If Referrals worked the way people espouse, we’d all be wildly successful
If you’re looking for a great time-sucker in your business, pursue Referrals.
“What did he just say? Referrals are the holy grail of business growth! He’s lost it.”
No he hasn’t. And this little piece on Introductions might change the balance of your career as an advisor, so strap in and let’s slaughter some sacred cows.
Referrals tend not to do what we think they do.
It is true that I’m being mildly argumentative, but stick with me here because it’ll be worth it for your business.
When someone gives a referral, their only real requirement is to get you a name, and then off we go to track them down, make contact, follow up and hopefully turn them into a client.
The fact is that many people don’t want to give referrals. Giving referrals is risky for a whole host of reasons and wealth holders often averse to giving up a name – especially a good one.
- they might negatively impact their relationship with the person they are referring
- they might negatively impact their relationship with you, should it not go well
- many people are very private about their financial situation, including who they work with
- they may have had negative experiences with referrals in the past
- and these are just a few of the main reasons
You can invest a ton of time and energy into getting referrals – often unqualified names – and trying to turn them into clients. But, with a few small tweaks in mindset and process it’s possible to create a dramatically different outcome
Introductions > Referrals
Introductions are different than referrals. This is not an exercise in semantics – they are different. Understanding and working with that difference will allow you to shift your productivity and effectiveness in building your list of niche prospects, and then clients.
When you ask for a referral, you tend to get a name. When you ask for an introduction you tend to get a conversation with the person you’d hoped to meet if you can handle these three fundamental issues.
Introductions work when you satisfy three criteria:
- You ask someone who has access to your niche
- You ask someone who is already willing to provide an introduction, and
- You create safety so that they know you won’t jeopardize your relationship with the other party, or with you.
Simple, three things.
Access to Your Niche
If you are not clear on your niche, you cannot get niche prospects. Ok, perhaps accidentally, but not deliberately or systematically. So if you don’t know what your niche is, take a look at this blog on Immediate Marketing – it’ll help.
When you’re asking for Introductions, you want them from people who have connections with your niche. Think through your client list, and you’ll probably recognize 20-40 clients who have access to your niche, or to the niche you’d like to work with in the future.
This small list will be the focus of your efforts. They should be people you reasonably expect would know people in your niche market.
Ask The Willing
The next step is to only ask “the willing.” Only ask for Introductions from people who want to give them. Of course the real question is, “How do I know who is willing?”
Simple, ask them…and here’s how.
The Introduction Email
The email you’ll send is going to leverage the Net Promoter Score concept. It looks like this:
Subject: How are we doing?
I value your opinion as much as I value your time, so I just want to ask one question:
Based on your experience with us – On a scale of 1 to 10, where 10 is awesome – how likely is it you’d introduce me to a friend or colleague.
You can just reply back with a number, and thanks as always,[your name]
Once you send this email, you’ll start to get responses. The answers we’re interested in for the purposes of an Introduction, are the people who reply with a 9 or 10. When someone says, it’s a 10/10 that I would introduce you, or a 9/10 I would introduce you, those are people where it is safe to ask for a conversation about introductions.
Quite simply, reply back and say, “Thanks for email back and I’d like to sit down/zoom and talk with you about it.” and then set up the meeting.
The Introduction Meeting
When you meet, the language for the conversation is critical because this is not a conversation about, “I’m trying to build my business and wondered who you know that needs me.” They’re already busy and building your business isn’t their problem, it’s yours.
The language follows a simple structure:
- Commitment – you’ve made a commitment to help a specific group of people with a specific type of challenge/opportunity
- Bridge Talk – if you’re not familiar with our Bridge Talk, you really should have a conversation with Michael, because it means we have a ton we can help you with, but it’s a much improved and relevant version of the historical (and evil) Elevator Pitch.
- Connection – the connection is to join the dots and jog their memory that this is the type of work you’ve done together.
It would look like this:
Commitment: We’ve made a commitment to only build our business around clients specifically like you.
Bridge Talk: And that means [Bridge Talk Example: Family Business Owners who want to get the most out of their business and their family, or Families in Boston who want to retire on their own terms.]
Connection: Much like you and I have worked on together.
Then…you create safety with the following:
Before I ask you who might be appropriate for me to help, though, can we look at what happens when you introduce someone to me? First of all, because of our connection, I will meet with anyone you introduce to me, even if they aren’t necessarily what I mentioned a minute ago.
Our first meeting would be to simply get to know each other. If there’s a fit, great, if not, I’ll have met someone important to you and that’s a great thing for me to do. If we’re both still comfortable, then we’d meet again and start to explore, much like what you and I have done together.
Does that make sense? (stabilize)
With that in mind, is there someone you could suggest to me?
You should get one of two answers:
YES > Would you be willing to introduce us (by meeting, lunch, zoom, call, text, email)?
NO> I appreciate you thinking about it and if you come across [Bridge Talk Example: Family Business Owners who want to get the most out of their business and their family, or Families in Boston who want to retire on their own terms.] I’d love to meet them.
Why Does It Work?
The Introduction Process works because:
- You’re clear on your niche
- You are only asking for Introductions from people who want to give them
- You are creating safety
The Legacy Introduction Process generates quality opportunities quickly and focuses your efforts on the relationships that will generate niche prospects for your business.