Do you recall playing with magnets as a child? Depending on which way you turned the magnets, they were either attracted to or repelled by one another. As an adult, we may find ourselves feeling six years old again when we make a phone call to a referral who turns out to not be a referral at all. Similar to a magnet turned the wrong direction, you are not being embraced. Rather, you are being resisted. The referral you were given that should have been a “warm introduction” quickly turns into a cold call.
We all want good referrals – people who want to talk to us. We want to give and receive referrals that are willing conversations about the products and services we offer. To receive more effective referrals from the members of our business networking group, we must help them understand our business and our target market enough to identify a good referral for us.
Here are four tips to follow that can lead to more willing conversations.
*1. The Needs Assessment*
It is our responsibility to be very clear and specific with our referral partners about what constitutes a good referral. This is a combination of an ideal prospect profile and the problems that we can solve for them.
This is an example of a clearly defined target market is for a corporate coach:
A small to medium-sized company with fewer than one hundred employees. They are closely held, often family-owned, and regional with locations in three or fewer states. They pride themselves on higher-than-average retention of their employees due to a reputation of treating them like family. They are in a competitive industry and are committed to gaining an advantage.
*2. Your Unique Selling Proposition*
Do you have dozens or hundreds of competitors in your marketplace? You probably do. That means your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) is very important because it allows you to stand out among your competition.
Your USP is a brief description of the purpose of your business, stated in the most concise and compelling way possible, in order to help others understand the unique value of what you do. Your USP tells people the type of client you work with and the benefits you provide to them.
What are you saying that makes you stand out? What do you do that your competition cannot touch? At the very least, figure out what you do better than your rivals and go beyond simply saying “good customer service”.
*3. Why Are You in Business?*
What is your passion? Why do you go to work? Unfortunately, one of the most popular answers to this question is “To make money.” That’s the worst answer a business professional can ever give.
Why are you in your profession? How do you change lives? That’s what the referral partners in your business networking group need to know. Remember, passion is referable. You need to go deep and identify your “why” if you want to truly connect with people on a personal level.
*4. What is Your Emotionally Charged Connection?*
Your Emotionally Charged Connection (ECC) is a phrase, leading to a story, that your referral partners can recite when referring to you.
We all have an ECC. It was something that happened to you, often during childhood, that lays the groundwork for who you are as a person. It can be positive or it can be negative. Many people are not consciously aware of their Emotionally Charged Connection, yet it is the reason we get up in the morning and do the things we do every day. It’s driven by the heart, not the checkbook or the head–there’s a big difference.
You can read about my ECC here.
The better you become at sharing the information in these tips with your business networking group, the more likely you are to feel like the magnet that attracts instead of the magnet that repels. Your referral partners will be able to give you good referrals that lead to the willing conversation.
What have you shared with your network that has helped you gain willing conversations with prospective customers?