Monday, June 2, 2008

WHY WORK BY REFERRAL – PART 3

This is the final installment of a three-part article that will walk you through the philosophy and basic strategies of Working By Referral (WBR).

  • In Part 1, we talked about why we MUST Work By Referral. Things have changed and the traditional methods of lead and customer acquisition just don’t work any longer

  • In Part 2, we talked about why you CAN Work By Referral – Why EVERYBODY can work by referral. You can because you have a wealth of opportunity before even walking out your door. TRUE! And you don’t have to be an outgoing, Type-A social networker either.

  • Finally, here in Part 3 we'll discuss HOW you can Work By Referral. We’ll go over the three basic strategies of Working By Referral and give you some easy first steps to take.


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HOW you can Work By Referral – It’s a simple process of caring for, contacting with and uniting the people that comprise your LIST OF RELATIONSHIPS.


HERE'S THE SIMPLE Three-Step TEMPLATE FOR WORKING BY REFERRAL


1. CONTACT:

a. Face to Face (coffee or lunch) as often as possible (with your A's).
b. Calls about every 60 days. More frequent for your very best A's.

c. Personal, handwritten notes as often as possible
.
d.
Personal Email
e. Group Email

2. CONNECTION:

a. Networking
b. BEING a source of referral

3. CONCERN:
a. ALWAYS listening and lending a hand either with your time, your energy or your resources (contacts, knowledge, expertise) Not just limited to your field.
b. Remembering to follow up about significant events in people's lives.


Let's take a minute to talk about each one of these and you'll be ready to put this simple yet POWERFUL system into action... TODAY!


CONTACT

Simply stated people will forget about you if you don't stay in contact with them. I know we'd all like to think that after explaining our need for their referral business that our friends and family will be digging day and night to generate leads for us, but that's simply not the case. People lead very busy lives these days and even when the PERFECT referral opportunity presents itself to them, they may not remember to help people connect with you. That's why it's so very important to keep in touch with several levels of communication.

Here's each of the methods that have proven to be most effective. I'd say these are also listed in order of effectiveness.

Face to Face as often as possible (with your A's).

Nothing beats sitting down for lunch or coffee and just getting to know our best Sphere's of Influence (SOI's) People will indeed tell you their life story if you're just willing to listen. Listening to someone uninterrupted and uneditorialized is one of the greatest gifts you can give.

Invest your time into the value of the relationship and you'll reap dividends in every area of life


Calls about every 60 days. More frequent for your very best A's.
Don't make this a big deal! Just pick up the phone and say howdy. "Just checking in with you, John to see how life has been treating you. How's things?"

If you feel better, have a little something to offer. Maybe ask if they'd like the link to an online article or blog post you read that might be helpful. Offer to send them a file with a list of 10 best ways to (whatever...). Having something to offer often can overcome any call reluctance you might have.


Personal, handwritten notes as often as possible
Get yourself a box of simple, blank greeting cards. Whenever you have a conversation with someone that has any kind of significant event, drop them a quick note. "What should I say?," you ask. GREAT question.

Simply write from your heart. Write what you'd like to hear. I know sometimes the words just don't come. In that case, I'd recommend a great little book that is a tremendous desktop reference tool. Read it just once and you'll be on your way. Refer to it when you get that occasional Writer's Block. Personal Notes: How to Write from the Heart for Any Occasion

I've learned that notes are so much more than a TOOL TO GET REFERRALS (although it seems to work that way) Notes will bless and enrich the lives of the recipients. They will possibly be that one bright spot in an otherwise ROTTEN DAY.

I've been using this book or about 8 months now. The author, Sandra E Lamb offers a step by step process to learn to convey the real you in your notes. This process is so helpful when you know what you want to say in your heart but the words just don't come out for you.


Personal Email
Sometimes just a quick PERSONAL email is going to be almost as effective as a note. Email will never replace the warmth and impact that an old fashioned note in the snail-mail, but if it's done correctly, it can be a genuine connection event between you and your friend.

Make sure you remove any 'automatic signature' things that ask for referrals or give any other kind of 'commercial' for you. Just make a personal note from you to them without any other agenda.


Group Email
I send these out monthly. They're a great way to offer a 'group connection.' Here's your opportunity to send out multiple touches with just the click of your mouse. You can use your regular email, but I like to use iContact. where you can get a free trial and then if you decide to keep it, its only $9.95 a month. It's very user friendly and will track your email by telling you how many people opened it, how many people clicked on any links you had in your email and if they sent it on to friends or unsubscribed.

I use all that information to help me know which people in my list of relationships are still viable and interested in being in touch with me. I never want to push myself on someone who's not interested. The unsubscribe is an excellent tool for that. Helps me spend the best time on and with people who are interested


CONNECTION


Networking
You may think that all I've been describing is 'networking.' While the definition is different for different people, to me, networking is the act of CONNECTING your list of relationships

This is an excellent way to deepen the friendships you have and create others along the way. Just by getting several of your friends together for coffee, happy hour or a lunch you will rapidly expand the effectiveness of your referral network.

There's two ways to approach this.

1. Simply connect your friends and assiociates as friends. Bring them together for a good time.

2. Connect them as business people. Offer to introduce your plumber to your attorney if he needs some plumbing work. Tell your best friend about your handyman if she needs some work done on her patio roof. Let all your network know that you're the GO TO PERSON when they need a trusted contractor, business or professional to help them out


BEING a source of referral
Remember that in order to get referrals, you need to provide them. Simply connecting your network together with referrals tells them that WBR is the best way to find a business or service that you need. It keeps you and your philosophy in front of them and then when the time is appropriate, they'll remember you and send people your way.


CONCERN


ALWAYS listening and lending a hand either with your time, your energy or your resources (contacts, knowledge, expertise) Not just limited to your field.
This is what makes us better people. This habit of remembering that everyone we meet loves someone, is afraid of something or has lost someone separates us from the slam-bam-thank-you-m'am way that many people do business these days

We have a TREMENDOUS opportunity to be a blessing to people along our 'business way.' It really doesn't take any extra time to listen with both ears and your heart. Nothing can substitute the impact of a soul to soul connection that leads to deeper relationships. Take a minute to listen to the story about their vacation where everything went wrong, to the mom who's daughter got arrested over the weekend, or to the man who just lost his father.

Express your genuine concern, maybe an offer for assistance, or your promise to follow-up and check in on them. Then...

Remembering to follow up about significant events in people's lives.
After you've connected with people, don't forget them. Drop them a note, call them to be sure they're ok, take them out to lunch to get the latest on their progress, or brighten their day by stopping by with a small gift.


THE PROCESS TO A RICHER LIFE
All of this 'work' can take you less than a couple hours a day. Then you go out to lunch with a few friends. Then on the way home you stop by another friends house and bring them a small bouquet of flowers or a Snickers Bar. Make another call or two on the way home to a couple more friends and invite them to the ball game or a small BBQ at your home over the weekend.

Think of the new friends and the depth of the relationships you'll develop.

At the end of the day, its really the people that make a difference. Make a difference in their lives and you'll be rich beyond measure.

dvIt's a Good Life !

Dennis Volz Insurance Agency
Spring Valley, CA
OFFICE: (619) 670-1000 - FAX: (619) 670-1121 - Cell (619) 339-1339
Email: Dennis@DennisVolz.com

Websites:
Company Site: DennisVolzInsurance.COM,
Client Convenience Site: 6701000.com

My 'Other Blogs'
The San Diego Insurance Blog
Active Rain Networking Site

Musings from California


2 comments:

Steven said...

Nice 3 part series on "Why Work By Referral" You are very right in that today's business is much different than it was only a decade ago. Professional networking and creating spheres of influence are crucial to growing a small or medium sized business. Great tips in all three parts.
-Steve Boorstein
for ReferralSmart.com

Martie Yap said...
This comment has been removed by the author.