We hear a lot about referral marketing & how it is a great way to connect with new clients, get new people on your contact list, etc. But we don't hear much about how to really make this work for you. Here is an excerpt from Mark Silver's blog, "Heart of Business" on how to create a situation where a referral is really appropriate and sets you up for success in assisting someone AND eliminates the situation of inappropriate referrals. And the link to Mark's great blog is below.
Article: When Referrals Hide From You
Here's a dream scenario: you have a raving fan client who has colleagues who need the same help you gave him. He offers to introduce you to them and recommend they work with you. Nice!
One of our Opening the Moneyflow participants, Donald (not his real name) had just this wonderful opportunity. The trouble was...
"My client introduced me by email to his colleagues. I then sent an email to them saying if I didn't hear from them I'd follow up with a phone call next week.
"The next week came and I didn't want to make the calls. I felt nervous and anxious. I kept telling myself it was just a conversation, and eventually I forced myself to make the calls, leaving two voicemails."
"What's wrong with me? Why was it so hard to make those calls?" Painful, eh? What's worse, he never heard back from either referral.
He Should Have Been Uncomfortable
There's been no evidence whatsoever that these two referrals are either looking for help or want to be contacted.
In Sacred Selling, I explain that sales doesn't exist in a vacuum. That the sales conversation is preceded by the steps of building a relationship of trust. Without the trust and connection, you can't have a real sales conversation.
Our client was really struggling with self-judgment over making those calls, but here's the thing: he should've struggled. Far from being negative self-talk, his heart was telling him that the situation didn't feel right.
Donald pushed through and called anyway, and, of course, it wasn't a tragedy. But he didn't get the clients either.
How do you tell whether it's negative self-talk you need to "get over" or a message from the heart asking you to be appropriately cautious?
In a situation like this, two questions to ask:
The Two Questions
First question: Has the person in question expressed any need for help in the area you help with?
Second question: Has the person in question expressed any desire to to connect with you in particular?
If you put yourself in Donald's shoes, feel the difference between reaching out to someone who has expressed zero interest in what you do or in talking to you, versus picking up the phone to call someone who both wants what you offer and wants to talk to you.
Big difference. I bet Donald wouldn't have had any trouble calling either of his referrals in the second situation.
How He Could've Saved the Situation
Our clients need education. Unless they deal with a lot of referrals themselves, they probably don't know how to make a powerful introduction. To do so just takes one small extra step on the part of your client.
That step? To reach out to the people he wants to refer, and ask them the two question. Here's what it could sound like:
"Hey, I don't know if you know I worked with Donald all last year and he helped me a LOT in the following ways (x, y, z). And, from our recent conversations, I know you are having some of the same challenges I had the year before. I'd love for you to have the kind of results I'm getting. Is that something you need? Do you want me to introduce you to Donald so you can have a conversation? He's a really nice guy. He won't pressure you or try to sell you, he'll just ask questions, listen and let you know if he thinks he can help you."
If he then hears a "Yes" from his colleague, then the introduction is going to be MUCH more effective.
Let me highlight what was in that introduction. Then, you can ask your clients to say the same things to any referrals.
The Three Elements in a Pre-Referral Recommendation
His own experience and results working with Donald.
Empathy for the challenges he sees his colleagues having and his wish for them to succeed.
A description of what Donald is like and what was involved with being introduced.
If you educate your clients to express these three items to potential referrals, and get permission from them to be introduced, you'll see a MUCH higher percentage of referrals actually landing. And you won't spend time uncomfortably chasing people who don't want to talk to you.
Whew... what a relief!
Are you successful at receiving referrals? Do you educate your clients in any way?
Subscribe to Mark Silver's blog here: http://www.heartofbusiness.com/training-programs/the-core/