This week we are going to be focusing on one practical application that will transform your referral production: Asking your clients the most important question.
What is that question?
This: What would you say when you introduced me to “x”?
X equals your ideal client…not just any client, but the ones you really want to meet to transform not only your business, but your life as well. (When you work with ideal clients every part of your life tends to work better).
Why is this so important that I am asking you to do this today if possible?
Because you have to know what your clients would say when they introduce you so that you can get an expanded view of what they feel is most significant about their relationship with you. I have been doing this the past few months and the answers at first disturbed me and then inspired me to accelerate the development of a new business concept for me.
Your clients are going to tell you, after the initial awkward pause that always happens when you ask an intelligent question that requires them to really think (these are the types of questions that change the game for #referrals btw), some vital things. One thing you will learn is what they feel is the best reason for someone to want to meet you (invaluable).
Another thing you might learn is that your client actually doesn’t have an answer that they are comfortable giving. This could mean several things. They might have an unresolved service issue with you that is preventing them from being comfortable referring to you at the moment…don’t you think that would be important to know so that you can immediately resolve it. Don’t be afraid to explore this.
Additionally, you might find that your client has been trying to introduce you unsuccessfully already and will welcome some coaching from you on how to make it easier…massive insight and a true ‘turbocharge’ for your referral program.
Finally, you might find that what they value the most is something that you do, but didn’t really value as highly yourself as a professional.
This is the really good stuff on the menu. It might be something that you are uncomfortable with at first, but it might inspire you to change how you talk about what you do at a foundational level and propel you to significant growth on a short and long term basis.
Here is what happened to me when I asked the question:
I found out that none of my clients value my referral expertise as highly as I do.
That doesn’t mean that they don’t appreciate it and that they don’t benefit tangible from that expertise…but, it isn’t what they value the most.
Here are two versions of how they would introduce me (from a 5 year and 10 year client):
- I have been working with Mike for many years and the biggest thing I get from him is personal growth. He believes in me and challenges me to continually improve as a person and that drives continued business success without compromising my family.
- Mike will always respond to any question I have, no matter how personal or complex, with a quick and direct answer that will help me…even if I don’t like his answer or implement his advice. I know he is 100% in my corner and will be there when I most need his help.
These are business coaching clients of mine basically describing me as a Life Coach. That is a title I have avoided for many years for many reasons, but the reality is that is how my clients perceive my value after they hire me. I am in the process of exploring how to incorporate that reality into my company and systems as a direct result because of one thing: I want more clients like those two and I am going to adjust everything to make it easier for them to introduce me to other clients like them.
Practical Application: You need to ask this question, ASAP, with your top 10 clients. Take 5 minutes right now and schedule a few blocks of time in your schedule over the next two weeks (if not this week) to get on the phone and have a short conversation asking them the question: How would you introduce me to ‘x’?
Write down the answers and review them after you finish.
- What did you learn?
- Was it what you thought it would be?
- Was it different?
- What might you be able to do with this information?
This is the type of work that is transformation for successful business owners and especially for #financialadvisors. Why? Because it is the conversation that isn’t being had by 99.99% of your competition with their clients (and I suspect by you as well). We aren’t asking them WHY they became a customer (that is valuable too)...but are focusing on the question that drives all referral production at the significant and predictable level.
These conversations requires character growth and often is made more effective with some outside perspective. I absolutely love having these types of interactions with character driven and successful business owners.