Developing a Contact List- Part Two
by Nancy Roebke, Profnet, Inc.
The previous article, (Developing a Contact List- PartOne) was concerned with how to come up with a list of persons you currently know. Although everyone on that list will not necessarily become your client, everyone can lead you to clients. In this section, we will talk about how to get referrals from all of the people on your contact list and what to do once you have those referrals. Most people will not feel comfortable giving you referrals until they know how you intend to handle these contacts. No one wants to refer you someone that you are too aggressive with, that you take advantage of, or for what ever reason, that you make them look bad in front of. The following is an excellent approach to use that is not only non-threatening for the referred person , but does not embarrass the person giving the referral.
- Determine who your client base is. For illustrative purposes, let's say your clients are CPAs.
- Ask everyone on your MEMORY JOGGER list for a referral to a CPA.
- Tell everyone who you ask for a referral from, that you will be using these referrals to seek advice on how you might best develop your new business. Make it clear that you will not be asking for work from these referrals.
- Write THANK YOUs to all person who provided you with a referral. Ask that they keep you in mind in the future, should they have contact with other CPAs .
- Contact the referrals you receive and make an appointment for that advice- making sure that you are clear about your intent- to get advice, not sell anything. Also make it clear that you will only need a brief period of time- let's say ten minutes.
- At this appointment, be prepared with survey-type questions to ask. These questions should be geared toward finding a need for your product or service. This need can be of a general or specific nature- you are seeking information here.
- Once at the appointment, conduct yourself professionally. Dress appropriately. Upon completion of the interview, ask for a referral of someone else you might be able to seek advice from.
- Write a THANK YOU note to the person you had the interview with. Thank them for their time and help with the advice they gave you. Thank them for their referral.
- Contact their referral. Make an appointment with them, using the name of the person who gave you the referral and making your intentions clear.
- Repeat the above process. This approach will open many doors for you. It is non-threatening and low-keyed. The information you garnish will be useful in helping you tailor your products and services to meet the needs your client base. It will also encourage members of your MEMORY JOGGER list to refer more possible clients your way, once they see how you handle the first referrals they send your way.