Not too long ago, I was helping my daughter with her math homework (heaven help us both) when the phone rang. On the 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, like we 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!
Do-not-call regulations have made building a referral-based business more important now than ever before. There are 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 they are willing to call you, or they are open to receiving your call. One of the most efficient, effective, and do-not-call-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. Using my referral system you collaborate with your client to identify three people whom she thinks should know about your work. You suggest to her a way she can introduce you that will protect her important relationships, yet yield 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 have 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?”