- Provide a "wow" experience: we do a lot of work behind the scenes to provide our service, create or deliver our products, and help our clients and customers succeed. Our clients cannot be fully aware of this effort -- they only know what they experience in brief interactions, engagement with our staff or (God forbid) navigating our pre-recorded telephone tree. Jan Carlzon, former CEO of SAS Airlines, aptly named this dynamic in his book Moments of Truth. We can all benefit from looking at our company through our clients' eyes. Where can you transform a blah experience into a wow? More "wows" = more customers interested in referring their friends, relatives, clients, and colleagues to you.
- Be specific: just like defining our target audience, articulating specifically who can benefit from talking with us will yield much better results than trying to be all things to all people.
- Ask for one and you'll get many: try this experiment -- think of "anyone" who is a sports fan. Do you have a strong reaction? I'm looking for sports fans, is there anyone you want to refer to me? Now try this -- who is the most fanatical baseball fan you know? Now does someone come to mind? When someone asks us to think of the most, the best, the tallest, the oldest, the largest, etc. our brains take it as a challenge. There is an answer to that question and we feel compelled to find it. If my target audience were baseball fans, guess what I would ask after securing the most fanatical fan in someone's life? "Who is the second most fanatical...?"
- Talk about the benefit of contacting you, not of hiring you or your company: as we've discussed before, sales is a dating process. What both the referrer and the person you hope to meet need to know is how he or she will be better off after simply meeting or talking with us. We get better results by selling the meeting, not the value of doing business with us.
- Teach them how: when we succeed in describing who would benefit from speaking with us, trigger the most likely person to have a problem we can solve, and make it clear how a simple conversation will help him or her, our referral partner will be eager to contribute. It stands to reason that we will be doing him or her a service by making it easy to refer. Have a plan about how you would like that introduction to go and make sure it's easy for him or her to execute.
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