Being Specific is Easy

by Charlie Lawson on August 2, 2013 · 0 comments

 Part 3 – The WHY!

In the first two parts of this blog series, we looked at how being specific is easy, both when asking for business or when looking to do work for individuals. Now we come to the most important part of being specific – the WHY!

I was at a networking meeting recently, facilitating a session on specific referral requests.  As per usual at such a session, I encouraged the people present to name a specific person that they’d like to speak to.

One attendee, sat in the far corner of the room, stood up.  It became clear that he didn’t really buy into the process – and challenged me by saying:

‘If it’s so easy to just name the person that would be my dream referral – then fine: I’d like a referral to Sir Richard Branson please’.

He then sat down, arms folded, looking pleased with himself.

I then asked him a question: ‘OK – that’s fine, but why would Sir Richard Branson want to talk to you?’

At this – he had no response.

When networking, whenever we ask for a specific referral request – it is absolutely vital to clearly get across why your referral target would want to speak to you.  Oh, and by the way – the answer to that question can’t be: ‘because I want to sell my product/service to them’.  We’ve got to come up with something much more compelling than that.

So – what can we say to back up our referral requests?  The answer is very simple –telling a story about how you helped a similar client to your target will provide ample evidence that it would be worth their while making the introduction for you.  Did you save that client money?  Did you make that client more efficient?  Did you make that client more profitable?  Did you allow that client to spend more time with their family?

Remember – in a referral, there are three parties: you – the service provider, the client – who buys the product or service, and the introducer – who knows you and the client.  At the specific referral request stage, the only person that matters is the introducer: you’ve not only got to make them confident that you’d do a great job, but more importantly, we’ve got to show them how THEIR credibility will increase by making the introduction.

So, for example, if you’re after a referral to an accountancy practice, preface that referral request by telling a story about how you’ve helped another accountant provide a better service to their clients.  Or, if you’re after a referral to a web designer, first tell a story about how you helped an existing web designer become more profitable.

Then, when it comes to your contact making the introduction to your dream referral – they can refer you with confidence, because they know that making that introduction is going to make them look good.

Have you ever received a referral to your dream client?

Charlie Lawson
Charlie Lawson – BNI National Director and Word of Mouth marketing expert, whose passion is to see BNI members succeed in their businesses.

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