Eleven Ways to Add Value to Key Relationships
Give before you get- it will go a hundred miles in the eyes of your clientele.
Coach’s Corner: Eleven Ways to Add Value to Key Relationships
By Matt Anderson, The Referral Authority, Author of Fearless Referrals
It’s highly likely there are people in your network that could open important doors for you but aren’t and you’re not quite sure what to do. Unless you have sufficient water in the well in that relationship, nothing will change. Usually you need to give before you get. It took me many years to understand this. I was too needy and always hoping I could find shortcuts.
Ironically, you will often find you get what you want much faster by extending help to others first.
Here are some ways to make that happen for you:
1. Answer the question, “How can I MOST add value to this person?”
This may seem like an odd suggestion to make first, yet it is the single most valuable question I know that allows your brain to think of ideas.
Sooner or later, something creative will pop into your head. It might be a business introduction, something of personal interest, or relating to a hobby/passion, or relating to their family (think children). Keep thinking!
2. Refer them business
One in four of your centers of influence (COIs) will MOST want referrals from you. Here are some questions you’ll want to use and model:
- “What do you want to accomplish over the next 12 months?”
- “What kind of business are you looking for? Who’s your ideal client?”
- “How do I transition a conversation from what I do into recommending you?”
- “What’s the best way for me to refer you?”
- “What do I say to get permission for you to call?”
3. Introduce them to your COIs or find them groups where they could get business
Put them in a room full of prospects; invite them to other groups, service clubs, or trade associations that you belong to or know of. Better yet, get them a speaking engagement in front of these people.
Position yourself as a community resource beyond your livelihood. Be someone who knows more people and more about your community than your competition because it will make it easier for you to bring value to a wider variety of people.
4. Be an information broker
Share valuable information and ideas that help them professionally. A great business-building idea might be worth a lot more than one referral. And most people don’t read so you will have little competition. What have you read recently or what seminar/webcast did you attend that has nuggets in it worth sharing?
5. Be extremely interested
Even if you can’t think of an immediate way to help them, being genuinely interested in who they are and what they care about can go a surprisingly long way.
Really, how often in a typical day do you meet someone that you felt was really interested in just learning more about you and what you care about? How do you feel about that person on the rare occasion when it does happen?
6. Acts of service above and beyond your vocation; impact their personal life
Some of the best examples of how a relationship was impacted come in this area: volunteering time for a charitable cause important to that potential COI, helping them run for political office, or opening doors for them personally or professionally.
After one of my referral workshops last year, I remember an attendee who came up to me and shared how one of her best referral sources had started. The lady was a gatekeeper to a big prospect and had just lost her father. So she sent her a card and included her favorite Bible passage.
As it turned out, this woman had read the exact passage at her father’s funeral; obviously it meant a great deal. Since then she has not only opened the door to business with the prospect but referred her to many others and they have become quite good friends.
7. Get involved in a cause that matters to them (or your target market)
Ask your prospective COI:
- “Are there any projects that I can volunteer for?”
- “Are there any workshops or seminars I can put on? Any opportunities to write for your publication/newsletter?”
- “Are there any boards I can serve on?”
- “Are there any events I could sponsor?”
- “Are there any causes that the members consider to be important that I can donate money to?”
8. Get them some local media coverage
People love positive recognition. Has anyone ever done that for you?
9. Send an unexpected gift
While there is no “technique” that is going to work all the time, I’ve heard some fabulous stories over the years from clients of mine who landed some great business doing this. PEOPLE LOVE UNEXPECTED GIFTS!
What matters is that they are personalized and significant to them. Thank you letters, especially LAVISH ones, can also go a long way. I remember an association president proudly telling me last year how he took his best referral sources out to very nice restaurants as a thank you and how well such royal treatment worked.
10. Quality time
Some people feel most loved when you spend quality time with them. Since most of us are in the relationship business and there are no short cuts, the odds are high that includes someone in your network too.
11. Words of affirmation
Everybody appreciates positive recognition and acknowledgment. When you pay a sincere compliment or recognize your COI for even a modest accomplishment, you can have a significant impact on them. This is another area where some people feel most loved.
Don’t forget physical touch.
Clearly, discretion is advised with this area. But a past client of mine in Louisiana told me that he had several senior female clients who hugged him at the end of meetings. Touch in appropriate places can express a great deal to someone who most feels loved this way; a hand on the shoulder or a brief grip of the forearm or even a mock fist to the shoulder can all mean a lot.
Bringing more value to important relationships is something you want to master for your success in business and life.
Try to avoid being a one-trick pony always using the same strategy because you will not reach many people that way. Start with number one on this list and have faith that your brain will come through with some good ideas.
Matt Anderson, of the Referral Authority, has grown his business exclusively by referrals and now speaks and coaches not only across the U.S., but in Canada, the U.K. and the Middle East. He specializes in training and coaching insurance and financial service professionals how to build referral-based business. www.TheReferralAuthority.com.