Getting referrals isn’t always easy. What’s even more difficult is making cold calls to referrals. One way to warm up your referrals is to use email to let them know that you will be contacting them. In fact, a warmed-up referral is 35 percent more likely to do business with you.
Sy and Bryan, two advisor clients of mine who do mostly joint work, have had great success using this approach. Their assistant sends emails to their referral sources, which helps warm up their referrals.
Here’s how it works:
Bryan has always been good at getting cold referrals—names of people not expecting his call. But he was getting tired of the referrals not calling him back. Each time a referral source gives him a referral, he asks the source: “Would you mind finding out see if he or she [the referral] would be interested in hearing from me?” The source usually agrees to help Bryan.
Bryan has learned that most people do not know how to talk to others about his business. So rather than risk losing the chance of doing business with this prospect, he tells the referral source: “The easiest thing is to have my assistant email you what you might want to say. If you want to make any changes to the email, please feel free to do so.”
From a set of already prepared emails, the assistant chooses and sends an email most relevant to the referral. The emails vary based on whether Bryan wants a personal introduction because he is contacting a big prospect, or if he simply wants an opportunity to call the referral.
Following is an example of an email. Remember this is sent to the referral source to send to the person they have recommended to Bryan:
Two of my business colleagues, Sy Maleki and Bryan Beauchamp, would welcome the opportunity to visit with you. They are co-owners of Beauchamp Maleki Consulting and they specialize in executive benefits and business succession planning. In addition to being well-connected in our community, they have done a good job for my company. Would you be OK if I have them give you a call to introduce themselves?
Here’s another example of an email:
Two of my business colleagues, Sy Maleki and Bryan Beauchamp, would welcome the opportunity to visit with you. They are co-owners of Beauchamp Maleki Consulting and they work with banks across the state in a financial consulting capacity. I think it would be mutually beneficial to spend some time with them. Would you be open to getting together for golf or a drink after work in the near future with us? If so, please let me know what dates fit your schedule.
If your target market doesn’t use email, or if you simply prefer a hand-written thank-you note, you can’t write the note for your referral source, but you can suggest what it says to their referral:
It was great to see you yesterday. Also, thanks for recommending me to your friend, Dave. All you need to tell him is that you’ve been really pleased with the work we’ve done and that you highly recommend that he at least have a conversation with me and see if I can drop him a line some time.
I’ll follow up with you toward the end of the month.
If you have a strong relationship with the referral source, this approach works well nowadays because everyone is so busy. Clearly this is just one tool, not a cure-all. My clients have gotten good results with high-quality contacts by using this approach.
Matt Anderson of the Referral Authority specializes in training and coaching insurance and financial service professionals on how to build referral-based businesses. He is a NAIFA member, the author of Fearless Referrals and has recorded a Program-in-a-Box on referrals for NAIFA. Contact him at 608-843-3827 or Matt@TheReferralAuthority.com.