Just being a professional will earn you referrals without asking clients.
We’ve been told over and over that the best way to build a business is through referrals, and of course, that’s true. But where things get slippery real quick is when someone tries to teach us how ask for them.
My favorite technique was forced on me early in my career. It goes like this.
At the end of the meeting where a prospect becomes a client you tell the client that you (the advisor) get paid two ways. One way is the fee he or she pays, and the other way is by giving you referrals.
I tried it—once.
I mustered up the courage, said the line, and the new client told me I was out of my mind. He made it clear that he paid one way, and he’d be happy to pay that to someone else if I asked him again.
I know. I know. I’m sure I didn’t do it right, or I should have fired him as a client. But for just a second, put down your sales-training books, and ask yourself a simple question: Is that how you would expect a professional to behave?
Can you imagine your doctor doing that? Right after he takes off the rubber glove and you pull up your trousers, he or she says to you, “Now, you can pay me two ways.…”