking your clients for you. And automatically giving them a template, and the ability to share it across multiple different platforms like so talking about social media, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, but also inside messengers for Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp, all the other ones that are available now. But then, also, email, email is the number one channel for most online businesses to convert customers, so convert them into a lead magnet into a webinar, into a summit, into a sale. But when you are looking to convert a lead, when they’re coming from email versus social media versus the messenger platforms, email is still, again, the channel that provides the highest conversion rate and spends the most with you.
Liam Austin [7:52]
So you’ve got referrals, right, that convert the highest and spend the most with you combining that with email, and you’ve got a super high chance of converting those leads into customers because the referral that has come from your best customer coming via email now. Okay, awesome. This sounds great. How do I automate it? There are tools online that allow you to do this, pretty simply, my favorite is “Early Parrot”. It just integrates seamlessly into the background of your existing process. So it’s white-labeled, people don’t even know you’re using external software to be able to do this. And you set it up once, and every single new email subscriber or person you add to your database, your CRM system will be put into that referral sequence that will automatically ask them for referral and set up a template to make it easy for them to go and actually, yes, share this, what you’re offering with their connections and their own audience.
Liam Austin [9:06]
But then, on top of this, like, how do we even accelerate this even further? You incentivize people to actually refer people. So you’re giving them rewards for referring your business. Pretty simple. It’s like what we must do anyway, with small business. If you refer me to a customer, I’ll give you a 20% discount or give you this bonus or whatever it might be right. So give them a reward for introducing you to someone and I’ll give you an example of that for our email list. Our email list every single person that is added to our email list into our database into our CRM system, they go into the Early Parrot email sequence, and they get asked, you know, to bring along a friend to one of our events, one of our summits, or to download a report or a checklist or whatever it might be our lead magnet. So once they’re invited to do that, and they’re able to refer, say, just two people to opt in to our webinar, summit, our lead magnet, then they’re going to be rewarded with a gift after just sending us two referrals.
Liam Austin [10:22]
And this is two referrals that are just free, adding two more people to our database, they haven’t purchased anything, they’re just two more high quality leads being added to our database that have been referred by an existing subscriber, prospect customer. So that’s with two there’s a prize for just sending two referrals. But what if they send 10 or 25, right? We also have tiers for that. So there’s a prize that just gives two referrals, another prize and rewards it at 10 referrals and then a funnel reward at 25 referrals and that just incentivizes people to actually go out there and actively share it, invite. Yeah, you’re asking, asking is good. But they can say No, well, how about if I upped the ante a little bit and carried them, incentivize them to actually go and share it.
Liam Austin [11:15]
I’m giving them the templates, I’m making it really easy already, I’m giving them a unique link that’s automatically generated with Early Parrot to go and share this that tracks it. And they can check out how they’re going on the leaderboard, how many referrals they’ve made. And it automatically sends them the gift once they’ve hit those three price levels. So all of this is pretty simple stuff. Works really effectively. And it is a one-time setup, and it’s automated for every single lead that comes into your business. So that is the crux of it, really. And it’s been the reason why our business has grown so fast over the last few years. And we can attribute 20% of our actual subscriber base, our 20% of our leads coming from this automation of the referral process. So adding 20% of your leads to our database, which has been phenomenal for our revenue, as well as just growth as a company.
Christine Schlonski [12:19]
Yeah, awesome. So when we talk about those referrals, then it’s not that you sell them like a high-end offer. It’s like how to get them even on your email list. So you can nurture them. They can get to know your work, they can get an invitation to one of your online summits or to a webinar. But it’s basically not like what a coach would think like, oh, well referral, if somebody tells me to send a person for, you know, one on one coaching. It’s like automation is more like the wider step where you can attract people at a lower commitment, like something for free. So they have the opportunity to get to know you.
Liam Austin [13:04]
Yeah, exactly. Like so for a coach. I mean, you probably have a free strategy session or something along those lines. Yeah, use that. Use that. So someone has taken your free strategy session. Hey, do you know anyone else that you think could benefit from a free strategy session like this? Oh yes I know, three, four people that I was just talking with last week. Okay, great. Why don’t you connect us and I’ll give you this reward, which may be access to extra training, extra strategy sessions, mastermind coaching, whatever it is, but you can work this out so that those rewards align with ultimately what you want to sell. So if ultimately, you want to sell a 12-month mastermind package, then perhaps reward one is access to one free mastermind session, that group session that happens once a week. Reward number two, maybe you get a whole month’s worth. And the final reward might be three months’ worth of access to mastermind. So pretty simple to set up the rewards and the prizes, just making sure that they align with what you want to sell at the end of the day. And it gives people a taste, but also a high amount of value so that they love what they’re getting. And they want more.
Christine Schlonski [14:15]
Yeah, yeah. You talked about the template earlier. And I was thinking, hmm, probably if somebody has not ever done that, they probably will think well, how do I even start, like what needs to be in the template? So that a) helps the person to refer me to my business and b) it’s written in a way that it gets results?
Liam Austin [14:37]
All right, so I’ve given away all the secrets here now. But yeah, the template is pretty simple. It should be really short. One of the summits that we did was that people can go check out if it’s on-demand. It’s a “Cold Email Success Summit”. So I learned from like 20 plus experts that do cold email, cold outreach every day, so asking for referrals, asking for business introductions, and what I got from it was always to keep it personal. So should always be from you, from your email address, or from your name. It should not be sent via an email marketing platform such as AWeber, MailChimp, Infusionsoft, active campaign, ConvertKit, don’t use those guys any email that has an unsubscribe link at the bottom, people are going to know that this is just a newsletter, I’ve just been added to some kind of list, I’m going to ignore it, I won’t even reply to that template.
Liam Austin [15:33]
So the email should always be coming from your Gmail account as much as possible. So early parents, why I love them, they can integrate with your existing email provider. And so Gmail, for instance, or G Suite, and it’ll be sent directly from your account, which means high deliverability is more likely to get seen and responded to versus coming from your MailChimp account. So what is that that’s kind of stage one of setting this up? What does the template look like? So it’s like Hi, name, make sure you personalize it. Obviously going to let direct email address not to help or service or support email address or write directly to a person putting their name, personalizing it, keeping it short, just saying x name referred me to you, and Oh, actually. So that’s probably one of the other campaigns that we’ve got one of the bits, if this is coming directly from a friend, it would still be coming from you as the referrer. Okay, in the automation tool, but it’s just saying in the subject line, something along the lines of an invite from your friend, john, and then their email address email@example.com or whatever it is, so that people go okay, yeah, I recognize. I know, I know, john smith. And I know this email jettison, this is definitely from him, who’s super high open rates with that subject line, even though it’s come from, say, Liam Austin.
Liam Austin [17:15]
Okay, so invite from I’m going to go and check it out. Then I’ll say, hey, Angela, I did the strategy session with Liam, just last week, and I am able to get x y Zed results, I thought that you could benefit from attending a strategy session with Liam for your business. As I know, you’ve been struggling with some of these things x y Zed. Here’s a link to get access to a free strategy session that he normally charges clients $500 for. But because I’m referring you, you can get access, and in the next week for free, right, signed by john smith. So just something really short, simple that’s personalized. That said, the reason why the email what they ask is the call to action with a really strong benefit, free strategy session for free worth $500 normally worth $500. So should be short, to the point a link for them to take immediate action. And yeah, those normally get the highest conversion rates. Normally, with that type of email, we’ll see an 80% open rate. And then in terms of replies anywhere between 20 to 40% replies from us.
Christine Schlonski [18:38]
Wow, that’s, that’s pretty cool. And that can really, really kickstart your business. Because it has that personal touch, right. And then we do trust the person already. And if they really are looking out for our goods, then this is a really nice benefit. Awesome. So what does Heart Sells! mean for you?
Liam Austin [19:03]
Just being authentic and just being yourself. It’s so easy for people to see through in authenticity, don’t know if that’s a word, but it’s just inauthentic people who aren’t being themselves, and then you just don’t necessarily attract people that are your tribe that you’re going to enjoy working with, that you’re going to get the best results from. So just by being yourself being true to your heart, I suppose in this case, then you’re going to attract the right people, people are going to resonate with you and what you have to say and your beliefs and how you go about your process to get results. And they’re going to want to work with you. So ultimately, yeah, being able to purchase and become a customer.
Christine Schlonski [19:53]
Yeah, awesome. And, you know, you achieve such a high level of freedom. Through your business, right? You were born in Australia, but now you live in beautiful Malta with a lot of sunshine too. And you just have a different lifestyle and your business made that possible. So I’m really looking forward to our next episode where we will be talking more about how you accomplish that, and how other people that are listening and feel maybe a little bit stuck, get a really, really cool idea of what they could do to make a huge impact in their business and at a relatively short amount of time. Because you know, I have used it, and I know you teach it. So we want to share that with the next episode, just to give people an idea, we are probably gonna talk about virtual summits. Because of your amazing gift, that you are giving to the audience is the Virtual Summit Checklist. I will link everything as well as all the links to you in the show notes. But tell us why do I need a virtual summit checklist?
Liam Austin [21:04]
I think having a checklist. So you wake up every day knowing exactly what you need to do. There’s no procrastinating. There’s, you know, similar to how people wake up, and they think, okay, well, these are the tasks I need to do today making that list. The checklist just allows you to look at that list and go, okay, I need to progress through to the creation and launch of my summit by following, you know, each step along the way, by following the checklist. And I think it just allows people to have the shortcut to a really strong foundation with their event knowing that they’re not skipping any of the most important steps to get the, to maximize your results. And you’re not mucking around testing something or doing something that is really a waste of time and doesn’t help you achieve higher results for your business. So yeah, checklists. And specifically, if you’re running any kind of virtual event virtual summit, then yeah, this one I think is for you.
Christine Schlonski [22:02]
Yeah, yeah, definitely. I’m so looking forward to our next conversation because I kick-started my business with a virtual summit. And I know you are amazing and teaching that with your Virtual Summit Academy and also with your Million Dollar Virtual Summit Program, which we need to discuss in the next episode. That’s such exciting news, so to speak, what’s possible, and you have an overview over the market. So if people are thinking right now, well, I feel a bit stuck. Not a lot of people know about me, this is a very wonderful and impactful way to get results in a rather short period of time. So I’m really looking forward to having you back. Thank you so so much for the conversation today, and till next time.
Liam Austin [22:48]
I’m glad, cheers Christine.
Christine Schlonski [22:50]
Well, I’m just blown away by the way that Liam grew his business with such a simple step. Right. I hope you are inspired as well hop on over to christineschlonski.com find the podcast tab and this episode, you will have the show notes, the transcripts, all the links to Liam are just one click away, as well as the resources that we talked about in this episode from The Virtual Summit, Kick Starter Checklist, to the Heart Centered Lead Generation Summit Experience, where Liam has held an amazing, amazing presentation about his strategies as well. So definitely check that out. And once you’re over there, sign up for The Empowerment Notes. That’s empowerment right into your inbox with strategies, tools, inspiration, motivation, updates on Heart Sells! Podcast, and it’s amazing guests. And I can’t wait to see you there. And I’m looking forward for you to tune in to the next episode with Liam where we will be talking about “A Map To Your Successful Summit”. Thank you so much for listening. Thank you so much for being here. Have a wonderful day, wherever you are in this beautiful world. And I’m saying bye for now.
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