YOU MAY RECALL HEARING ONE OF AESOP’S FABLES YOU WERE READ AS A CHILD – THE GOOSE THAT LAID THE GOLDEN EGG.
A man and his wife owned a very special goose. Every day this goose would lay a golden egg. This was incredible. It led to the couple becoming very rich.
However, they started to think, “What if we could gather all the golden eggs inside this goose all at once. We wouldn’t have to wait and just gather day by day. We could get the gold all at once and we would become richer much faster!”
So, the couple killed the goose and cut her open. But, they were flabbergasted. This goose was just like all the other geese. She had no golden eggs inside. Their greed led to their demise.
How does this story apply to networking and building a solid referral business?
There are two aspects in this story that apply to networking and building a referral based business. 1) Identifying and gathering your golden geese and 2) It takes time and patience for that goose to lay her eggs and to build relationships in your referral business that show results. Watch for part 2 of this blog which will cover patience and your referral business.
When you begin to find your golden geese, those specific referral partners who already service your ideal clients, you will open a door to a continuous stream of steady referrals. Today we will look at just that.
Find Your Golden Goose
If you are in sales, these questions will be worth pondering.
What are the various ways you market your business? Do you use a lead list? Networking? Social Media? Something else?
Have you made a list of your ideal clients? What needs/problems do they have? Can you clearly explain why you, not your competition, are their answer – without saying “because of my customer service” – because that is expected.
If you have not written that list, how do you know which call lists to target that will lead you to ideal clients? How do you know where to focus your networking activities? How will you know what avenue of social media gives you the most access to those ideal clients?
Define your personal marketing plan
First and foremost, you must write out your personal marketing plan. Keeping ideas, thoughts, and desires swirling inside your head is unproductive. Yet, you may be tempted to say, “But, I am so busy. I need to be calling on clients. I won’t get paid if I am not in front of people. Sitting around just thinking doesn’t pay me.”
Let’s rethink those statements. Does “thinking time” pay? Writing your thoughts on paper leads to clarity. Once you see it in print, you can analyze it. You can then ask, “Is this really what I want? If so, can I define it in more detail? If not, what needs to be changed?” Clarity leads to specificity. Specificity leads to quality of results.
Define your ideal client
Here are ways to come up with your ideal clients. Think about your existing clients. Which ones do you want more of? Why? What did you do for them? Are the projects you do for them ones you love to do or ones that bring in more income? Which customers would you love to send to your competitor? Why? Maybe they demand too much, quibble about price, complain all the time, cause you to spend time doing activities that don’t pay as well, or ones you would rather not do.
Identify the solutions to your ideal customer’s problems
Keep only the list of ideal clients, along with what situations you solve for them. Then, ask yourself, “Where can I find more of these people?’ If calling from a list, which lists target these types of people? If networking, what events will offer more access to these types of clients? If using social media, which mode will put me in touch with more of these clients?
Now that you know the problems or needs you solve for them, you can craft an introduction that will speak to that situation. People don’t purchase your features and benefits, no matter how many bells and whistles your product or service has. They purchase on emotion.
Defining an in-depth strategy
Once you have the list of ideal clients, what problems you solve, and why they should use you rather than the competition, it is time to add another dimension. This in-depth strategy will boost the number and quality of clients and increase business growth.
Ask yourself, ‘What other business professionals already have my ideal clients as their clients?’ This is called “Finding Your Golden Goose”. In Aesop’s fable, the Golden Goose laid golden eggs daily. These golden eggs made the farmer wealthy. What if you had a Golden Goose, or several Golden Geese? Think of the possibilities if you developed a solid business relationship with professionals who already service your ideal clients. What if you educated each other on how to refer business between you? Since the “know, like, and trust you” is in place because of your relationship, these professionals (your “Golden Geese”) begin supplying you with a steady stream of your ideal clients. Only in fairy tales? No way! They exist, but they take work to find. After all, they are golden!
However, there is a second part of to this story. You must be patient and content with the steady business you are receiving. If you become greedy and demand more and more, your source will stop referring. Watch for a follow-up blog.
Identify a source of information
The adage, “Work smarter, not harder” now becomes your reality. You will have a steady stream of referrals of the clients you most want to service. What a wonderful business plan that will be!