You CAN ask new clients for introductions IF the conditions are just right.
First – Engagement must be created.
Second – Value has to be delivered and recognized.
Third – They must have the right personality.
Does your client have to experience results before you can ask them for introductions?
I would say, “Results are in the eye of the beholder.” Have you ever had someone thank you for setting up an appointment? Or thank you for bringing them through a great process that they found educational and thought provoking – even valuable?
3 Conditions for Asking New Clients for Introductions
Prospect & Client Engagement
Satisfied clients are darned loyal, but only about 20% provide introductions. 98% of engaged clients provide introductions. So, you want to create engagement early and continuously to become more and more referable.
Your prospects and clients need to feel engagement in two areas:
- They need to feel connected or engaged in your value. They like the questions that you ask, the things that you teach, your wisdom, and your responsive service.
- They must feel connected or engaged in who you are. They get a sense of you when the see that you truly believe in the value of your work.
These two components of engagement need to be present throughout your client relationships if you wish to remain super referable.
Value Delivered & Recognized
You won’t become referable unless and until value has been delivered and recognized by your prospect or client. The fact that you have delivered value won’t be enough. It needs to be recognized by the receiver of that value.
There are two primary ways to know if your value has been recognized:
- You prospects and clients are making value-recognizing statement. They say things such as: thanks for explaining how that works, thanks for taking the time to get to know us before making recommendations, thanks for nudging us in the right direction, we always feel better after speaking with you, and this meeting (or process) has been very helpful. Hopefully, you are hearing value-recognizing statements on a regular basis.
- You ask value-seeking questions – meaning you check in with your prospects on a regular basis to make sure they are gaining value from the meeting, the process, and/or the overall relationship. In my system, we call this the Value Discussion.
If you want to be proactive early in a newer relationship, the personality of the client should be considered. Prospects and clients who are open in their communication style, are going to be much more open to a request for introductions. They typically let you into their life more quickly than some, so they are usually willing to let you into the lives of others.
If they are guarded in their communication style (like my father the statistician), then you should probably wait a little longer in the relationship. Promote introductions in the first several meetings and watch how they react.
I can’t tell you how many referrals and strong introductions I’ve received at the “point of decision.” You can too!
Here’s a sample conversation to adopt and adapt:
“I applaud you for your decision. It’s an important one and I believe you’ll continue to find great value as we move forward. I know you were considering a couple of other firms. What tipped the scales for you? What has you moving forward with us (me)?”
After the value discussion, you can then say… “I was thinking of your best friend Jack. How do you feel about introducing me to him? Do you think he should at least know about this opportunity?”
Look! There’s no right answer to this question. Here’s what I know for sure… If you lead with a value-centered process, have the client confirm the value you’ve delivered, and then ask for a very specific introduction, you’ll produce consistent results.