So, it’s been a while since you received a referral. Now what? Leads and referrals happen for a reason. Usually due to the work you do in presenting your business to your network to make it easier for them to refer you.
Over the next several newsletters, we will explore several steps you can take to end the dry spell. Step one is to target the people in your sphere of influence. Those are the folks who are most likely to pass you a lead or referral and make a simple introduction.
The first step is to define who those folks are.
Do you know who is in your sphere of influence? Do the people in your sphere know that?
We often take things for granted. The CPA may assume the bookkeeper will pass them leads and referrals and vice versa. Most probably do. Yet the conversations still need to be had on a fairly timely basis. At a minimum, once a quarter. During a dry spell. It should be more frequent.
Conversations with your sphere of influence don’t have to be anything more than answering a few simple questions:
What are you working; what new business have you recently received?
What referral source did that piece of business come from?
You would be amazed how providing answers to very basic questions can trigger possible introductions.
For example, let’s say the bookkeeper just started doing work for a pet store. The CPA may have done work for a pet store in the past. Perhaps he/she could arrange an introduction for the bookkeeper?
Let’s take it a step further and state the referral came from a financial planner who set up the 401(k) for the pet store. If the financial planner is making that type of a referral, is it a leap to think he/she could refer the CPA? Probably not.
So, what would it look like to make that introduction happen? Ideally, people in your network and sphere of influence are looking to ways to introduce you and pass business. But that’s a very conscious effort. With people as busy as they are it might not be a top-of-mind thought. That’s why the CPA should ask the question:
“Would your financial planner be open to an introduction?”
Simple question. The bookkeeper might not have been thinking of it. Or maybe he/she was but wanted to be more established with the client before making the request.
By having a regular dialogue with your sphere of influence, you can ask these types of questions. This minimizes the likelihood of misunderstandings (e.g. “Jim the Bookkeeper hasn’t passed me any business.”). It will also increase the possibility of discovering additional introduction possibilities.