- What the company does can hold their interest (they’ll want to go into work every day).
- Their skills match what the company needs (to grow more).
- They see the overall upside.
- Too many lawyers involved (in business decisions).
- General paranoia.
- Oversized egos, I mean seriously, restricting what a sandwich maker can do?
So what is a good referral, whether you’re an advisor or a plumber?
1) Here’s what it’s not:
“I gave your name to so-and-so. Maybe she’ll call you.”
2) Here’s a medium referral:
An email introducing two people with no contact information other than the email address.
3) Here’s a good referral:
An email introducing two people with a short description of the situation, the benefit of meeting, and phone numbers for both people.
4) Here’s a great referral:
An email as per above preceded by a conversation with each party telling them why it serves them to meet each other.
Or, you get the two people together on the phone or in-person as you make the introduction.
I’ll admit, I sometimes get so busy I do number one – maybe 10% of the time. I never do number two, so close to 90% of the time I am doing an introduction with contact info, usually after telling the person requesting help to whom I’m referring them and why.
It shows you care when you take a little extra step and give personal attention.
Recently I put the word out to my network that I needed to replace the person who’d been doing outbound telephone work for me, to match business buyers and sellers.
I was surprised at the response and the number of quality people available. Jay Miller, with “I Can Open Doors for You,” was referred to me by multiple people at HomeStreet Bank, as he has a long-standing relationship with the bank.
While some prospective providers sent me a proposal after one telephone conversation, basically telling me I fit into one of their boxes, Jay was at the other end of the spectrum. And while it wasn’t a fit for us to work together, the way he approached it was first class.
After doing some research he asked me if he could get a sample list, make some calls himself, and see if it was something his firm would like to do. No proposal, no suggested four-month trial period, no special offer for the first few months. Just, “Let me try it and see if it’s for us.”
His usual market features longer sales cycles and more relationship building. I’m guessing it could take a year or longer to get a business owner to agree to meet a banker. With my business, it’s a yes or a no.
It was refreshing to have someone not push for the sale before knowing if it was a fit.
Awhile back I wrote the following on a piece of paper and put it by my computer.
“I tell my business buyer clients what it will take to get the deal, they make a low offer, don’t get the deal, and it sells for a price in the range I told them.”
One could easily substitute seller for buyer. I, and others, can tell a seller the price their business will (most likely) sell for and they ignore it. Then they get beat up by buyers for wanting too much (and end up selling in the range in which they were told it would sell).
I’m guessing we all do this, to some extent. “This” meaning ignoring the advice of experts, those with experience. In my world I think it’s more pronounced as I deal with clients who want to be in control. That’s what makes them good business people, they’re not lemmings doing the same thing as others.
A business owner friend, in the process of selling his business, told me how frustrated he was with the deal and especially the buyer.
The buyer looked at it as a transaction not a partnership. The buyer kept attacking with strategies costing the seller large amounts of unnecessary tax and asking for impossible conditions.
Buying a business is not like buying a car, a refrigerator, or even a house. In all of these cases once the money transfers it’s over. With a business there’s an ongoing relationship, usually from a few months to years (at least as long as any deferred payments to the seller).
Buyers should want to make the seller happy. To have the seller tell the customers and employees they’re in good hands. To have the seller tell all his industry friends what a great gal the buyer is so when they decide to sell, guess who will be their first call.
It’s not about winning the battle (the deal), it’s about not losing the war (the future operations).
- In a 1996 tax and bond package promised light rail from the airport to the University District and virtually guaranteed it would be done in 10 years and within budget (no additional taxes the County Exec said).
- In 2008 “rebooted” the project for a shorter run (only to the stadium), another eight years, and with a new budget (a lot more money).
- A 2016 announcement they finished on-time and on budget.
- The previous admin seems to have gone MIA and no active marketing had been done. Only passive marketing, a listing on the website. Their other recent classes also experienced low attendance.
- They did two email blasts to their list and picked up 15 people in one week.