How being Interested makes you more Interesting
One of the best ways to open up a conversation with a client about referrals is to offer them rather than ask for them. Whether it's a client or strategic partner, you can improve your refer-ability by getting them to think about their own. As an example, if you are talking to a partner or to a client who is a business owner, or ask them this question:
"The next time I'm talking to someone and the opportunity to wave your flag comes up, how would you like me to describe you?"
There is a very good chance that your client or partner will say to you:
"I appreciate that. No one has ever asked me that before, but come to think about it the best thing to say would be this..."
You can then drill-down a bit and validate your question by saying:
"That's perfect. I'm asking you this because I have a pretty vast network and I'm always looking to make introductions where I see an opportunity and potential fit."
Inevitably your client or partner will ask:
"What is the best way for me to describe you when I get the opportunity in the future?"
This of course gives you permission to remind your client about your value proposition and then reinforce your personal branding strategy. You might say:
"Thanks for asking. And as you know, I manage the wealth of a select few successful business owners across the country using a process that we've developed and refined through many cycles and market conditions."
If they inquire further, you can remind them that you make yourself available as a sounding board should they ever feel compelled to introduce a friend, family member or client to you in the future.
Ultimately this approach needs to be driven by a professional philosophy and mindset, not as a gimmick or tactic to simply drive sales. Sure capitalism is rooted in self-interest, networking and endorsements. But you are trying to create a culture of value and an awareness for referrals. And that can be supported by proper positioning.
There is an old saying that suggests that "Giving starts the receiving process". The world is round and positive actions often come back full circle to us in time.
Position Yourself As a Powerbroker
The beauty of this approach is that it doesn't make you look needy and congruently supports the premise of positioning a referral as a service you provide rather than a favor you request. It conveys your mindset that you like to identify opportunities where there might be an alignment of interests. In the process you attract referrals rather than have to chase them.
It's good Karma to be looking out for your clients and partners while demonstrating that you are always interested in them and looking to bring value they will find to be of actual value. The concept of advocacy appeals to our core drivers as business professionals. Think about it, when you ask someone the question, "How's business?" often after they respond they will ask you how business is for you.
Let me add one more scenario to reinforce this concept. Think of your favorite wholesaler. Sure he or she knows their stuff and works for a good firm that provides good returns. But that isn't why he or she is your favorite wholesaler. They are interested in your business and are often trying to add value to your business beyond just good rates of returns. The most consistent professionals in this business who thrive in all conditions don't live solely by the performance sword. They stand-out and differentiate by being interested in their clients. This not only makes you memorable and referable - it makes you indispensable too.
Contributed by Duncan MacPherson