Is the do-not-call list still an issue for you?
By Bill Cates
Not too long ago, I was helping my daughter with her math homework (heaven help us both) when the phone rang. On the other line was a young lady asking me if I was interested in some new ideas for investing. First, I told her that I was quite happy with my financial advisor and wasn't looking for any further assistance. Then I said, "Wait a minute. You shouldn't be calling me. I'm on the National Do Not Call list." Her misinformed response was, "That list only applies to interstate calls. I'm calling within the state of Maryland, so I can still call you." I told her that she was sadly mistaken and that she was running the risk of getting herself and her company in serious trouble." Don't worry, I didn't file a complaint.
The funny thing is that about 30 seconds later, she called me again and, as if we had never talked before, she ran through her canned opening pitch. Tell me, is this how your next great client wants to meet you? No way!
In the past, I've discussed how the do-not-call regulations have made building a referral-based business more important than ever before. I addressed the four competencies necessary to build a complete referral-based business. Find any top producer who has built a business on referrals, and you'll find someone who has mastered one or more of these competencies: enhance your referability; network strategically; prospect for introduction; and target a niche market. If you embrace the do-not-call regulations as an opportunity to build a referral-based business the way it's intended to be built, then you're in great shape moving into the future.
When it comes to contacting new prospects who have been referred to you, you now have to work from introductions. You have to be connected to the new prospect in a way that encourages them to call you, or in which they are open to receiving your call. One of the most efficient, effective, and safe ways to be introduced is via e-mail. I've been teaching this technique for several years now, and I'm getting great feedback on the results.
Getting introduced with e-mail
Here's how this concept works. Collaborate with your client to identify three people whom she thinks should know about your work. You suggest to her a way in which she can introduce you while protecting her important relationships, and yielding a very efficient and effective way for you to meet her friends. She's open to the idea. Then you might say, "Mary, I appreciate the trust you've shown in me by giving me this opportunity to see if I might become a valuable resource for a few of your friends. I think it's important that we find a way for you to connect me with them that protects your relationships, yet helps insure they are open to taking my call. Make sense? (Sure, what do you have in mind?) I'd like to suggest that you send George, Barry, and Carol an e-mail. Do you exchange e-mails with them from time to time? (Yes, of course). Great. I can even give you a template or two from which you can craft your message to them. When you send the e-mail, just CC me and I'll know it's been sent. Then I'll follow up with them via e-mail, and see if I can gain permission to give them a quick phone call. How does that sound?"
Now you have a way for Mary to introduce you that's very efficient and unlikely to break down, which might happen if she has to connect with her friends via the phone. These prospects are likely to respond more quickly to your e-mail than to a voicemail message. Once they do, you have written permission to call them -- either at home, at work, or on their wireless phone. Now you are do-not-call safe.
Give your client templates to help
Sending your client a template or two which they can use to introduce you will accomplish three things. First, when they receive your e-mail, it will remind them of their commitment to introduce you. Second, they'll have a starting place, so procrastination will be minimized. Third, you'll get a great introduction to a new prospect in short order.
If you'd like to receive a couple of templates I've created, please contact me using the forum below, and include the words "e-mail templates" in the message.
After you try this technique a few times, please feel free to contact me with your success stories and/or your questions.
*For further information, or to contact this author, please leave a comment and your e-mail address in the forum below.