It’s the last day of the year, and I hope you’ve done some networking planning for 2015. Today, let’s talk about referrals.
Last week I wrote about deciding on what networking group to join based on the networking ability of the group members. But what if you find a group you like, want to join them, and they aren’t very savvy about referring your business?
You’ll need to systematically educate them. Which isn’t a bad thing. It will force you to hone your message and clearly define who is a good referral. Which might make you better at selling your product or service. Not bad, eh?
Stories are going to be key to educating your audience. You’re going to need to look at your client list and come up with your best stories. Here’s what you’re looking for:
If you can come up with three or four good examples that fit that format, you’re well on the way. Of course, you’ll work those stories into your elevator speech, but you’re going to need to use them in one on one meetings as well.
I’d suggest you mention in your meeting that your business can be tough to refer. Yes, there’s a danger in putting that idea into someone’s head, but I think it’s offset by the fact that they are probably already thinking, “I have no idea how to refer you.” Address what they are already thinking, and you’ve won half the battle.
Then pull out your stories. Go through the two that are most likely to be relevant to the person with whom you are meeting. Walk through why those clients needed you and how you were able to help.
Tie those stories to possible industries the other person might be familiar with. Give triggers. Ask the person to look or listen for certain cues. Then give them some specific ways they could start a conversation around your business.
Is that a lot of work? Yes, but it will be worth it. Of course, you need to give the other person equal time and attention. The more you are willing and able to refer others, the more likely they are to refer you.
Anyone have a particularly difficult business to refer? Tell us about it in the comments, and let’s see if we can’t help you out.
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