With referral partners?
Made you look, didn’t I?
This topic of conversation has arisen this week even more than it usually does, which inspired me to write this post. We cultivate relationships with referral partners hoping to gain those quality introductions, not be one of 3 on a list that is emailed over with no added insight from referrer.
Introductions are something many struggle with to obtain from referral partners. It makes the difference between a 10% chance of getting the deal to a nearly 90% with a highly influential referrer. We often run with ‘you can use my name when you call’ permission from the referrer just because we don’t want to push our luck.
What does this have to do with monogamy?
The question is, should you only have one referral partner in a given profession? Is it cheating to have more than one?
Let’s consider a few factors….
When an introduction is made, risk is taken by the referrer opening a door to a valuable relationship that could be lost if you screw up. I think just about anyone who has been in business for a significant time has been present and accounted for at a train wreck and I know of a few that have even caused the death of a few companies. Much is at stake.
Trust is key. Which necessitates open doors of communication with referral partners about exactly who is, and who is not, a great referral. When I ask ‘who is a great client for you?’ and the response is ‘anyone who has a business, job, pulse, etc’ I am immediately told this is someone who lacks the desire to offer the right solution to the best possible match.
Digging deeper into who someone has actually worked with and done a fabulous job reveals where your best fit lies. And evaluating those who you most enjoyed working with and were personally fulfilled in serving will reveal the intersection into your ideal client. When you understand this information about your referral partner you realize that your obligation to provide the right solution for your client requires you offer the best possible solution. Not just your only solution.
Now let’s talk chemistry. You know, that connection that happens when someone works with someone they immediately connect with. When you get to know your clients you identify those people and approaches they really resonate with. Not everyone has the same approach, people are not a one size fits all.
Last but not least, reciprocity. Let’s pretend you’re a financial advisor who averages one new client per month. And your client profile ranges from retired high net worth executives to business owners who just sold their companies. Throw in the high income professional here and there and you have a diverse group of clients. The majority of people probably need evaluation of their estate plan, this requires you refer a professional. That is 12 new clients that are referrals for an estate planning attorney. Now you interview your estate planning referral partner and discover that they have an opportunity to refer financial advisors perhaps 2-3 times per year. Now you dig a bit deeper into the ideal client profile and you discover where the best fit is. And the opportunity to form 3-4 referral partnerships.
Trust is built on open and honest communication. Your referral partners need to understand how you evaluate the best fit and that you have additional relationships to address client needs. I have found the opportunity to refer a number of marketing resources. But I’m not a marketing genius by any means, my solution to determining best fit is to have my referral partners interview each other and come back to me with what the differences are and what are the best opportunities for each partner and the client. These conversations have often resulted in additional strategic partnerships being formed. It’s all good
We’ve considered this from the giving perspective. How about the receiving end? What happens to the partnership when instead of asking for all the business, with an email introduction connecting you to the prospect, you ask for an introduction to those who best fit your profile, that you will do an outstanding job for. And make them look good for connecting them to such a great resource.
And for the record, in romantic relationships I am the happily married supporter of a 24 year relationship that monogamy is the key factor in its longevity.
Hopefully this post has given you food for thought on building open and honest relationships with referral partners that will lead you to great new clients.
Remember, to get what you want, you must help others get what they want.
Make it a great day and I wish you Good Selling!