1092 – Building Real Relationships Within Your Center of Influence with The High Five Effect’s Matt Ward

In this episode of the Thoughtful Entrepreneur, your host Josh Elledge talks to Word of Mouth consultant and the author of The High Five Effect, Matt Ward. 

Matt helps service-based business professionals build better relationships and make more sales through referrals. Josh and Matt explore why professionals struggle with referral-based business. The reality is that many service-based professionals think they’re better at word of mouth and referral based business than they think. Someone in your center of influence needs to know who you are and why they should direct business to you. List your referral sources (that weren’t referred by other existing clients), find the common denominator, and find your ideal center of influence and ideal referral sources.

Once you discover this, double down, focus, and build relationships with people. You need to outrun your competition by staying in touch with your center of influence. Stay top of mind and reach out more than your competitors do. 

Matt also advises to send more than just email when building these relationships – mail adverts in the mail, send handwritten cards, and show you’re dedicated beyond just virtual communication.  

Matt’s philosophy is to work with clients that truly bring you joy. Entrepreneurs give up so much during the first five years of their business to create success. In reality, they lose money, time, and relationships by constantly overextending themselves. When you build relationships with like-minded people, Matt shares, they know, like, and trust you. They want to send business your way. You want to go a step beyond – you want people in your sphere to know, like, and care about you. This is the basis of referral-based business. Transition away from business and move towards knowing someone personally when you build a relationship with someone. What are their hobbies? Do you know their family? Ask yourselves these things and invest in your center of influence as though they’re your friends. 

Josh and Matt explore the ways sales have become sleazy and unenjoyable for most people being sold to. When you aren’t authentic, everyone you sell to can pick up on this. Businesses and consumers are more wary than ever of being sold to, so when you manage to strike up a relationship with a company or brand, don’t jump to selling. Ask how they are, check in, and be willing to have these types of conversations. Touch points and reaching out should never be sales-driven; play the long game and invest time and energy into them long before they’ll even consider investing money with you. 

Check out Matt Ward on LinkedIn at

Check out Matt Ward’s book, The High Five Effect at

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