Most referrers (for example, bankers, lawyers, financial planners, finance brokers) who are approached by accountants hear the same thing over and over again – we are great at tax and accounting and we’d like to build a two way referral relationship with you. Unless you ‘click’ and just happen to hit it off, little will come of it if you just use the same approach as everyone else. That’s why it is so important to educate potential referrers of work – what’s in it for them? And specifically, how can you make them look great in the eyes of their clients?
You can do this by telling stories. To understand what I mean, try this little script the next time you visit with a potential referral source:
“It’s good to see you. Often when I have meetings like this they can meander and we both enjoy a cup of coffee but nothing comes of it. I’m conscious that we’re both busy and so that we both make the most of the time we have available today, I thought it might be useful to take you through a case study of one of our clients so that you can see the sort of work we do with our best clients. That way, you’ll be able to make an informed decision as to whether any of your customers might benefit specifically from the work we do, and that their existing accountants might not be able to offer. How does that sound?”
I think you’ll get a much better result if you focus on your referral source and how you can make them the hero, instead of focusing on yourself. I’ve also observed that focus works in another way too – find three or four stellar referrers and treat them like your A class clients, rather than going after 20 or 30 in a haphazard way. As always, focus really is a key word.