3 weeks ago, while conducting a full-day session, I mentioned a recent study that demonstrated that many clients don’t like to be asked for “referrals” but actually enjoy making “introductions.”
About an hour later, I was talking about becoming more “referable” so as to obtain more referrals without asking. A gentleman in the front row politely asked, “Don’t you mean introducable?”
Do I need a Referral Swear Jar?
When my daughter was young, I was very careful with my language. I pretty much never even said, “Damn” around her. As she got a little older, that word did slip out from time to time. So, my daughter bought me a Swear Jar – a piggy bank into which I was to put a quarter each time I said a “bad word.”
Well, it appears I’m going to have to get a Referral Swear Jar. I can see it now. During my speeches and workshops, each time I say “referrals” I’ll have to put 25¢ in the jar. Old habits die hard.
The truth is, that referrals (25¢) are pretty much worthless. Yup! The Referral Coach actually said that. I don’t have to tell you how hard it is to reach people these days. And because of that, we must start thinking in terms of “introductions.”
5 Steps to Better Introductions
Here are five easy-to-implement ways to shift your business from referrals (25¢) to introductions:
#1 – Be assumptive for the introduction. Once you’ve identified a client or center of influence who is willing to recommend you to others, don’t settle for anything short of a good connection – solid introduction. Let’s talk about how you introduce me to Laura. I want to make sure it’s comfortable for the two of you and just might spark her interest in hearing from me.
#2 – Make it collaborative. Creating the introduction should be a joint effort between you and the referral source. If you have a favorite way, then go for it – as long as it fits into their relationship. For example, in-person introductions are often the best, but if these folks don’t usually meet for meals or drinks or golf, then going for this sort of connection is likely to stall out.
#3 – Make it about protecting the relationships. We want an introduction that feels safe to all parties concerned. My guess is that Laura would prefer to hear from you, before she hears from me. Let’s see what might be the best way to proceed.
#4 – Take your time. Don’t rush through this. Get a good introduction. If you’re not in the habit of creating strong introductions, this might feel awkward at first. However, assuming you believe in your value and that any prospect should at least be made aware of your value, you want to manage this process. If you run out of time, you can pick up the conversation later that day or the next – so that you now have an actionable connection.
#5 – A referral (25¢) doesn’t count unless it’s actionable! I can’t emphasize this point enough. If your referral source says, “I’ll tell her to call you,” politely suggest an alternative that will result in a better connection. Your minimum for now on should be to have your referral source say to the prospect, “Take his call. It will be worth a few minutes of your time.”
Create Email Handshakes
All of my coaching clients are now going for email handshakes. An email handshake is exactly what it sounds like. George meet Laura… Laura meet George…
There’s a guide I created recently that show’s you exactly how to get a quality email introduction at www.ElectronicHandshakes.com when you can visit.