Have you ever heard other business owners say they never get referrals? What they are usually referring to is an association event they have attended, a group they belong to, a person they met, etc.
I met just such a person recently at a party. He told me that he couldn’t seem to get anyone to refer him although his credentials were impeccable. I mentioned a couple of organizations that might be helpful to him and that I had worked with a few clients that had experienced success by attending.
The next thing I knew, I got an email from him asking me if I could introduce him to all the people I know in that space. Excuse me?
What’s wrong with this picture? Hint: the answer could shed some light on your own referral ability.
1. When I met him, he only talked about himself and the woefully hard time he had despite his expertise. Comment: If you have a one-sided conversation about only your needs, expect that hardly anyone will bother to take the time to help you. The bad news is – it’s not about you.
2. When he emailed me, his request was unreasonable considering that I had only had a 10 minute conversation with him. Comment: This is a process and it’s about building a relationship of trust, camaraderie, mutual benefit and mutual respect. If any of those pieces are missing, it has little chance to evolve.
3. Just having a short conversation doesn’t form much of a connection. Comment: What if you started a conversation by asking them some more surprising questions? This gets them to respond more authentically and thereby forms a deeper connection. Isn’t that what this is about?
Finally, the big key is following up. Do you take all the steps necessary to form a deeper connection?
* Write a note of appreciation
* Post a comment on their blog
* Tweet about them to others
* Introduce them to someone on email
* Invite them to lunch with others who have the same target client but are not competitive with them
These things seem obvious, but in 12 years on my own, I see very few people execute the referral process well. What would improve yours?