After my last somewhat tongue-in-cheek post, I received one recurring response: tell us how to WIN new clients in 10 days. So here you go.
The fastest way to win a client—hands down—is by referral. Powerful stuff, referrals—you walk highly recommended into that first meeting with a client who has already decided they need help. Sounds good, yes? Consider these three keys to increasing your referrals:
Be known. Before someone can even think about a referral, they must “know” you. But don’t limit yourself to those you know from in-person experience. A referral source might “know” you from reading an insightful article you’ve written or a social media post (think LinkedIn group discussions). You might have only chatted by phone—but if it was positively memorable, it has the ability to spark a referral.
Be liked. No shortcuts here. Your referral sources need to connect with you personally and genuinely like who you are. They will look to your willingness to share information and help others, especially them. Do they like interacting with you? Do they learn something or feel better about themselves and their work after speaking with you? Kindness counts, just like your mother said.
Be respected. This points to your values and your point of view. You can be provocative—ideas are after all an advisor’s stock in trade—but you must also be respectful. Offering your wisdom or insight in a consistently authentic way helps to build respect and trust. Reliability—when combined with talent and likeability—will generate referrals.
The 10-day advice is this: make a list of those who know, like and respect you and ask them to consider referring you. Listen carefully—their responses will tell you if you have work to do. Not a big enough list? Then it’s time to start putting yourself and your ideas out there and connecting with like-minded folks.