More Intelligent Referrals Step 3: Specialize and Target for Increased Results

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Take your referrals to the next level. Now that your process is thought out and you know how to approach your clients in a way that builds trust, you can be even more strategic and thoughtful in how you earn new business. Over time, your message and the materials you use to implement your referral plan will become more defined.

These final few strategies from Frank Maselli’s book Referrals the Professional Way: 10 Strategies for Networking with Top Clients & Centers of Influence, can be used as an approach for expanding your referral plan and message:

Target a Specific Industry or Client Niche

Specializing in a certain industry or a type of client can dramatically increase your referrals from those groups. The goal of becoming the “go-to” adviser for an entire industry can be a major career driver with benefits that go far beyond referrals. Selecting an industry or client group to target is a simple process that can be replicated for scalable business results. Develop a genuine interest and expertise in the niche areas you choose by reading industry publications, talking to leaders, and attending regional or national conferences. This will take time, as you have to become a known insider and provide value to the group before you can seek a business relationship.

New Specialty Referral

Your long-term clients may be the perfect source of potential referrals, but asking for a referral can change the implied rules of the relationship game as you’ve both played it for many years.  The new specialty referral lets you go back to your best clients for referrals without looking like you just blew up your business. It also sends the right emotional messages about your success and development as a professional. Pick a critical topic of importance to your people and master it, then use your new specialty to approach your client with a new opportunity that themselves, their colleagues or their friends might also be interested in.

Use a Referral Guide

High-net-worth clients and centers of influence want to know that you take referrals very seriously and that when they give you a name of a client, friend, or colleague, you are going to treat that person with extreme care and professionalism. Using a “referral guide” is a psychological positioning tool that sends all those messages and allows you to expand your client’s story-telling ability beyond a two-sentence conversation fragment. Combine your referral materials into a binder to give as a resource to your client—items like an introductory letter, sample newsletters, articles, list of services, team biography, referral questionnaire, ideal client profile, etc. These items should convey your brand and your expertise in an organized, serious and professional package.

Take it a step further and enhance your referral guide with a book, authored by you, targeted to your specific industry or niche that highlights your knowledge in your specialty area. With a referral plan in place that is created out of genuine service to others with a targeted message, derived from a place of expertise, and supported by professional client-driven materials, you will find that referrals can become a powerful business growth tool.

Allison LooneyAllison Looney
Marketing Associate
Advantage Media Group
Charleston, SC

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