No Referrals, Thanks, We’re All Full

So many consultants and other expert businesses rely on referrals for business development.

But you wouldn’t know it. You’d think many of them were trying to avoid referrals.

Have you seen folks do any of these:

  1. Promise to send an email blurb to facilitate a referral and never send it. (This one is so common, I still have trouble believing it, but it does save me a bunch of time, so I don’t complain about it.)
  2. In a virtual meeting, Zoom chat, or even an email to facilitate a referral, introduce themselves as a “[sought-after/award-winning/client-focused/etc] [digital marketer/fractional executive/keynote speaker/business coach/etc]”. This is all about you and doesn’t tell me who should be interested. We’re all already getting too much spam with this kind of messaging.
  3. Take #2, and then add that you also have another business/area of focus, etc. Don’t put “and” or “or” in your elevator pitch.
  4. Provide so much detail in your email blurb that HBO can turn it into a miniseries. People are busy. Don’t make them work to figure out what’s important. 1-3 sentences should be fine.
  5. Provide a pitch to prospects when you want an intro to partners (or vice versa), when it’s not obvious why the other person would care.
  6. Burn social capital on meetings that are not a good fit because you haven’t done the work to define your target audience, or you don’t know how to say, “those folks are usually not a great fit because…”

What do to instead?

  • Have a clean, crisp, elevator pitch that makes it clear exactly who you help and how (not the details, just the general idea– a good pitch will have your ideal prospects asking, “that sounds interesting, how do you do that?”). (Note, you can pull this straight from the Elevator Pitch tab on the Mission & Positioning screen in Mimiran.)
  • Put this pitch in a Google Doc, Apple Note, Email Draft, or wherever is convenient for you, so you can grab it easily when needed. As you create different variations, store them, as well (perhaps one for prospects, one for a certain kind of partner, and one for another kind of partner).
  • Ideally, the message is simple and memorable enough for your virtual sales team (i.e. referral partners) to recall and relay at the right time, but you have a written version you can send along easily, as needed.
  • And of course, don’t forget to keep having conversations with your referral partners. That’s where the real magic happens.

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