Friday, December 17, 2010

Refining Your Referral Language

Step One - V - Value Discussion

With the theme being "transitions," I should talk about getting the value discussion started - transitioning from another item on the agenda.
In review meetings with established clients, here's my favorite language: "Let's put the economy aside for a minute. Let's put the market aside for a minute. Let's talk about something we can control - namely - our communication and our relationship. Is there anything you feel we can improve upon in this regard?" Discuss "What has been working? In what area do you believe our relationship has been most valuable to you?" (Alternate: "How have we earned your loyalty over the years?")
At the delivery of a plan or policy: "We've been through an important process, have we not? I've asked you a lot of questions. You've been very forthcoming with the answers. And here are the fruits of our labor. Tell me the value you feel you've gotten from the process."

Step Two - I - Treat the Request with Importance

The transition from the value discussion to the request of referrals is where the most people seem to get stuck. It need not be difficult and, again, any difficulty is usually the result of not writing out a script and/or not practicing enough.
Here are 3 possible transitional phrases. I'm certain there are many more possibilities.
  • "I'm glad you see the value in the work we've done, with that in mind, I have an important question to ask you."
  • "I'm glad our relationship is on solid ground, and because of this, I have an important question to ask you."
  • "That's nice to hear. Thank you. I have an important question to ask you and wanted to make sure that I have a happy client.
Step Three - P - Permission to Brainstorm

There really isn't a transition from the I to the P. It's pretty much a straight course.
"I'm glad you see the value in the work we've been doing. Because of that, I have an important question to ask you. I was hoping we could brainstorm a bit to see if we can identify some people you care about who should know about the important work I do. Can we try that for a little bit?"
"I'm glad our relationship is on solid ground. Because of this, I have an important question to ask you. Let's put our heads together to see if we can identify some folks you think should know about the work I do. In fact, I've identified two people in your life, for whom I might be a great resource. Can I run them by you to see what you think?"
Many variations for this conversation. Find the words that feel comfortable for you.

Step Four - S - Suggest Names & Categories

There's not much transition needed here, but here are a couple of possible scenarios.
Assuming they said "yes" to our request to brainstorm or explore. . .
"Well, We're just brainstorming here, no pressure. Let's start with a couple of your family members you mentioned during our last meeting . . . "
"Great. I wanted to run by you a few categories of people we do some important work for - just to help trigger your thinking a little. For instance, we often do some very important work for people who are changing jobs - or recently changed - say in the last year or so. Who comes to mind?"
So that's it. Some language you might find helpful as you craft your own scripts.
Remember! Once you write out your script, practice, practice, practice. Amateurs practice until they get it right. Masters practice until they can't get it wrong!






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