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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Do You Have the Right Mindset for Referrals? BY BILL CATES JANUARY 27, 2012

Image: jscreationzs / FreeDigitalPhotos.netYour foundation for building your practice withreferrals is the set of attitudes, beliefs and assumptions you bring to your prospecting efforts. This is your referral mindset, and to fully maximize your selling potential there are seven attitudes you must develop and use. These attitudes will create the most powerful action in gaining an unlimited supply of high-quality referrals.
As I share this referral mindset with you, give yourself a rating of 1-5 on how well you’ve adopted each one.
1. “I meet my prospects the way they prefer to meet me.” How does your next great client want to meet you? Simple! Through an introduction or referral from a friend, family member, colleague or other trusted advisor. Cold calling is purely a numbers game that aggravates most prospects.  Once you realize that a client’s preferred way to meet you is through a referral, it MUST become your primary method of meeting them.
2. “I understand that building my practice from referrals is the most cost-effective and time-efficient marketing strategy available.” What does it cost to buy leads? Run a direct mail campaign? Host a seminar? Lots! What does it cost to build your practice from referrals? Virtually nothing. A practice built on referrals is clearly the most profitable way to go.
3. “I work to fully leverage the life-time value of my clients.” The longer the relationship lasts, the more trust you can build (if you provide quality on-going service) and the more high-quality referrals you will receive. The life-time value of a client is not just the business they can do with you over their lifetime, it’s who they can introduce you to as well. Quite often, the best referrals come later on in the relationship – as long as it’s not merely a transactional relationship.  Handling transactions does not make you referable. Putting people through a process and following that with ongoing great service does! 
4. “I ask for referrals in a consistent and systematic manner.” If you don’t have a system for generating referrals, you’ll either burn out from too many cold calls and poor quality leads, or put a ceiling on your success. With a system in place, you can begin each week knowing you’ll have a steady supply of quality prospects. It’s like billiards, where one shot leads to the next. With a system in place, one new client leads to the next.
5. “My business isn’t selling products; it’s solving problems, preventing problems and realizing dreams.” People don’t want to buy products so much as they want what your products and services can do for them. Find out about their life, their family, their dreams and their values; then, suggest the appropriate products and services based on the personal knowledge you’ve gained. What makes you referable is not the products you sell, but the process you put your clients through.
6. “I give referrals as often as I can.” The best way to start a flow of referrals is to give referrals as often as you can. If you don’t like to give referrals, you can never expect to set up a culture where your clients give referrals to you. Practice what I like to call the Golden Rule of Referral Giving: “Give referrals unto others, as you would have them given unto you.” Then, follow up and make sure a great connection gets made when you introduce people to each other.  
7. “I expect to get referrals.” An attitude of expectation increases your chances. Not all clients will give you referrals, but when you enter every relationship expecting to get referrals, you bring a confidence and awareness you wouldn’t otherwise have. You’ll be amazed at what a difference it makes. As your awareness expands, so do your opportunities for action. 
So, how did you score? All 5s? If you're like most of us mortals, this list has pointed to a few areas in which you can strengthen your referral mindset. A strong referral mindset is necessary to creating your referral-based business. Nurture these attitudes and turn them into powerful action.

Bill Cates
Bill Cates
Bill Cates is the president of Referral Coach International, a company that helps financial professionals grow their business by attracting more high-quality referrals. He is also the author of Get More Referrals Now! and Don't Keep Me a Secret. Bill can be reached atinfo@referralcoach.com. His many free referral tools are available at www.ReferralCoach.com. 

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