We use referrals all the time everyday. What restaurant, movie, store, dentist, doctor, would you recommend and why? Yet when it comes to business to business referrals there seems to be a disconnect; or am I the only one who sees this?
Many businesses join organizations to increase their customer base. It could be the chamber, TEAM, BNI Pro-Visors, or smaller private groups. Some are industry specific and some like the rotary are service based. They all have the common thread of connecting to expand sales; some are also a place to learn more about making your company more sustainable.
When you join it’s imperative that you get to know the people and are active. Some groups have troikas where you can spend more time really getting to know what a business does. Others require you to give names of potential referrals.
What is important is people need to know who you are in terms of what you and your company offer, what you value and how you can assist.Now here is the big disconnect. for many service companies,people don’t know they need you until they have an issue they complain to a colleague and the colleague says call ..Perhaps Training Solutions and they can provide the tools that can fix the situation.
Why wait until there is an issue? One of my favorite assignments was doing a pre-nuptual analysis and review after the honeymoon. Intrigued? A very wise lady who was the founder of the company was selecting a new CEO. She wanted to make sure they would be compatible. Two years later i was called back after the “Honeymoon” to reassess. I told the founder it is time to think about getting a new CEO the red flags were showing.
We know when we need a doctor or lawyer, plumber, or CPA. etc. but other services are harder because we don’t know what we don’t know. Why do I need someone to do a website or design my collateral material or help me hire staff or look at marketing, or do a strategic plan to move forward. I’m smart I can do this. Really? You are omnipotent and can do it all and you will work 24/7? Get a clue. No you aren’t and no you won’t.. Why are you so afraid to ask for help or advice? Are you embarrassed that you don’t know all the answers; that you aren’t who others perceive you to be. I have often mentioned a comment a client made: a lawyer, she went to law school and learned the law she didn’t learn how to be a lawyer or how to set up a business. She was smart enough to ask me for business help. She knew what she didn’t know. Unfortunately too many don’t admit they need advice on how to grow their company, and make their lives easier.
You as a service provider can see the issues can ask the questions because the business owner trusts you. This is where you dip into your list of resources and help them find the right person, a referral.; and be the hero.
Here’s a tip for Lawyers, CPA, Accountants, Financial Planners, Doctors, Insurance brokers, Dentists. Therapists, and etc. If you work with or know of businesses that could use other resources including business consulting and advisors, share the information. Your clients and friends will be very grateful and in turn will refer you more because you understand their business and care enough to help them succeed.
Then there is the other group that wants everyone to think they did this all on their own.. get over it. We all know you didn’t you had help so why don’t you share the resources and help you got? We tell others about good or bad restaurants or service why don’t we refer business consultants, advisors, executive coaches? Perhaps people don’t fully understand what the do .