Forget Referrals—Think Introductions!
After years of indoctrination from networking groups about what a referral looks like, how to both give and get one, I’ve changed my thinking. Sure, I still love what I consider a great referral—someone who’s desperately in need of my services, wants to get started right now and isn’t going to quibble over costs. It’s heaven. But that kind of premium referral doesn’t come along very often. Forget referrals—think introductions!
What I’ve come to value are colleagues who trust me and understand what I do and how I help my clients with their digital marketing challenges. I have a relationship with a web developer, for example, who is a referral partner. I’d love it if all of his clients understood the relationship of good content to their sites’ showing up on search engines, but the reality is that they don’t. Many don’t get it or don’t care; still others can’t afford to hire a professional writer, and I understand that.
But what I like about this colleague is his introduction; the rest is up to me
For every new project, he tells his clients how important content is to the success of their sites, then introduces us. Now it’s up to me. I reach out and try to meet with each potential client because by getting in front of someone you have a better chance of making a lasting impression.
I understand people’s timelines, budgets and the sales cycle
I prepare proposals, follow up and stay in touch. I send them handwritten notes or something I’ve read that is relevant to their businesses. I’m totally into upsell—it may be that their website just needs a facelift or some new content, maybe they’re sitting on huge contact lists and aren’t doing newsletters, which is all about missed opportunities. I love brainstorming with these potential clients about making the best use of their marketing dollar. Planting a seed and following up. It starts with an introduction.