Do You Make This Mistake When Approaching Referral Partners?

by Kenny Pratt

You Want Them To Like You First

Let’s say you want to establish a relationship with a local apartment complex where you refer customers to one another.

A common mistake is trying to cover too much ground in the first meeting.

Prospect First – Sell Second

The objective of the first meeting is simply to open the door to a deeper discussion of how you might work together. Professional sales people call this prospecting. Some self storage facility managers don’t have a lot of experience prospecting because in our business prospective customers come to us self-identified as interested in our product.

Nevertheless, approaching prospective referral sources is different because you are usually the one initiating the relationship, and you have no idea whether they’re interested collaborating with you.

When you try to cover too much ground in your initial meeting you run the risk of coming on too strong and causing your prospective referral source to see you as a salesperson or solicitor instead of a friend. It’s counterproductive to try to cover every detail or to enroll everyone in your “referral program” during the first visit. If the person you approach is familiar with cross-marketing relationships and is enthusiastic about working with you, you may be able to enroll them right away. However, that shouldn’t be your expectation.

An excellent first visit might only last five minutes. Simply introduce yourself and your business, let them know you serve similar customers, that you are interested in working with them, and see if they are open to the idea.

A Simple Invitation

You might something something like the following: “It was really nice meeting you. (Or if you’ve met before… It was really nice getting to know you better.) You know, it seems we both are interested in meeting people who are in transition. I’d be interested in exploring how we can refer business to each other. Are you open to setting aside 30 minutes for a follow up meeting or phone call?”

If the other party is open to exploring, then set an appointment and pat yourself on the back for successfully taking the first step in building your referral network.

If you want to deepen the relationship with your referral sources you should take a peek at A Dead Simple Way To Get More Referrals That You Have Overlooked For Years.

How do you get the ball rolling when you meet someone who might be a source of referrals?

Photo credit: KrystalT

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