How to Use the Rick Hunter Strategy to Generate Referrals Consistently

Posted by Ben Kniffen in Uncategorized

I have a quick question for you…

What makes the absolute best business lead?

In a perfect world, it would be someone who already knows about you and your company and has a favorable impression of you. Even better, maybe they’ve even heard a raving review of you from a friend, colleague, or family member who has directly told them to call you.

Of course, those types of leads are called referrals and as you already know, they’re the easiest lead you’ll ever close. They’re a gold mine.

A gold mine with a big *IF* attached.

Here’s the Big “IF”

Referrals are a gold mine IF you can find a way to get a steady flow of them coming in on a regular basis to keep your business rolling along steadily.

But for most people, referrals are an every once in a while thing. They’re like a nice surprise. “Hey! We got a referral from Bill. Cool!”  They come in hit and miss – like a very slow drip, not a steady flow.

And although they’re always welcome, a nice surprise like that every now and then isn’t going to float the boat long-term.

The alternative to waiting for referrals to happen is to actively seek them out by working your existing contacts and networking. That, too comes with a downside though.

A lot of people aren’t big networkers. Maybe that even describes you.

So if you’re someone who doesn’t love reaching out to complete strangers or working a room, what can you do to generate more referrals? Are you stuck with the every now and then slow drip of these incredibly valuable leads?

Not at all. We’ve actually developed an incredibly powerful referral generation strategy that gets around those barriers.

Meet Rick Hunter

I’m going to show you a very potent referral generation strategy that LinkedSelling (and our clients) have been successfully using for years that will allow you to proactively go out and get targeted referrals with prospects who are a perfect fit for your business.

Josh named it The Rick Hunter Strategy because Rick is the first person he used it with.

This strategy will allow you to create that steady flow of super-valuable referrals without having to approach total strangers. It’s a super warm approach that works like gangbusters.

The Rick Hunter Strategy is a scripted LinkedIn outreach process we’ve developed that consistently gets an average of 70% favorable responses from targeted prospects for us (and our clients who use our entire system).

Let’s dive in…

The Rick Hunter Strategy by the Numbers

For our purposes in this article, we’re going to use remodeling as the target industry. This is just an example, and this strategy will work for any industry in any part of the world.

Step 1: Do a LinkedIn Search for Your Target Area

Generate referrals

Step 2: Check Your Shared Connections

After scanning the results of your search (on the screenshot above), let’s say we identify Jeffrey Hyatt as a perfect prospect. You can see that I have 49 shared connections with Jeffrey, so I want to identify one of my good existing connections to help me connect with Jeffrey.

In this case, I chose Rick Hunter.

Step 3: Ask Your Shared Connection for Permission to Mention Their Name When You Reach Out to Your Target

In this step, we’re going to send a short message to Rick to ask if it’s ok to mention his name when we approach our target. The key here is to make it very easy for them to say “yes.”

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Let’s fast forward to after Rick responds and says, “Absolutely! Go for it.”

Step 4: Get to Know Your Target’s Profile and Send a Simple Connection Request

Having gotten the green light from your connection, you’d now go familiarize yourself with Jeffrey’s profile and send him a simple connection request to take the next step – which would be some sort of one-to-one contact. An appointment.

By sending the right kind of connection request, you’re leveraging the relationship you have with the shared connection (in this case Rick) to get your target to respond to you.  This kind of approach that you see in the screenshot, is tremendously effective.  It’s very hard to say “no” to.

Over the years, we’ve developed, tested, and tweaked many messaging scripts until they’re as effective as possible. I’m sharing one of them with you here, but keep in mind that in order to be as effective as possible, all scripts should be properly customized depending upon your type of business and several other factors.

The messaging scripts need to be in your own language – and above all else, not sound like a sales pitch. You need to keep it simple and sincere at this point to position yourself properly.

Generate referrals JProfile

generate referrals

Step 5: Send a Follow-Up Email

Next, you’ll send a short follow-up email. There’s no need to wait a day or two after the connection request. We’ve designed the follow-up email script to be perfectly appropriate to use right away.

(In just a bit, I’m going to tell you how to get your hands on this follow-up email script, too.)

What Results Can You Expect?

Now, this is a great strategy on its own, no doubt. But it’s one strategy in an entire lead generation and appointment setting process.

So what I’m saying is that you can use this process as-is and get some new referrals, but if you want superstar results, and be able to consistently generate warm leads like this, you should really look into learning the entire process.

And when I say “superstar” results, I mean a solid 70% success rate. That’s huge, right?

How You Can Learn the Whole System

As I mentioned earlier, this strategy will work on its own, but without the whole process you won’t see the 70% success rate our clients do because the approach and the script needs to be customized to your business for it to be as effective as possible.  And you need the follow up process, too.

So how can you learn the whole process?

It’s actually pretty easy… and free.

We regularly put on an Advanced LinkedIn Masterclass that teaches every detail of The Rick Hunter Strategy plus two other potent strategies that work hand in hand with this one and maximize its effectiveness. You’ll also get access to the email follow-up script I referenced in this article, and you’ll get a comprehensive overview of our entire business-building system.

Check out the details on the Masterclass here.

Put it in Play

Now that you have the five simple steps of the Rick Hunter Strategy, put it in play. Start staking out your target industries and identifying shared connections you could approach in this way.

If you follow these steps as I’ve outlined, you’ll find that getting warm, qualified referrals on a consistent basis becomes much easier and more consistent. You’ll be connecting with the most sought-after prospects in your market and booking appointments with a large percentage of them.

And if you want to kick it into high gear, learn our whole system, and shoot for that 70% success rate, check out our free Advanced LinkedIn Masterclass.

I want to hear from you now…

What’s been your go-to strategy to generate referrals? Let’s hear about your challenges and success stories in the comments!


  • I’m confused as to when to use this highly customized connect message versus the one that’s a little more simple that Ben teaches in Linked University. Ben uses the first name plus a note about it being mutually beneficial to connect but there is no customization beyond that that I remember.

    In trying to reach and get a large number of connections to accept, is it better to go highly customized? I imagine it would take longer than 100 connection request per hour if I did this.

    • Excellent point, George. Here’s what Ben says about it…

      “This is a matter of preference. The Rick Hunter Strategy is a more time consuming one and difficult to mass produce, but can be utilized when you see high value targets with whom you share a connection.

      The connection request process that I show is more useful when you want to get out connection requests at a much higher volume and if you do not share a connection with them.”

      Hope that helps!