Yesterday I wrote about profiling your ideal clients in a manner similar to law enforcement profiling criminals. Today I want to take a sample profile and show how the profile can lead to specific triggers you can use to generate referrals.
A lot of people ask for “anyone with skin” or “medium sized retail businesses.” These aren’t effective ways to ask for a referral because they are either too broad or too vague to generate a response. But to effectively ask for referrals, you need to know your clients and what they have in common. From there you can generate specific descriptions that will generate a response.
Let me walk through the process. One of my clients is a real estate agent. His ideal client profile looks something like this:
Marital Status: Married
Educational Level: College graduate
Income Range: $70K and up
The list could go on, but that’s enough for us to work with. First, why are these the criteria? He wants to target clients who are in transition, and that age range covers a population likely to be moving in and out of houses. Can younger or older people also move? Of course, but this profile is for a particular category of client. He could (and has) created a different profile for older couples who are downsizing. Married people tend to have a higher gross income than singles. College grads tend to make more money. And married people with children are likely to have a reason to move several times. This particular agent is interested in long-term clients, not quick sales.
Someone probably can (and will) argue with me about the criteria. That’s what the comments are for. But for the rest of my example, just go with it.
So how does my client take those criteria (which are pretty broad) and turn them into specific triggers to generate referrals? He looks for ways his network might recognize these types of people. Where do they hang out? What organizations do they join? What are life events that others might recognize?
For example, he could ask for an introduction to a homeowner’s association to do a presentation on the changes in home prices in the area. He’d probably meet people matching his criteria at that meeting. He could ask people to look and listen for their friends discussing a need to up-size because of a new baby. He could ask for introductions to financial planners because they often ask targeted questions that will uncover referrals in his target market. Perhaps he could network with influential people in local alumni associations.
See how it works? Establishing a criteria helps him to create triggers to generate referrals for clients. It also gives him ideas of other professionals he can partner with and pass referrals to and from.
So look at your client list. Create a couple of profiles for the different segments of your target market. And then use those criteria to develop referral-generating messages.
Got a good one? Share it here. Maybe we can help you find the next great referral.