How to Review Your Referral Partners

When to move on in a referral relationship is a question that comes up often and I thought today was a good day to chat about it. In the past week alone I have had 3 clients make the decision to ‘move on’ from a potential partner or new relationship without really giving it a fair chance. I have hopefully talked them out of moving on, but want to open up this conversation with my ‘tribe’ on Linked In. Let’s start with why you would fire a referral partner: ·        Misrepresentation of their capabilities to deliver. There is no fake it til you make it with referral relationships. Your partners put their reputation at stake, it’s a risk that shouldn’t be rewarded with you practicing with a new marketpotentially at their expense. If you are taking a proven concept to a similar client that you have multitudes of experience with, that’s a different story. Be clear on what you can do and make sure you are overdelivering and underpromising with all introductions, otherwise, expect to get a pink slip from your partners. ·        Making bad introductions. Referral relationships invest their valuable time with you educating you on who they serve, what a good client looks like and even more importantly who’s not a fit. Time is precious and if you make introductions to ‘spiders’ and waste your partner’s time you deserve to go back to cold calling. ·        Bad Behavior. Sometimes people behave badly and you can’t afford to have your reputation tied to someone who doesn’t have the ethical standards to represent you or your brand, which is at stake with every...

Is “Rain” Happening in Your Prospecting Effort?

Are opportunities plentiful for you with your relationships? Or are you experiencing a ‘drought’? “In like a lamb, out like a lion” is the phrase commonly used to describe March weather and we can certainly identify with that in Kansas. This is a state where you can literally experience all four seasons in one week, from blizzard to spring thunderstorms – we affectionately call this ‘Thundersnow’ (cue AC/DC playing Thunderstruck in the background). I think these crazy weather patterns really provide great insight into the rhythms we adopt in our prospecting effort. We start and are gung ho with tornadic breeze levels of effort, lightning fast execution of basic ideas and then it fades into a gentle breeze that doesn’t even move a leaf along. I had the distinct pleasure of sitting in on a presentation on innovation given by 9 Steps grad Jon McGraw of Vision Pursue and Jose Pires of Black & Veatch Leadership Institute of Business Excellence. During this presentation, Jose spoke about how ideas are everywhere, discipline to execute however, is very rare. I see this so often with professionals I engage with in the community and recognize that the majority of the value I bring as a coach/mentor is to remind them to identify the right level of activity and follow it EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. of EVERY. SINGLE. WEEK. of EVERY. SINGLE. YEAR. Yes I raised my voice. The biggest lesson you learn when embarking on any journey is to stay the course and recognize it is a very long, arduous journey full of fun pit stops and distractions that can divert you from...
Three Ways Thought Leadership Can Transform Your Business

Three Ways Thought Leadership Can Transform Your Business

TED Talks, Ignite, and Steve Jobs created a new art form—the thought leader talk. While we tend to idolize our favorite TEDx speakers, the real news is that you—yes, YOU!—can be a thought leader in your industry. In fact, investing the time into crafting provocative presentations might be the most worthwhile thing you can do to bolster your business to new heights. Thought leader talks are a little different than a persuasive or educational speech. It’s not a sales pitch, a motivational speech, or an informational presentation, but something completely different. A thought leader talk can be a story, or an exploration of new ideas. Thought leader talks can be very personal. Above all, a thought leader talk needs to offer your audience new insights and challenge conventional thinking. Creating talks like this can be challenging, but the rewards for putting the time and energy are incredible. Here are just a few ways that thought leader presentations can expand your influence and supercharge your business. Increased opportunities: Thought leader talks can position you as an expert in your field. The more you demonstrate your knowledge, the more you can attract bigger clients and larger opportunities. In effect, you’re probably not going to make bank as a speaker or generate millions from your YouTube channel. But by creating useful, intriguing content, you’ll be building up your credibility and professional reputation, all of which is great bait for attracting those bigger fish. Connection: Attracting clients is one thing, but it’s just as important to attract other like-minded people who can help you along your way. It’s not just about getting “likes”...
Success Can Be Hazardous

Success Can Be Hazardous

When can landing new business be a dangerous thing? We work diligently in our prospecting effort to land the next BIG ONE. I wrote a previous post on how to land your biggest client ever. It’s a topic that is often discussed as a primary goal to your business development action plan. Let’s talk about when it can be a disastrous move for your business. Size matters in your prospecting effort. Bigger is better. More is Good. It’s all about Excess in Prospecting. Every workshop I teach my participants are all about bagging Bear. Not always is it a good idea to go find a big client, let’s talk about why this can be a bad thing. You have a limited reservoir of the most critical aspect of relationship building and management – time. Every client relationship you bring in – even if someone else does the actual work in delivering your product, requires an ongoing investment of time with you. People buy you, they don’t buy your company. Your reputation and referrability is tied directly to the quality of experience your client has, if it’s stinky, you won’t get referred by them or used by them again. This means you need to know the different transition points within a client engagement – when does the relationship mature. Think of it like dating. There’s the initial attraction stage, the chase, engagement and finally marriage. I’ve been married for more of my life than not married so as the years pass, it’s harder to remember that initial moment when I fell in lust with how he looked in a pair of...
Why Be Ordinary When You Can Be Extraordinary? 

Why Be Ordinary When You Can Be Extraordinary? 

Are there days you ask yourself why you do what you do?  I know many of the professionals I coach will stop and ask themselves this question.  Often when they are experiencing not so great results from a lot of hard work.  We spend 1/3rd of our days at work, sometimes more.  And that’s ½ of our waking hours.  We enter the workforce when we are 20 (sometimes sooner) and we exit at 70+ (remember the ‘new normal’ with retirement planning and social security- don’t get me started) that’s 50+ years you devote to a professional career.  God promises us 3 score and 10 (translates to 70 years in non-Bible math) in our life.  So if we are promised a lifespan of 70 years and more than 2/3rds of that is devoted to our profession, shouldn’t it be something worthwhile? I ask you these questions to get you thinking about what you do in sales.  I was visiting with a group of sales professionals who thought by expanding their relationship with their clients it would appear as if they were ‘just selling more stuff’.  Is that really what you consider a career of sales? People buy solutions from people they know, like and trust.  I don’t know about you, but if someone is ‘just selling something’ they don’t fit into the ‘know, like and trust’ category.   There are a few really smart people I know that are always seeking innovation.  They adopt new habits, buy new technology and hire the best service providers.  I call them when I am looking for a solution.  I do this because I –...