In an introductory meeting this morning I had a potential referral partner make a profound statement. He said ‘my number for my clients needs to be 1-800- HELP – ME’. This was shared as he related the position he consistently worked to achieve with his clients. He wanted to be the first call they made when they had an issue and his role was to serve as a gateway to whatever solution his clients needed. He just happened to be a financial advisor. Note he didn’t say he wanted to be the gateway to whatever financial solution his clients had, but any issue they had. What this highly successful professional recognized is that to earn a position of trust with your relationships, you need to invest effort in building emotional capital through serving their needs, beyond his self-interest.
What advice do you provide? Are you strictly a subject matter expert about your field? Or are you smart about business and an avenue to resources needed? One of the first areas of self discovery to explore with your clients is how do they view you. This is one of the most important discussions you can have with them. You notice the conversation needs to take place with your clients – this is not an exercise in contemplation of your navel. I don’t care about what youthink your clients think about you, I care about what they actually think. Their perception is your reality. Like it or not.
By interviewing your clients you gain insight into your true value proposition and also this gives you the chance to explore all of the issues on the periphery of you solutions. The competitive landscape in today’s market requires you always expand your capabilities. This does not have to be done through adding staff, infrastructure or capacity in your own organizations. The more strategic approach allows you to align with other professionals who provide those resources as needed. Oh and by the way, they are in a position to reciprocate. Win, Win, Win for you, referral partner and client. Which is what it’s all about.
I am truly excited about the potential with this referral partner. His attitude demonstrates the level of commitment he will bring to a referral relationship and most importantly, the service of the clients I send his way. No longer is good enough to get the job done enough to keep the client engaged and happy. Your best clients are someone else’s best prospects, and if you’re not willing to provide them the resource they need to sleep better at night- someone else will.
I am reminded of a story where two hikers are in the woods walking along a creek, as they walk along they notice just around the corner they see two cubs playing. Knowing that mama bear isn’t going to be too far away, they stop, and slowly begin turning to walk away. One hiker unties his laces of his boots and slips his track shoes on. His friend, confused by his action, says ‘what do you think you are doing? You can’t outrun the bear?’ the first hiker responds with ‘I don’t have to outrun the bear….I just have to outrun you’.
What are you doing to enhance your value? If the answer is nothing, don’t be surprised when your business is gobbled up by your competitor.
Make it a great day and Good Selling!
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