Your Bottom Line Through Referrals
INTRO: WHY IT WORKS
There's a therapist in my hometown who bills 55 hours a week and has a waiting
list of several months of clients trying to get in to see him.
He owns a business card. That's the extent of his marketing. He doesn't even
have a sign on his door. He couldn't really market, he doesn't have the time.
He's in his office 10 hours a day making money hand over fist.
I asked him how he got his practice going.
He started out as a child therapist, and said whenever he had a client, he
would get in the car and go out to the school and visit with the child's
teacher and the principal.
Guess who the principal or teachers recommended to parents when they felt
a child needed counseling?
The man who had been out there hanging around the school showing his concern
for the children.
Getting referrals is not about MARKETING. It's about NEVER HAVING TO MARKET
Isn't that your dream?
*Clients and customers coming to YOU *People telling other people about YOU
*The phone ringing or the email dinging with people wanting YOU *No more
banner ads, flyers, direct mail
What we're talking about here is WORD OF MOUTH advertising, and it applies
to your bottom line whether you're offering a professional service or a
The reason referrals and word-of-mouth advertising work best is because it's
NOT COMING FROM YOU.
Let me explain.
What if I told you I was a great coach and could help you increase your bottom
What if I told you I had a great widget that outperformed every other widget
on the market and cost half as much.
What if I ... are you even listening to me?
Why should you be? I'm TALKING LIKE AN AD.
I OWN the practice or business. I AM the coach. I MAKE the widget. I make
money if you give me your business, so you can hardly expect me to be impartial
What would you EXPECT me to say -- that my widgets stink or I'm a marginal
You know exactly what Im going to say that my widget works best,
that Im a great coach, that my PR firm can put you in the spotlight
SINCE YOU KNOW WHAT I'M GOING TO SAY, YOU TUNE OUT! You're no dummy. You
know an ad when you see and hear one.
Now what if you're sitting in your office tomorrow morning and your colleague
walks in, pulls a widget out of his pocket and says, "Hey, you gotta see
this. You won't believe how well this thing works, and when I tell you what
I paid for it, you're gonna fall outa your chair."
Did you expect him to tell you this when you came in? No, absolutely not.
And furthermore, you trust this guy, and know hes smart.
So ARE YOU LISTENING? You bet you're listening.
Now consider that you're at a cocktail party and you meet an old friend.
Last time you saw her, she was down in the dumps, discouraged about her career,
involved in another bad relationship, and trying to borrow $500 from you
to pay the rent.
Now you see her across the room and she's absolutely radiant. She's full
of life, she has on a smashing Rolex, and is draped on the arm of a man who
obviously adores her.
"What happened to YOU?" you ask her.
"I got a coach," she says.
ARE YOU LISTENING?
You bet you're listening. And at the same time you're pulling out your daytimer
and getting ready to write down the name, URL and phone number just as soon
as you can get it.
Whatever happened to this friend of yours, you want it to happen to you.
You've got the living example right there in front of you of this coach's
This is far more convincing than anything you could read!
A COMMON MISTAKE
Of course you want these referrals, this word-of-mouth advertising. You KNOW
it works. You KNOW it's the easy and most effective way to get business,
sell products, get clients.
So you go out and ASK FOR IT, right?
There's a real finesse to getting referrals. It happens to involve a lot
of EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE.
And what does that meanemotional intelligence? It means using your
Intuition, Interpersonal Skills, Creativity, Authenticity, Intentionality.
It means setting up the process and letting it happen, but not asking. Asking
for it is advertising -- it's the tune-out zone.
You don't call someone you've met once at a Chamber meeting, take them to
lunch, and then pop the question -- "Hey, would you refer some of your
chiropractic patients to me for coaching on stress relief?"
You might as well mail a flyer which, too, will be tossed in the wastebasket
along with the 10 others in the snail mail that day.
"A referral isn't something that you ask for," says Jeffrey Gitomer in The
Rochester Business Journal. "A referral is something you earn. Oh sure, you
can ask for them, but it makes everyone feel awkward and will oftentimes
destroy a budding relationship."
Making someone feel awkward is exactly what you DON'T DO when you're using
your EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE.
Why doesn't this direct solicitation work?
Back to square one -- IT'S LIKE AN ADVERTISEMENT. It assaults the person,
it causes them to tune out, it asks them to do something really personal,
on which their reputation hangs when they hardly know you, your service,
your abilities or your practice.
It makes you sound DESPERATE.
It has no CREDIBILITY.
Referrals and word-of-mouth are built on direct experience and trust. It
comes from seeing the person in action, or using the product yourself, or
seeing someone else use it, or experiencing it yourself. It comes from seeing
the results. It comes from direct experience, or from someone you already
know and trust to have good judgment.
I mentor coaches who want to build their practices. They always want to know
what to say when someone says "What do coaches do?" Theyve been told
they must have an elevator speech ready at the tip of their tongue,
i.e., a description of what they do that they can tell someone within the
length of an elevator ride.
My reply is -- don't answer the question, START DOING IT. SHOW Them what
coaches do. It's a whole lot easier, and it works a whole lot better.
DONT NIP IT IN THE BUD, LET IT BLOSSOM
Use your EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE skills to set up the process that will attract
the referral naturally.
USE YOUR EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE TO GET REFERRALS AND INCREASE YOUR BOTTOM
Whether you're selling yourself, your product or your services, use your
EQ to encourage this effective means of increasing the bottom line.
Whether your "virtual" or "real," dealing with people in person or LD, global
or local, selling widgets of offering financial consulting, the same rules
Let them taste it, touch it, feel it.
Then you won't have to market at all!
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