I’ve done several posts this week on elevator speeches and the psychology behind them. I want to wrap up this series with specifically how to ask for a referral and get what you want.
If you’ve been following my suggested elevator speech structure, by now you’ve told a story about how you helped a client, and you’ve triggered an emotional response in your audience that should leave them inclined to help you.
Now you need to follow that emotional reaction with a specific request for a referral that gets our brains working.
You can do this one of two ways.
1. You can ask for an introduction to a specific person
I mean that exactly the way it sounds. Ask for a specific person, by name, company and title. “I’d really like an introduction to John Smith, CEO of Virginia Colony Corp.” This will get your everyone’s brains in gear while they try to think if they know John.
You’d be surprised how often this works. I’ve seen people raise their hands in meetings and say “I know him.”
And what if they don’t know him? That’s okay. Our brains will make connections. Maybe I don’t know John Smith or anyone else at Virginia Colony Corp. But I might know Cecil Calvert at Maryland Colony Corp. If I do, then I have to ask you if Cecil would be a good referral for you.
Either way, you’ve been successful at getting me to say “tell me more,” which is your ultimate goal in an elevator speech.
What if you don’t know of a particular person to ask for? Not a problem. You can…
2. Ask “Who do you know who?”
This method works if you are looking for a class of people. Examples:
“Who do you know who is paying too much for car insurance?”
“Who do you know who is unhappy with their web traffic from search engines?”
“Who do you know needs to network and doesn’t know how?”
“Who do you know who is a Keller Williams realtor?”
“Who do you know who” is powerful because it can’t be answered with “yes” or “no,” so we can’t default to no action.
I watched this in action with one of my clients at a networking event. After every conversation, he would ask for a referral. Sometimes he said, “Do you know someone who?” and sometimes he would ask “Who do you know who?” He’d been working the event the right way, so people were motivated to try to help him. Everyone he asked thought about it. But when he asked “who do you know who,” they thought longer. Noticeably longer.
Either method will work. If you’ve engaged our emotions with a solid story and then follow it up with a good referral request, you are working comfortably in our buy cycle, and with our inclinations and psychology. You won’t get a referral every time. But you’ll get one often enough to keep you in business. And a lot more often than your competitors, who probably don’t use these strategies.
Anyone want to try to put it all together? Go ahead and post your elevator speech in the comments. I’ll give you constructive (and supportive) feedback.
And maybe another reader will have a referral for you.