In “Identifying Referral Partners,” you learned how to cut through the busyness of your daily life to hone in on a few select people who could tip your business from good to great. Which leads to the next issue: How do you gauge within an appropriate timeframe (four months, max) whether the relationship will bear fruit?
Three words: Referral Radar System.
This system is divided into three phases: introductions, staying in touch and getting leads (see chart). As you pass through each phase, keep in mind this end-goal: for your prospective referral partner to introduce you to other business prospects. Here’s how to stay on top of your Referral Radar System, and reach your end goal (more leads):
- Revisit the radar every week. Every time you hear from a prospective referral partner, track it on your radar. This will sustain your awareness of whether the relationship is worth deepening.
- Stay top-of-mind with your prospective referral partner. So, how do you do that when we’re all running 100 mph? Simple. Add value. Introduce your prospective referral partner to other professionals. Invite him to events, such as seminars and trade shows, which put him in front of potential business. Do business with him yourself. Also, be an information broker. Send him books, eZines and magazine articles on topics that can help him professionally.
- Coach your prospective referral partner on “trigger” words. So, when he hears words from his own clients like “buying a new house,” “retiring” and “having a baby,” he’ll be more likely to reply, “Oh, you should talk to Tim about that—I’ll have him give you a call.”
- Send your prospective referral partner an unexpected gift. That’s the piece de resistance. Former Gallup International Research Chair Donald Clifton and the head of Harvard’s psychology department, Daniel Gilbert, recommend it, and no wonder. People love unexpected gifts. A manager at a financial-services firm recently told me that a book I sent him made him decide to use my services.
Matt Anderson, president of the Referral Authority, leads seminars and coaches insurance and financial-service professionals to build referral-based businesses and turn networking contacts into clients. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 608-843-3827.