When meeting a referral source that could potentially become a new strategic alliance for you one-on-one, how do you approach it? What do you want to accomplish during that one-on-one meeting?
That’s what we’re going to talk about today. I broke the topic down into seven different steps you can take to prepare for each one-on-one meeting. Some of you have probably never read this information before, so this will be new and very good. Some of you have heard all this already but just needed to do a better job of executing it or actually living it out. In other words, you have the knowledge but not necessarily the practice. In that case, take this post as a friendly reminder. No matter which group you belong to, you can benefit from this information. So let’s get started:
1. Have a clear goal of how many one-on-one’s you want to have per month. Be intentional about that number. Do you want meet with a new referral source at least once a month? Twice? Have a number picked out and stick to it.
2. Choose a meeting spot with the least amount of distractions and the best chance for you to learn from each other. Sometimes, this is going to be either your or your new referral source’s office, because you can learn a lot about someone from the way their office is laid out, decorated, etc. On the other hand, an office can be a horrible place if there’s a lot of distractions going on. So make sure you figure out a place where you can learn about each other in peace.
3. Before you meet, make sure you do your research. Read online about that person. What are some of the information posted on their LinkedIn page? Check out their website. Don’t be lazy here. Don’t just wing it and show up. That’s a bad habit many of us tend to fall into. Come prepared!
4. Come prepared with some questions to ask about the basics. How did someone get started in this industry? How many years have they been in this business? And most importantly, who is their ideal client? Go very deep with this one, because at the end of the day that’s what will help you refer qualified leads to them.
5. Go deeper about who they are as people. What are their value systems? What’s their personal life story? What’s going on in their life? What are their hobbies? Ask about why they do what they do, not just what they do but the reason they do it as well. Why did they choose this particular profession or career? Why did they start this business? What is their why or purpose?
6. Be specific about what you need help with in regards to referrals. As you learned what their ideal referral is in step four, now it’s time for them to return the favor. Explain to them what you’re after, exactly. Down to the age, gender, income bracket, location, etc. Leave them with a handout if you want to go one step further. Help them help you!
7. Finally, follow up after the meeting. Either follow up with a referral for them, or just a simple “thank you.” Tell them you appreciate them–that is the extra cherry on top.
So those are the seven steps to follow when meeting a new referral source. Let’s get better at forging these important relationships. Go out and have a productive and awesome day.