What is the hardest part of 'the biz?' Getting clients of course. And everyone is trying to sell you a 'solution.' What I do is a bit different, because I take something that has worked for decades, and fine tune it for my business.
What am I talking about? The REFERRAL of course!!
You can click the "x" and write this off, or continue reading to find out why this works. I was in the insurance/investment industry for a few years, and the term "referrals" was used as often as the word "the" it seemed. I learned every single thing about getting referrals. Why? Because the insurance industry makes millions of dollars by training their producers this way.
Why cold call your whole life, send direct mail, or 500 emails a day? Everyone has a network of friends and family. If you do not, dont take it personal. What i mean, is most people have people they interact with on a daily, weekly, monthly, or annual basis.
In the insurance industry, the first thing they teach you to do, is leverage this network, your 'circle of influence' if you will...
But wait, thats uncomfortable, not fun, and not easy...right? Yeah I agree because I didnt follow through with everything I was taught because thats not how I operate. I made it hard on myself by building a network of clients, and then leveraging referrals.
But once you see how the insurance industry is structured, you start to realize they are a lot smarter than most businesses, and make tons of a money for a reason. The formula is simple:
Hire tons of producers, have them leverage their personal market, have them get referrals from their 'circle of influence,' build a network of clients through these referrals, get new referrals from these clients, and repeat over the course of a career.
Well you can skip the first part and try and get clients by yourself and then ask for referrals, or you can talk to your cousins, friends, and whoever else and approach them in a way that makes it easy for them to give you referrals.
I've found it profitable both ways. The referral process is a book in itself, and can be structured many ways, so I wont delve deep into that.
But I will tell you this, most people make the mistake of "asking for referrals."
"Hey Suzy, I'm doing Internet Marketing for small businesses, and was curious if you had anyone in mind who might need my services?"
Suzy: Um, not off the top of my head, but I'll keep that in mind.
Sound familiar? You feel great and feel like you have done something to potentially increase your business. In reality, you're never going to get a referral from Suzy. Why? Because you went about it wrong.
The process involves planting the seed, asking for recognition, confirming that recognition, throwing out keywords to make connections, asking for referrals, being fed the referral, following up warmly.
Like i said, the nuts and bolts are similar no matter how you do it, but the little details are the difference between getting no names and 5 names.
"Hi bob, the reason for my call is I do internet marketing for small businesses. Do you have some time next week for me to share some ideas with you?"
"Hi Bob, this is Jeremy calling. We actually have a mutual acquatiance, Suzy, and she gave me your info. I work with businesses on generating leads and new customers, and she thought you may be interested in some ideas."
Bob: "Umm, yeah Jeremy. Actually suzy said something the other day about you might be calling. Not sure exactly what you do, but come by Wednesday at 3 and lets hear what you've got to say."
Big difference between the cold call and the warm call. And its all because of how you get the referral.
I'll end with this. If you hate cold calling and want new clients, whats gonna make someone give you a name:
1) "Suzy, I'm doing Internet Marketing now, and was curious if you had any friends that may need my services?"
2) "Suzy, I'm trying to leverage my person market to generate some interest in my business. Here's a sheet I have created to help me keep track. i know you are good friends with sam at the yoga studio, but besides her, could you jot down the names of 3 people with businesses or who just might need these services?"
If suzy is a friend or relative that actually likes you, you better believe she is going to jot down 3 names of people for you to call, because you've made it easy for her. and now the numbers say you will end up meeting with 2 of the 3. Then it becomes a numbers game.
And this is just a small example of the process and power of referrals. Hope someone finds use in this.