Building A Referral Relationship
It's the little touches that count ...
POSTED BY JACKY SHERMAN ON 27/07/2016 @ 8:00AM
It's Friday morning and I'm knee deep in follow-up phone calls from my Referral Masterclass last Wednesday. All good news, but hectic and I need to focus. The dog barks as there is someone at the door ...
I was very pleased to receive some beautiful sunflowers after my Referral Masterclass last week!
My first thought was irritation at being distracted ... until I saw what it was, a delivery of a large box of flowers. How lovely! I'm now completely distracted, intrigued and excited.
"Who can they be from?"
The card reveals all: "This is just to say thank you. The event on Wednesday was just brilliant and you have helped me and so many as a result and thank you for the lovely referrals you have just given. Roger."
Aren't they amazing? My favourite flowers now gracing the table where I can see them constantly as I work. A source of inspiration and motivation, a reminder and an affirmation of why I do what I do.
Now Roger is Roger Eddowes, my accountant, client and referral partner. We work closely together to help each other succeed in business.
"Were the flowers necessary?"
Well no, we are in constant contact, understand each other's business and are always looking out for opportunities for each other and I would have continued to do this anyway.
Yet the very fact that they were not necessary is, in a more profound way, as important as the referrals we make for each other. The act of saying thank you and showing appreciation deepens the bonds in our working relationship.
The words he chose to use are sincere, and they reflect that he understands my core value of making a difference to others that underpin the reason I do what I do. As a result, they lifted my spirits and, in that sense, are more valuable than any financial reward he could have given me for the referrals.
Now, I'm not saying that you can just send your business contacts the odd bunch of flowers now and again and expect to receive lots of referrals. In fact, I expect you know some people who would think you had gone completely mad and would cross the street to avoid you.
However, building a strong referral partnership, like any relationship, means being in tune with what matters to that person and responding appropriately.
"We call it the Platinum Rule®!"
"Treat others the way they want to be treated" and that means getting to know them well enough to respond in a manner that deepens the bond of trust between you and motivates them to want to help you.
I'd like to end with another story this time from a prospective client. He has a relationship with a business advisor that is based purely on giving reciprocal introducers fees.
Their relationship has never deepened and is somewhat troubled, and he is concerned whether it will last. He is developing a resentment about the level of fees he's paying and whether it should also be paid on repeat business he has generated with that client.
How would he know if he is getting the fees for repeat business for people he has introduced? Is the advisor being honest with him as the level of fees he's receiving is lower than what he is paying out? They have a formal agreement, but seem to argue about the fine wording all the time.
The funny thing about a transactional relationship where money is the only measure, is that somehow the trust of a real referral relationship never seems to develop.
I also think about the third person in this financially based relationship. Imagine the client I recently referred to Roger. We have a relationship built on trust, and I referred Roger because I know I can trust him to look after her well and that he is the best solution to her problem. When I tell her about the flowers it is likely to reinforce what I have told her about Roger. Now she might feel quite differently about my recommendation if I received a commission from Roger for doing so.
Would I have been so delighted if my blog post today had started with a story about Roger sending me a cheque with a note saying "Thank you for the referrals, here's a cheque for £xxx as your commission for the business. I've also attached the latest statement on the balance of our account as per our discussion last week. I look forward to receiving your payment promptly."
So my tip for you today is to develop deep personal as well as referral relationships with key people you know in business. Get to know what really matters to them and then surprise and delight them with their version of a bunch of sunflowers.
"It's the little touches that count!"
Want some help building profitable referral relationships that will lift your spirits and inspire you? Call me on 07970 638857 or click here to send me an email enquiry and I'll show you how.
Until next time ...
More about Jacky Sherman ...
I help people build and maintain productive working relationships both with their work colleagues and with a wider network to win more business. I do this by combining my skills in coaching, mediation and training with my extensive experience in senior management.
What I love most about my work is when my clients get those a-ha moments because I know they have seen for themselves the way that they want to move forward. Then they will achieve their ambitions.
Helping people who are having challenges with their working relationships gives me enormous pleasure. It was my privilege when working in health care to see how people working together can make the impossible seem easy and accomplish miracles as a result.
So helping people build or restore strong relationship with their colleagues makes even the hardest work easier, alleviates distress for the individual and reduces problems for the whole organisation.
In all this work trust is an essential ingredient to winning business so most of my work comes through referrals. Referrals come through strong business relationships so it was a natural extension for me to train others in how to get consistent and predictable referrals from their network.
What a fantastic way to earn a living!
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