How to find Hidden Referral Opportunities – Part 4

We saved the best for last.  This is the 4th referral types at PRO, and it is the most potent!

  1. Personal Referral
  2. Connecting Referral
  3. Low Hanging Fruit Referral
  4. Listening Referral

At first glance this is the hardest to uncover. Not really. This type of referral takes listening, but it is also the most rewarding of referrals not just for the person receiving the referral, but for you!

Who doesn’t want their clients and sphere to see them as subject matter experts, the right person to ask for resources, a person they can trust for the best connections and referrals? Your connections appreciate and remember that you have introduced them to things that have made their lives better, enriched their experiences, business profits and perhaps even increased their quality of life. A person with that kind of reputation has fiercely loyal clients, friends that are cheerleaders, and a built in marketing strategy that almost runs itself.

Listening referrals are exactly as they sound. You listen to the person’s challenge or problem – and you suggest a referral that may solve their issue. Generally speaking the person says nothing about their need for a referral. They just discuss something they are up to or they discuss a problem they are up against. Sincerely, you listen. Do you think a member of PRO could help them? Listening referrals show up in all kinds of ways, but here are a few examples:

You are talking with a friend on vacation about his new franchise. He tells you how low the profit margins are for his business, though he is grossing high income. He shares he is bound to using the franchises suggested vendors for things like direct mail and cleaning materials. 

You think about how credit card processing fees saved your cost of doing business, bringing more profit to your bottom line. You ask your friend if he has control over his credit card processing vendor – and you share that you know someone that was able to save you a considerable amount of money. Your contact agrees to having that person call him.

Your vendor tells you they are delighted with their recent business growth. They have had to hire another two employees and an intern. The conversation is mostly small talk about how “crazy” things are at work. There isn’t a large perceived problem, but it left an opportunity for you to ask how they are doing in different areas of the business. You might say:

Congratulations! Good for you. I know someone that helps business people like you comfortably get to the next level in their business. I know you are pretty goal driven and she has worked with some companies that have experienced similar growth to you. Sometimes fast growth without a coach can be overwhelming. She is pretty exceptional and knows how to safely navigate growth like yours. Do you want me to see if I can arrange for her to meet you?                      

A vendor gives you a color copy of a product. She apologizes for the poor quality of the copy, saying, “We are out of ink again or maybe there is a problem with the printer. I don’t know.”

Ask how old the copier is. Where are they getting ink and is that working? Do you have a reliable service rep? Do you want me to have her call you?

You are at happy hour and your friend is late. She is upset about traffic and she says she and her husband are thinking of selling their home and moving closer to their offices.

You might ask if having information from a real estate agent exploring the cost of the houses in the area they want, and pulling their current house’s value would be helpful? “I know an exceptional real estate agent. He works by mostly referrals, but I am sure he would be happy to help you.”

You get the picture! Talking with your contacts in this way not only will increase the quality of referrals to PRO, but it will also strengthen your relationship with your clients and peers. Over time you will develop a reputation of being a go-to person for connections among your clients and contacts. Best of all, you will be top of mind for these contacts when they need your product or services. They appreciate how your referrals have helped them. People don’t forget this helpfulness.

Another bonus? Now two people want to do something good for you. The person you referred, and the person that you gave a valuable connection.

Last but not least, the conclusion.  

PRO is best made of all of these types of referrals to grow and thrive. We recommend to be most successful at PRO your referrals look like this:

  • Personal, Connection & Low Hanging Fruit Referrals 25%, or 2@month
  • Listening Referral 50% or 2@month

Angela Todd is the principal designer at Angela Todd Designs, a premier interior design boutique firm in Portland, Oregon specializing in new construction, remodeling and full home furnishings. Learn more about Angela here.

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