Referrals are great, but advocates monetize for you
By Robert Van Arlen
Senior Advisory Group
When a client becomes an advocate they are now a partner in your success.
We all love it when we get the referral. I know my personal business of speaking, coaching and training is based on my ability to get referrals. The challenge with referrals is you have to ask for them.
The good news is you can ask a complete stranger for a referral. First, your introduction must be compelling, concise and clear. The most important factor to your introduction is how what you do benefits others.
The next step is to explore if there are any opportunities that you might be able to assist them in, beyond your services. You must show sincere interest in how you can participate in their growth before asking how they might be able to participate in yours.
Finally, don’t forget to ask everyone. If you already work with them, let them know that you are focused in growing your business with great clients like they have been. Keep them in the loop on the progress you are having with their referral, and if appropriate send them a thank you gift. Nothing too extravagant, but gift cards are always welcomed.
When a client becomes an advocate they are now a partner in your success. You have achieved a level of trust, reliability and friendship that leads to an enthusiastic support of your success.
To gain that level of trust you have to get to know your client and get involved with what they may be passionate about. The power of building advocates is based on the ability to become a valuable resource for your client and their contacts. People typically spend time with others of like mind, thus their friends will have similar interests.
The key to building advocates is sincerity. Your support must be real and of substance. You volunteer to do things because it is something of interest to you.
The simplest way to initiate the process of building advocates is to support the activities your client enjoys. You should begin to add client activities to your database. For example, if you know their favorite music group, get them tickets to the concert with back stage passes when the band is in their city.
The bottom-line is to help them experience the things they love. If your clients are involved in a charity, offer to buy a seat at their table or offer to sponsor their table for them. Who do you think will be sitting with you? If you are sincere, your sincerity will shine through and lead to new opportunity.
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