Why You Aren’t Getting More Ideal Clients

Lagging vs. Leading Measures when it comes to Referrals

Still here?  I know that isn’t the most exciting title ever, but you are here anyway so let's do something that will help your business and life:  focus on what leads to predictable referrals.  This weeks Can I Borrow Your Car newsletter is inspired by the book “The 4 Disciplines of Execution” by Chris McChesney, Sean Covey and Jim Huling.

You aren’t getting more referrals for ideal clients because you are probably focused on the wrong things and you aren’t weird.  Most professional service providers (financial, legal, accounting, consulting) get bogged down in the everyday execution of the technical side of their work and neglect what is most important on an ongoing basis: 

working on leading measures vs. lagging measures.

Lagging measures are data points that you get AFTER the result has already happened.

Leading measures are different (and awesome!).  They are (1) predictive, meaning that if they change you will know that the lag measure will change and (2) they are adaptive, meaning that you can change them without stopping your process.

Why is this so important for referrals?  Because most of you are operating a referral ‘system’ predicated upon lag measures and missing the most important leading measure of all:  face to face conversations and to a lesser extent phone calls with your clients.

If you are a successful #financialadvisor and own your own practice (or want to one day) you know that the most important thing you do is have conversations with your clients.  After all, you are an ‘advisor’ and ultimately you are going to be measured by your clients based upon the quality and quantity of your conversations with them and the results they experience.

#Socialmedia and the internet (and smartphones) have lulled us into a false layer of confidence about our client relationships when it comes to retention and referrals. 

There is too much noise and volume when it comes to most communication schemes now.  Email automation, extreme volumes of marketing tech to our current clients is all obscuring the foundational truth that when it comes to getting referrals from our clients…nothing and I mean NOTHING beats face to face or a personal phone call.

Literally, if one of my #coaching clients is in a rut and needs some more referrals, my first action step is for them to start calling their best clients more and just talking to them and showing appreciation.  In my 20+ years of coaching referrals for service professionals I have never seen an increase in client conversations (not reviews or sales calls) not result in referrals within a 90 day period.  You know this is true.

The second leading measure for getting more referrals is giving.  When you combine more conversations with your clients with asking how else you can help them in addition to what they are paying you for…you are being both efficient and very, very effective.

One example of a lagging measure is this: how many referrals you have received in a given interval of time.  This is valuable from a strategic view point, but is of no value in the immediate moment.

Action steps:  Start measuring how many conversations you have with your favorite clients apart from your normal process and especially how many of those you can make ‘giving’ conversations.  Literally, even if your client doesn’t need any help, the act of you calling to ask them how you can give to them without taking from them is of tremendous impact. You will (almost certainly) need to remove some things from your calendar in order to prioritize this and you will not regret doing so.

Related: How Can I Have The Right Conversations to Generate Referrals?