- Get in trouble with your client.
- Build a bad reputation.
- Risk a lawsuit.
- Are there any federal or state licenses, training, education requirements, etc. to operate this business (other than normal business licenses)?
- Do you have any people working as independent contractors who could possibly be considered employees? If yes, please explain if you have an opinion from your CPA or attorney stating if your independent contractor status complies with Federal and State law.
- He set up a major promotion, had the prime contact, got the deal and then was told he’s not needed (even with meetings with his contact) as the CEO and COO would handle it.
- For an even larger event he secured the appearance of a major political figure, a personal friend of his, and the same thing happened. “Thanks, we’ll handle if from here” and then, as I understand it, they changed the agenda regarding what the politician agreed to do.
- Feel left behind
- Wanting things
- Wanting to get rid of other things
- General example – Gallup studies show up to “70% of US workers not engaged at work.”
- Specific example – The Chicago Bears recently signed free agent linebacker Danny Trevathan who, within about a week of signing his contract, said he wished the (Bears top rival) Green Bay Packers had called him because he’d love to play for them.
- A client is looking at a company that’s experienced a lot of employee turnover. He’ll need to know what it means going forward, is this cultural problem so deep it can’t be fixed, or can he change it and improve the business?
- Another client had the buyer leave her company, the relationship had to be reestablished, and my client was pretty nervous about the possibility of losing the business. And he had every right to be nervous, as the following story illustrates (and it’s one of my favorites).
- A panicked owner called me because his top customer, over 80% of his business, disappeared. Not as in a magic trick, as in the business suddenly went elsewhere. A new person took over as the buyer and brought in a supplier they knew. The owner figured since his company started with and helped the customer when they were a startup he was owed something. It turned out to be a quick path to the door.
- 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.