Jeff Howell: Orchestrate Referrals From Existing Clients!

Orchestrate Referrals From Existing Clients!

This is Jeff Howell with the second edition of Mindset Monday. And I just wanted to kind of drop a few thoughts here on the client relationship. So last week we went into how to build better trust with relationship with the relationship with our clients and and how those relationships are only going to move forward sort of at the speed of trust. So the more trust that you build, the more you’re going to be able to solidify those relationships with your clients and keep them as clients and continue to expand upon those relationships. So today I just wanted to add to that a little bit and give you a little bit more insight on how to do that. So for I think for starters, you know, there’s a few things that people tend to think about when they’re dealing with clients. And for me it’s like there’s never as long as you’re adding value, like there’s never too much communication, like you can never offer too much customer service, You can never educate your clients too much. You can never do too much follow up again to qualify that. It’s if you’re adding value. So I wouldn’t recommend just, you know, you don’t want every conversation with your client to be about trying to get their credit card number or payment or whatever. Like make sure that you have a solid system in place where the relationship, the conversations that you’re having with them are adding value along the way. So one way that I do this is to continuously lead them down a path of what value I can add to them.

So in the early stages of a relationship, it’s always about the leads, right? I mean, that’s really what they want in the beginning and that’s what they need. But once you get them to start working with you to get leads, then you can start expanding upon that and adding those little value propositions along the way to draw them in more and more and more into your wheelhouse and again, solidify the relationship for the long term with the ultimate goal. And my own mindset. Part of it is to build your agency and to do that through referrals. So that’s kind of where I’m leading with the mindset part of it today. So once you start delivering those leads, then you can add the reporting, monthly reporting. That’s data that you can you can give to your client to help them grow their business. And they don’t they’re probably not going to know how to read the data. They’re probably not number one, they don’t know what’s available. They’ve never had anything like that. Once you give it to them, they don’t really know how to read it. So I would recommend that first, once you get them into supplying the leads, then start supplying the data at the end of the month. Like how many calls did they get? How many form submissions do they get? What does that look like as far as like? How many calls are going to voicemail? How many calls are getting missed? How do they sound on the phone? All of that is data that you can help to identify the challenges that they have in their own process and help them solve them along the way.

So that that’s sort of the next level. And then the next level after that, I would say I would say most of these people are not super tech savvy. So if you come in and bombard them with all these tech options, it’s going to probably scare them away a little bit. But if you lead them down this path, like I say, adding a little bit on as the relationship builds, then it’s going to be a little bit easier for them to see the value of it and to not be afraid of it. So once you got in the leads, you’re giving them the data on a monthly basis. Get them into the system, give them user access so that they can start looking at these dashboards on their own and that they’ll have access to that kind of data, teach them that they’ll have access to that data on an ongoing basis throughout the month, whenever it’s convenient for them to look at it, and then they can start to use that data for their own purposes without you being so involved in it. But you have to teach them how to do that. It goes back to education. So then I think the next step beyond that is when you get them to actually start using the CRM in a more integrated basis in their business so that they’re creating automation.

They’re using this as the primary means the software. I mean, the primary means of coordinating the leads that are coming in. And then you’ve really gotten them to depend on you and the systems that you’re providing and that locks them as in as a client. So another path to that is you don’t you can take it set or you can start with this. Maybe it’s even better to start with it as reputation management. I mean, you can just offer reputation management as a way in the door with the client and then go for leads, or you can do it the other way around and start offering leads and then then offer reputation management. But I think that’s an easy way to add to the equation of value that you’re offering them and you’re helping them grow their own business and also hopefully funneling some of those reviews that you get through the reputation management system to your own GMB. It’s only going to increase the leads that you’re able to deliver for them and the value that you’re providing. So I would just try to coordinate that step by step process of getting them down that path and more and more integrated into the tools and value that you offer. And you can also create, like you did in the prospecting strategy in the beginning to create with Heatmaps is to create walkthroughs of each one of these services and different value propositions that you’re adding so that you can teach them through through the same prospect or the same method, rather, through video.

So then, you know, once you’re really solidifying these relationships this way, I think the goal for me is to orchestrate referrals. So that means that you’re not doing it haphazardly. You’re not just off the cuff one day asking them for a referral. Like think about the process behind taking a client from maybe no trust in you, a little bit of trust in you or whatever, wherever they’re at to so much trust that they’re going to give you a referral when you ask. So think about what that might mean as far as an incentive, what’s going to motivate them and what’s going to incentivize them to give you a referral. If it’s a 1000 month client or 2000 or whatever? Like, what is it make what what number makes sense to incentivize them. If you can maybe give them a free month or give them five $500 off of their bill for a month or whatever. Make it attractive for them. Set the stage of how that’s going to happen and keep it professional so that. It’s not off the cuff. And, you know, you want to make sure that you’re not asking them for a referral. If unless you’ve had multiple positive touches with them. So I would never go in. And if I’ve had an issue with a client and ask them for a referral and when that’s been like a recent scenario, I would always make sure I have multiple positive touches with a client before I even ask them for referral.

So somebody is asking here, is this class the same time each week? No, it’s I’m in different locations every Monday, so I’m just kind of trying to work it into my schedule wherever I can see. What’s this? Yeah. Okay. So. So keep it. Keep it professional and. And make sure that you’re hitting them at a time when you have positive sort of value in the bank with them. So tell them, like, acknowledge them for the client that they are. Tell them you enjoy doing business with them and that they probably know other contractors in their network or friends of theirs or whatever that are have the same values, they have the same integrity. They’re playing at their level. Make sure that you acknowledge these things that you appreciate about that client, because that’s going to make them feel better, like you appreciate them and that you’re going to appreciate the referrals that they give you in the same way. And then you can just kind of tell them, Hey, I have an opportunity for referrals. I’m growing my agency. I’d love to have any referrals and I’ll give you this exchange benefit in exchange for that, whether that be a free month or some other, whatever that makes sense for you and your business. But think about like the amount of time, resources and everything that it would take you to get another client. Like it might make sense to give them a free month for a referral that closes because that’s going to be the the path to converting them into a client is going to be much quicker because they’re transferring their trust in you to that referral.

You see what I’m saying? So you’re going to be way ahead of the game on a referral client than you would be in trying to prospect from scratch. So there’s a lot of value to you in that as well. So another way that you can make this easier for them is to to help them see what you mean like. I always make sure and tell them over and over again I’m never going to compete with them in their niche, because I think that even though we kind of tend to have exclusivity with our clients in a niche and a location, we don’t always say it, but I make sure and tell them, Hey, you’re locked in like you’re my client in this niche and I’m not going to compete against you and I’m going to give you right of first refusal for any other niches that you might be interested in. But to make it super simple for them, like go and do research on three other niches, like identify three other niches that you know in town that you would like to work in and tell them, Hey, I see really big opportunities in niche X and Y, niche Z or whatever, and remind them of the benefits that you provide and then kind of like ping their brain about like, Hey, who do you know in these niches? Do you have a contact directly or do you know someone who may know someone? Like, what does that look like? You know? So then you can make it really simple for them to deliver a referral for you and you can create the same types of prospecting videos that we’ve been recommending that you create.

And if they have a referral ahead of time, then do that prospecting video specifically targeted to that referral so that they’re getting the maximum value over it or out of it, rather. So the other thing you can do is if you’re not as comfortable with a client, like asking for a direct referral, just maybe make an offer to advise or consult or review the ranking status of anyone who’s important in their own network. Without any expectation of them becoming a client, just like help them build better relationships. Like who is important to them and then offer your value to them and they might actually convert into a client or they may have other people in their network. And it’s just going to continue to build and build and build. And everybody you do this with is going to see you as sort of the hands down valuable expert that’s on their side, helping them grow their business and willing to help others in their network.

So that’s that’s a really good way to do it. If you’re not as comfortable just asking for a direct referral, just ask for an opportunity to add value. And that’s that’s really the way to build these relationships. So another way would be to ask them if they are a member of an industry organization, they may or may not be. I mean, some of these contractors are maybe really big into that. Most of them probably aren’t. But it’s a it’s an opportunity. Obviously, you don’t necessarily want them to be giving you or they’re not going to want to give you a bunch of referrals in the same niche necessarily unless they’re in a national organization or something like that. I know Patrick built sort of the foundation of this agency around that kind of a prospecting method where he got in good with the client out of the gate. They had industry organization relationships on a national level and he got a lot of referrals out of that. So that’s a really good way to build those relationships, but it has to be the right fit. So make sure you kind of if you pitch that and just ask the question, Hey, what other kind of contractors do you run around with? Are you in any organizations that help you build your business or whatever? The industry focuses the organizational focuses and try to see if it’s a good opportunity and it wouldn’t kind of encroach upon your relationship with them or exclusivity with them or jeopardize their relationship, your relationship with them in any way.

So that’s just another way. And then I would say the other important thing here is, is that you really have to have a solid process and pipeline around this, because if you’re going to do it effectively, you need to have good notes. You needed to have dates, you need to have follow ups. All of that needs to be set in place so that you’re not just like haphazardly coming at them at different times or whatever, where it doesn’t make sense. Like think about the timing and process behind it and keep these notes and everything so that you know, you’re following up on that. And it’s just the prospecting method. Like I think once you get probably like five clients like this is think about if you had each of your five clients give you three referrals, that’s that that would make 20 clients, right? I mean, the referral closing rate is way higher than a cold referral or a cold outreach rather. So if you could take your client base from 5 to 20, like what would that look like in your business? Think thinking about it in those terms. I mean, quadrupling your agency through a referral. I mean, why would you even go and do prospecting? You know, once you have have a few clients in place that trust, you can just continue to leverage that trust to build your agency along the way.

So the bottom line is that enhancing your initial client relationships is going to give you the prospect or the potential to get referrals on an ongoing basis that’s going to help you grow your agency. So think about how you can do that. And then once you get the referrals, obviously you want to treat them as VIPs at all times. You know, you want to make sure that you’re following up, that you don’t drop the ball, that you’re offering the value and that you’re making the client who referred them look really good. You know, that they they gave you the referral for a reason. Right? And I’ve heard, like when I listen to other salespeople and and things like that, like a referral generated client is more valuable. They’re going to stick around longer, they’re more profitable. And that’s due to this transfer of trust that they’re getting from your original client. So all that is I mean, it makes referral clients just like the best case scenario overall. And I know that most businesses don’t even have any kind of a referral process in place. And I think mostly generators fall into that category. They don’t have an effective way to orchestrate referrals. So this is what I’m telling you is a solid path to getting referrals and a process behind it to consistently generate referrals to grow your agency.

And I think just by having this in mind, again, that’s the mindset behind it, is that your clients are your key to growth. You’re going to treat them better. Just just by having that end goal in mind, you’re going to treat them better. You’re going to continue to add better value and drive them towards the outcome of referrals that you want over time. So that’s kind of the vision that I have for my own growth and in continuing to increase the agency where I’m working now and all of that and thinking about like what if every client you had gave you three referrals. I mean, last week I put some journal prompts in there and journaling has become a really valuable tool and is showing turning out to be very powerful for me in my own professional and personal life. So I threw those journal prompts in there. Another journal prompt for this week might be like, What would your agency look like? Or what would your business look like if every client that you had resulted in three additional clients in 2022 via referrals? Like what? What would that look like? Write it down and have that vision in your mind already. And then when you start having these conversations with clients, you know you’re going to be able to give them the incentive and the motivation and the trust to hand over those referrals to you.

So another way to look at it is like, how would that fit into the goals? Like, we’ve talked a lot about productivity and setting goals, like how would having that many referrals fit into the income and impact goals that you have for your agency in 2022? If you’re able to get referrals for that, like, I mean, you can blow your agency up with referrals like without that many existing clients. So that’s another way to look at it. And then also think about how you can look outside of the box for different companies that may or businesses that may have a big Rolodex that can give you a lot of referrals, like accountants are notorious for this, like they have a big Rolodex. They only deal with other companies and businesses in town. How could you get an accountant on your side who would give you referrals? It’s like like attorneys aren’t good because they have a lot of ethical obligations and things like that. They can’t really take commissions. It just gets too muddy. But to my knowledge, you know, like CPAs and accountants can take referrals and commissions. So how can you incentivize, build a relationship first and then incentivize a CPA or attorney to give you referrals on an ongoing basis? So that’s a way to think outside the box about it. And these are the kind of actions that can make your agency, you know, you get into the referral game and you can build a massive foundation.

So that’s all I really have today. I just wanted to dig in a little bit deeper on, on referrals, because we’re big on referrals. We don’t really do any kind of outbound marketing or outreach unless maybe we have a producing asset in a location where we don’t have any other clients. I don’t have a network there or anything like that. Then I’ll do cold outreach. But for the most part, if I’m just looking to grow, I’ll just go to my existing client base and ask them for referrals and it’s super powerful. And if you have the type of relationships with them that I’m suggesting, this will be an easy, easy thing for them to do is to hand over one, two, three, five different referral possibilities for you. And the close ratio is ridiculous compared to cold outreach. So I hope this helps and just let me know in the comments like what what experiences you’ve had with referrals. Have you asked for them? What was your success rate when you close them? If you did, and how are you looking for or towards the referrals in the future to help continue to build your agency? So I’d love to hear that in the comments and that’s all I have for you today. So I will help see some wins on Wednesday and let me know what you think about this second edition of Mindset Monday with Jeff Howell. All right. Take care.

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