Let’s start with some deductive reasoning:
As a producer, writing new business is your primary goal.
Writing new business means you must get in front of qualified candidates.
You can’t get in front of qualified candidates if you don’t spend time prospecting.
But, the more time you spend searching for prospects, the less time you have to spend with active prospects and clients.
Bottom line, it isn’t enough to just spend time prospecting, you have to be efficient with that time.
There is no more efficient way to feed your pipeline than with targeted introductions from your best clients. Period.
Yet, almost every producer I talk to admits to not proactively asking their clients for those introductions. There are only three possible reasons:
You don’t do a good enough job to have earned the privilege (rarely the case).
Your clients don’t like you enough to do you a favor (even more rare).
You are afraid and/or don’t know how (by far, the most common reason, but also easily fixed).
I’m not going to get into any detail on the first two points.
1. If you haven’t done a good enough job, you have bigger issues to deal with than new referrals.
2. If you don’t think your clients like you enough, channel your inner Stuart Smalley: You’re good enough. You’re smart enough. And, doggone it, your clients like you.
Now, for the other 98 percent who are doing a good enough job and who have clients who appreciate you for the job you do, it’s time to face your irrational fear. If you won’t face it for yourself, face it for the benefit of the very clients you are avoiding.
Stronger relationships; higher close ratios
Targeted referrals from your best clients to their strongest relationships are the highest quality opportunities you can put in your pipeline. They will be larger in size and have a higher close ratio. You will hit your sales goal in the most efficient manner possible.
By not asking your clients for targeted introductions, you make the job of prospecting more difficult. Without trusted introductions:
You’ll face more “no thank yous” when prospecting, adding to your prospecting time.
You will end up working on smaller accounts, which means you need to spend even more time prospecting to increase the quantity and make up for the lower quality.
Your conversion/close ratios will be lower, adding to time spent prospecting.
Not only does all this additional prospecting time come with a huge “suck factor,” you are stealing this time from your existing clients. This additional time spent prospecting is time your clients no longer have access to your attention. It drastically reduces the time you have available to help address their challenges and problems. They are now getting less value from their relationship with you.
What have we learned?
1. You have earned the privilege of asking for introductions.
2. You’re good enough, smart enough, and likeable enough.
3. You’re no longer the coward you were 500 or so words ago.