Few outcomes of significance — like generating more and better referrals for your practice — requiring the coordination of time, skills, efforts and people happen “by accident”. Usually, planning is involved.
The Moon Landing, the Apollo 13 recovery, America’s declaration of independence from England, your having the best year year ever due to generating better referrals and introductions than ever . . . are examples of what’s possible when you make plans to make something important happen for you and your practice.
Referrals Don’t Happen By Themselves!
It doesn’t matter what you’ve done in the past about generating referrals for yourself. What you want to remember is that you’ll never be as good at generating high-quality referrals today as you’ll be tomorrow . . . assuming, of course, that’s important to you in 2015.
One of the keys to improving the quality and increasing the quantity of your referrals and introductions is the use of a SYSTEM. In The Preferral Prospecting® System we use to coach advisors, there are four (4) key elements of a referral system that, used correctly, consistently and conscientiously can significantly improve the quality and increase the quantity of revenue-building connections, introductions and referrals your practice needs to grow:
1. Profile . . . of the kind of person who can best understand, desire and afford your services
2. Sources . . . people who can introduce you to people they know who fit your Profile
3. Method . . . what you must DO and SAY to generate introductions and referrals
4. Action Plan . . . the daily activities you must take to use our system and see results
You Can Make 2015 Your Best Year Ever . . . IF . . . You Plan To Do So
When I was a consultant for LIMRA International, the esteemed trade association for the financial services industry in the US and around the world, I was taught a powerful planning process by Gordon A. Kratz, CLU who was a Director in the Company Operations division. It was based on a simple process for planning: “DOME”.
D . . . Diagnosis is the first thing you want to do.
Some call it ‘situational assessment’. Basically it means taking stock of what you have (and, what you don’t have!) to help you achieve your BHAG — your ‘Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals’. But wait. You don’ t set goals here in this step. That comes next.
O . . bjective is the second step.
This is scary easy to screw up –– and your plans and results will show it if you do!
This step is not where you set a goal to “Increase sales by 25% in 2015”. This is where you set goals to reduce or eliminate any factor that’s limiting your ability to achieve that kind of goal.
Let’s get away from referrals for a moment. Let’s say your kid, in middle school, announces, “I want to be a doctor when I grow up”. That’s a BHAG, isn’t it? It’s laudable. But not helpful. What’s better? Smaller goals! Like getting A’s in math, chemistry, physics, biology, etc. Why? Because if those goals are NOT achieved, your kid won’t be qualified to get into a decent pre-med program, apply to any medical school and, if he or she is able to stay ‘on course’ over many years . . . become a medical doctor.
M . . . Method is the third step. This is where the ‘nitty-gritty’ actions are chosen and coordinated into do-able Action Plans that, when completed, mean the goals are accomplished and the BHAG is more likely to be realized, as well. My buddy in high school wanted to be a doctor. Only problem, he sucked at math. Fortunately, his family could afford to send him to a prep school for 2 more years. That action built the math and science skills he needed to not only get into a good university but made him academically able to handle the rigors of a pre-med course of studies and qualify, eventually, to apply to medical school. Today, he’s a radiologist and doing very well. But if he didn’t overcome his inadequacies in math and science, he might be doing something other than practicing medicine later in life.
E . . . Evaluation is the last step. This is where you assess your progress-to-goal on a regular basis. It’s really no different that your Diagnosis step, EXCEPT . . . this is done, periodically, AFTER your plan is underway.
Did you know the Apollo astronauts were only ‘on course’ during their lunar missions about 2% of the time. Shocking, isn’t it? BUT . . . by evaluating if they were ‘on course’ regularly and frequently, they were able to make minor course corrections — fire their guidance rockets for a few seconds here and there — when they weren’t. As a result, they achieved their Big Hairy Audacious Goal . . . they successfully went to the moon and returned safely.
How This Applies to You Generating More Referrals . . . in 2015
Knowing the process of planning to make things happen is one thing. Actually using it to reach the Big Hairy Audacious Goals you have for your tax or financial planning practice is a little more involved. Not impossible. Just easier said than done.
Regardless, what I want you to take away from this post is that if you want more / better referrals in 2015, you must PLAN to make that happen. And not just set a fluffy goal like, “Get more referrals than I did in 2014”. No, you must assess if you have a system for generating referrals and if it’s working for you (assuming you’re also using it!). If not, THAT . . . is a legitimate factor that will limit your ability to generate the quantity and quality of referrals and introductions in 2015 that you want. So THAT . . . calls for a ‘goal’ to eliminate that situation.
Specifically, I urge you to set a goal to find, use and benefit from a proven system for generating referrals by design, not accident.
Make a goal . . . to find and use a proven system for generating referrals in 2015
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