How Being Interested Makes You More Interesting
Whether you’re speaking to a client or a strategic partner, you can improve your refer-ability by getting them to think about their own refer-ability. When you’re having a conversation, 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 good chance that your client or partner will say:
“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 gives you permission to restate your value proposition and reinforce your personal branding strategy. You might say:
“Thanks for asking. 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.
In keeping with not looking needy, frame the reminder with this phrase: This is part of our process. It’s a value-added service our clients find to be of benefit.
Ultimately, this approach needs to be driven by a professional philosophy and mindset, not as a gimmick or tactic to drive sales. Sure, capitalism is rooted in self-interest, networking and endorsements, but you are trying to create a culture of value and awareness for referrals. That can be supported by proper positioning.
There is an old saying that giving starts the receiving process. The world is round and positive actions come back full circle to us in time. 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. It conveys your mindset: You like to identify opportunities where there might be an alignment of interests. In the process you attract referrals rather than chase them.
It’s good karma to be looking out for your clients and partners while demonstrating that you are interested in them and are bringing value to them. 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 your favorite because they are interested in your business and are often trying to add value 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.