networking v paid leads

Paid Leads vs Networking

Which cost more? 

Which takes more time? 

More importantly, which results in the best ROI? 

First Networking 

Making time to drive to networking meetings is tough.  

Then committing to attend on a weekly and/or monthly basis can seem more difficult. 

Once there, it can feel like a meat market where everybody is out for themselves to get leads and all you’re thinking about is how you can get leads.

It can really feel like a waste of time.

This was how I used to feel. 

That was, until I read Bob Burg’s book Endless Referrals
and then everything changed and I’ll explain how, but first…

Let’s consider Paid Leads 

Paying for leads is much easier than driving all over the city to networking events.

Without leaving the comfort of your desk, with your fresh cup of coffee at your side, you can simply sign up and start paying for a steady stream of leads to come flowing in.

There is just one small problem…

The leads aren’t so great. 

In fact, these paid lead services tend to attract “C” & “D” customers who usually want a discount and are sometimes down right unreasonable. 

What’s worse is now you’re really driving all over the city because you have to go to every estimate even when you know it’s a bad lead for fear that they will rake you over the coals leaving you a disparaging review. 

Also, when you’re paying these lead services, you’re literally funding their SEO efforts – effectively paying to knock yourself off the first page of Google search. 

“Paint lead services are a racket.” – Steve Burnett

So, while the paid lead services look like an easy solution, 

it’s actually far more expensive in the long run and adds additional mileage and anxiety having to run all over the city presenting estimates to bad leads– just so you don’t receive a scathing review. 

If paying for leads is the wrong way to grow, then how do we make networking work? 

Here’s how to crush it by networking and generate endless referrals.

The process I’m about to lay out for you will take a little time to pay off, but the pay off is big and well worth it, which I’ll explain later on.

There are 3 main networking groups we recommend. 

The first is BNI

BNI meets weekly for an hour and a half and usually for breakfast.

You’re going to eat breakfast anyway, right? 

BNI is unique because there is a high accountability for members to bring referrals for each other. 

Not to worry if you’re new, it’s understandable that you won’t have many referrals until you get to know the members. 

That’s why 1 to 1’s with the other members are so important and here is where you can really compound your efforts. 

1-1’s are when you get together for lunch or coffee to get to know the other members. 

Now, most people want to tell you all about their business, which is great because you’re going to be different. 

To win big at networking, focus on them. Learn what a great referral is and who you can make an introduction for them. 

Make your lunch or coffee meeting all about them. Then once you have gotten to know them, ask them the million dollar question. (from Bob Burg’s book Endless Referrals)

“Hey John, how would I know a great referral for you when I come across them?”

Then write it down!

Now, follow up immediately with a hand written note card saying, 

“Hi John. It was great to get to know you at lunch. If I ever come across XYZ referral, I’ll be sure to send them your way. Warm regards, Steve”

Make sure you use blue ink. Also, get note cards made with your picture on them along with your logo. 

This helps solidify the connection to your name and your face. 

Now, be on the lookout whether out and about in your community or when speaking with your customers for when those perfect referrals present themselves. 

And when they do, make sure to send them his way. 

The next networking group you want to join is your local chamber of commerce. 

Usually they have a monthly networking lunch, a social after 5, and maybe even an early morning event. 

Ours had all 3 monthly and they were all a blast. 

Follow the exact process as outlined above, plus you want to bring a custom paint can of delicious gourmet cookies for the door prize. 

Also, when it’s time for your 60 second presentation at the networking lunch, don’t be boring…errr… safe. 

See, Seth Godin said,

“If the marketplace isn’t taking about you it’s because you’re boring. And you’re boring on purpose because it’s safe.” 

Safe is being like everybody else. 

Usually members stand up and give the same boring pitch. 

Instead, stand up and be funny. Entertain them! 

I’ve sang, presented magic tricks, impersonated Hulk Hogan, you name it. 

Was I scared? You bet I was. 

Courage is moving forward in the face of fear. 

Was I boring? 


Was the market place taking about me? 

You betcha!

The 3rd place you should network is at Rotary. 

Rotary is much different than BNI and your local chamber. 

The focus of Rotary is service. 

Giving, rather than receiving. 

Because it’s focused on serving others, it attracts high character members of your community who also just happen to be very successful. 

(Don’t believe what you see on TV or read in the news. Most highly successful people are the warmest and kindest people you could ever meet.)

Join Rotary and find a way to serve. Once the members get to know you and see that your motives are genuine, you’ll be their guy. 🙂

In conclusion, while paying for leads looks like the easy way to go, 

it’s actually the most expensive and stressful in the long run, 

whereas simply attending: 

– 1 breakfast meeting a week at a local BNI group, 

– 1 lunch a month for your chamber, 

– 1 weekly lunch at your local Rotary club and 

with a few 1:1’s here and there, 

and you’ll experience a positive ROI in about 6 months 

– results that do not grow linearly, but exponentially.

In 2 years or so, you, too, will have endless referrals.



Here are some audiobooks and podcasts that DYB Mastermind Group 

(MG) members are listening to…



Text Expander
Do you have email templates for new hires that instantly load with a push of a button?

Do you find yourself typing the same information, like your business address over and over again manually? How would you like it to populate upon the push of a button?

Do you manually enter and type your email address?

Let me introduce you to my little friend, Text Expander

April and I were introduced years ago to Text Expander by our good friend, Dallas Council. 

Really, this tool will save your admin HOURS monthly and is one of the processes we use to streamline our business and communications.

You can set up your own shortcut (set of key strokes or just one key) to auto-populate pretty much anything.

April used it when taking a call from a customer on the phone where it would auto-populate a form for her to fill out with the clients information which we then saved to their contact.

We used it to auto-populate inside our email when we hired new employees which would give them all the info they needed to get started with the apps we used, link to employee handbook, link to new employee packets, etc.

Check it out. April says you will LOVE it. 🙂


Most Productive Meetings
During a lunch date recently, April’s friend asked her for the productive meeting formula (visual) 4 square chart. Have you used the chart? 

Try using the most productive team meeting chart at your next company meeting to make it even more productive. 

Any questions, just hit reply or book a free strategy call here

You’ve got this!
– Steve Burnett

About the Author

As a newly single father of two from MI, he struggled to start over as a paint contractor in FL, going door to door. His situation was so bad, even the IRS had mercy on him.

 Feeling completely hopeless, he remembered the story of King Solomon praying for wisdom. Could it be so easy? 

He felt he had absolutely nothing to lose. So, as a bankrupt, divorced, high school dropout, single father of 2 young kids, now living 1250 miles away from all friends and family, started to pray for wisdom.
 And while he continues to wait for the wisdom to arrive, what did come was an insatiable desire to learn and read books… 
Thanks to God for giving him the burning passion to read books, and attend seminars, (oh and winning the wife lottery) he not only cracks the success code and overcomes the struggle, but also streamlines his painting business in less than 3 years, published a how to book, then sold the company. Now he leads a business coaching company for painting contractors so he can help other businesses, like yours, to do the same. Hear more... Or