If you are a service professional (lawyer, accountant, consultant, financial advisor, R.E. broker, etc…) who must do great work and who depends on referrals to the right clients then read on!
You provide an important service to a client when they need your expertise. So, how do you become aware of the right client who can benefit from your knowledge and expertise?
Getting to the right clients is critically important to you and your brand
The first step is to define your potential client. Understanding what your client looks like is very important. Their market and market segment tell you a lot. As an example, let’s say your ideal client is a privately held company (your market) that does between $5 and $25 million in revenue (market segment).
A company that size will benefit from the services and resources that you can bring to bear to help solve their issue. From a competitive perspective, you are in the right segment both in terms of pricing and service capability.
If you decide that you want to move up to a higher segment say in the $50 – $100 million because you can charge higher fees you might make a very big mistake.
By trying to work in this segment you are bringing in a whole new level of competition. Competitors who have more resources and can better serve the clients. Those who can refer those clients would be more inclined to refer them to an individual in a firm who has more resources and in turn will reflect well on them.
You could end up wasting a lot of time and actually see a revenue decline.
There are also those that employ the “flypaper rule”. That is, they will take on anyone who can pay their fee. They have no direction and they are the incessant networkers who show up at networking events hoping to get a referral. They are typically not memorable so they feel they need to strike when they show up. They definitely are challenged to get results and have few if any real relationships.
What is the best distribution strategy for you to employ?
A marketing strategy is used to be able to collaborate with the clients who can benefit from your services. It is employed to make potential clients aware of your expertise and resources to help solve their issues.
Companies who are interested in getting in front of the customers who can use their products employ various strategies depending on their product. Some companies use direct marketing where they use ads and discounts to get customers to use their products.
Other companies use relationship marketing through distributors who are continually enhancing existing customer relationships and loyalty. A company that uses an existing distributor network invests heavily in the relationships as they are the lifeline to the customers who want to use their products.
In most cases, for the service professional, direct marketing is not a very good strategy since clients need your services only when they need them. The better way to work with your ideal client is to get a referral from a trusted advisor who is already working with that client.
Building A Distribution Network (Relationship System)
Just like companies that employ a network of distributors to get their products in the hands of their customers, professional service providers who are in it for the long haul will have key relationships that they can depend on to get to the ideal client consistently.
The difference between a professional who creates a dependable relationship system and a “networker” who likes to work the room is that the networker will have a very inconsistent business and will not be very successful. They view others as a commodity and don’t want to take the time to build a referral partnership over time.
The Key Fundamentals in Building a Long Term Referral Partnership
In order to identify the right person for a potential referral partnership, it is imperative that you know what your business objectives are and the type of clients you serve. If you have done your planning correctly, you know how much new revenue you want to achieve and how you will make it happen. That is the type and size of the clients that you can best serve given your expertise and the resources you bring to bear.
The clarity of this is very important. Why? You must be able to articulate what your ideal client looks like in order to identify the right people who are also working with a similar type of client. Make sure you are clear on the individual’s discipline (ie.. attorney, accountant, insurance broker, etc..). The individual’s specialty is equally important.
As an example, If you work with privately held companies, a trusted advisor who has a close relationship with an owner is probably an accountant whose specialty is tax would be a very good choice.
The Effectiveness of Identifying “The Four Connectors”
Time is the most precious commodity for every service professional. In our normal business activities, we meet people all the time. Depending on how much time we want to allocate to socializing is a personal choice. But, when it comes to building a long-term referral partnership we must realize that we will invest a great deal of time to make it right.
One cannot afford to invest a lot of time without the “four connectors” being in place.
- Type of Client
- Size of Client
Without them, time is being wasted. That is why so many professionals dislike attending networking events. They meet and greet a lot of nice people but few if any have the “four connectors” and there are no badges identifying them! As a result, they end up wasting time as it relates to finding the right people.
If you discover a professional where the “four connectors” are in place, the only question is can you work with them and build a mutually beneficial partnership?
The Vetting Process – The Path To A Great Relationship
Relationships just don’t happen! They happen because two individuals want it to happen and invest the time to see where it may go. In a dating scenario, two people need to determine chemistry, to see what they have in common, and to determine character to see if the relationship will work.
Once professionals connect, now it’s time to see if the relationship can come together. The first stage is “likability”.
None of us will ever refer someone unless we like them and appreciate who they are.
If you get past the first stage, then it is on to the second stage where you both need to analyze each other’s business to make sure you can help each other. If everything is still tracking the last stage is to make sure you are working with someone of character.
They do what they say they will do and they honor the relationship. This vetting process could take anywhere from 30-90 days. The key is to not rush it.
The Relationship Agreement
Once the vetting process has been completed the process is not complete until you both agree as to how the partnership should be conducted. Set forth the parameters in an agreement that makes sense for you both. Agreeing to a zoom meeting once a month for 15-20 minutes to update each other as to events, people, or ideas that you have come across not only strengthens the relationship, it keeps you both front and center on helping each other!
The Impact of The Pandemic And Now A Recession
No question the pandemic and now a potential significant recession is causing all of us issues but don’t let it impact what you want to accomplish in 2023!
Relationships are key.
We have developed a mobile app that will assist you in identifying the right people where ever you are to get the results you want. For the first time ever, you will see the person’s “four connectors” before you click the connect button. No wasting time.
The name of the app is Relpip – it comes from a relationship with someone who has the PIP (Purposeful, Intentional, Passionate about their business).
Take a look at our informational website at https://relpip.com to see if we are right for you.
If so, you can download it from the Apple App Store or in the Google Play Store. It is free. We have upgradeable premium memberships depending on what you have identified in your business objectives and the level you need to be.
Our national launch is now underway. We are currently beginning to populate the community. If you like what you see and would like to download the app to be part of the community to help us out, we are happy to send you a complimentary coupon upgrade for our highest premium membership that you can redeem in the App Store good for one year. Be sure we will also take care of your friends and colleagues!
After you download the app, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will take care of you!