Tuesday, March 18, 2008

How Can I Help You? How to make generating referrals for your business so much easier

If someone asks you how they can help you, how clearly can you let them know how they can best make a difference to your business? If I was to ask you to tell me the ideal introduction for you, how effective would your answer be?

For most people, the response offered is normally ineffective. We all know our business really well but that makes it difficult for us to focus in on one key area when we are offered support. Yet, if you ask someone to do too much for you, the chances are that they will do nothing.

Why do I say that? It’s quite simple, the more vague or more broad your request, the more work there is for someone else to respond to it. Last week someone told me that they want to speak to anyone who owns a house. How many people do you think I know who are homeowners? How about you?

To meet that request, you have two choices. You can whittle down the list of homeowners you know to someone you’re happy to introduce him to; that alone requires a lot of thought and work and how do you make that decision? The other choice is to offer everyone we know as an introduction, probably very valuable to the person asking but a huge task for us and it’s not one, to be fair, that we are likely to complete.

In fact there is a third choice in circumstances like this, and it’s the one that most people will turn to. That choice is to do nothing at all as neither of the previous alternatives are very attractive.

How much easier would it have been if the selection process had been done for me, in the request? If, instead of being asked who I know who owns a home, I had been asked who I know who has just bought a new home? Instead of a long list of people I know, I would instantly have thought of just one or two people. Assuming that I am happy to make a connection, it would be a lot more likely that I would do so in these circumstances….wouldn’t it?

Always be as specific as you can in requests to your network, remembering that, if people find it easier to refer just one person based on a focused, clearly made description, you will gain far more than listing all of your wants and needs.

Whether you ask for people in a certain situation or name individuals or specific companies, this approach tends to produce much better results. Time after time.

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