Right now, as always, 3%-4% of your referral network is aware of an opportunity that’s perfect for you, but you’re not going to hear about it. In our article, Networking can be your Fastest Path to Revenue, we explained the 4 obstacles that are keeping your referral partners from referring you as much as they could.
One obstacle that we will explore here in more detail is that most of your referral partners really don’t recognize a perfect opportunity for you when they see one, unless someone specially asks for a referral to someone who does what you do. But that just doesn’t happen often enough, and when it does, it’s much later in the sales cycle than you want to hear about it, right? So, how can you fix this?
First of all, whatever you do, don’t try to bore them to death by describing what you do in great detail and why you’re so good at it. The more words you use, the more you dilute the message, and the greater the chance you’ll lose their attention. More importantly, a more detailed understanding isn’t the real issue.
A second obstacle is that they’re just not always thinking about you. Why should they? When they’re in front of their prospects, they have their own goals to focus on, and they can’t be worried about feeding you. Knowing that, salespeople try to keep others thinking about them by buying them coffee or sending them reminders and success stories, but that ultimately ends with more un-opens and unsubscribes. Bothering them with reminders is also not working the right end of the problem.
Although there are a number things you need to do to completely eliminate these two obstacles, there is one powerful tool that is common to both. Remember the last time you were trying to figure out what car you should buy next? When you figured it out, you suddenly started seeing that car all around you, right? They were there all the time, but you didn’t see them. You didn’t start to see them all until you gave your subconscious brain the new filter for that car, so it would start to bring it to the attention of your conscious mind. We need to leverage that same mental mechanism within our referral partners. We need to get their subconscious brain to filter their world for triggers to you and your solutions as they conduct their own business.
To accomplish this, you first put yourself in your prospect’s world and ask yourself what circumstances change in their world that trigger the need for your products or services. Be thoughtful about this, as there is more to this than you might think.
To illustrate this first step we can use a simple example familiar to all of us, a residential realtor. Their prospects’ is someone who needs to sell and/or buy a new home, because they want to downsize, upsize, or simply change location of their homes. Those changes in circumstances are things like promotions, job transfers, retirement, newly born children, or empty nesting.
The next step is to understand what words would a prospect say that would reflect those new circumstances. Be sure to put those comments in simple spoken language, just as they would likely be stated. In the realtor example those comments would sound like, “I just got a big promotion”, “I’m being transferred to a new location”, “I’m retiring in May”, “Looks like we’re going to be empty-nesters”, or “Now that we know we’re having twins, we may have to break down and move to the suburbs.”
Now, instead of boring your referral partners with all the details of what you do and why you’re so great at it, you can just tell them that when they see these circumstances or hear any of these kinds of statements, that person needs your help. Although there are a number of benefits to this approach, the most important aspect is that your referral partner doesn’t have to be consciously thinking about you. The words of a qualified prospect alone will trigger your referral partner’s attention and remind them that this is an opportunity for you! And the best part is that this is exactly the time when you want to be introduced!
This strategy also has direct implications to who are the most productive referral sources to have in your network, and who will be the least productive. Learn more in the article, The Only People you really need in your Network.
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