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Getting Referrals – Being Specific !   Business to Business Tips !


Good networkers know the importance of being specific when networking –  in a presentation at a networking group, in a 1 to 1 meeting or generally in open networking, being specific improves opportunities for referrals and business.

So let’s start by me telling you about Ken, who runs Prime Services, a Virtual PA business; he asked me the question that I hear so often from other networkers:

MeanIT Referrals

‘I know I should be specific, but how can I be specific, when anybody could be a client for me?’

Ken primarily offers his Virtual PA and Office service to businesses – which makes him a B2B or Business to Business operator.

The first question I asked him was easy:

Question: ‘Who is your best current client?’

This is a good place to start, for a couple of reasons.  Firstly, if we’re going for specific referral requests, we might as well go for similar businesses that are likely to be good to also have as clients (without looking for a competing business).  Secondly, when it comes to actually speaking to the target business, it is really important to be able to provide some evidence of how you’ve helped a similar organisation – Social Proof  or Social Validation – maybe have a Testimonial or Google Review or get introduced personally by the initial Client.

Ken’s answer to this was a local Chiropractor, so immediately that leads us to the Health and Wellness sector.  Then, I asked him whether another chiropractor would be good, or was there any other profession (within Health & Wellness) that would be good for him. He told me that a doctor’s surgery would be a good opportunity.

Then, I just had to keep asking questions:

Question ‘Where would you like this doctors’ surgery to be located?’ –  Answer: Letterkenny

Question ‘Which doctors’ surgery in Letterkenny?’ – Answer: The  Bally Clinic in Letterkenny

Question ‘Who would you need to speak to at the Bally Clinic in Letterkenny ?’ –  Answer:  The Practice Manager

Question  ‘Do you know the name of the Practice Manager at the Bally Clinic in Letterkenny? – A: I’ve no idea.

This often happens when asking these questions: we may not know the answer to all of them.  However, it isn’t difficult to get the information we need – all it needs is some research – Google or LinkedIn will get you the answer 99% of the time. In this case, it didn’t take long to find out that the Practice Manager was a guy by the name of Joan Smith.

And with that – Ken had successfully managed to be specific.  A good referral for Premier Services is Joan Smith, the Practice Manager of the Bally Clinic in Letterkenny.

Ken’s problem, in common with many other networkers, was just getting started – and here I want to reiterate the key point: the simplest way to do this is to think of your best current client, and consider what industry they’re in. Once within that industry, think of the type of business you would like to speak to. Then, you just have to ask the questions.

Always ask for an action rather than a number, as in ask that a call be made or an email be sent to introduce you – numbers you can get through Google.

Getting Referrals – Being Specific is Key !

Remember: People like to do business with people they know or know of. Ideally, people they know, like and trust.

Make a habit of telling customers when you do work for them that you will look for Referrals from them once you have proven your own competence to them.

If a Customer compliments you, ask them if they know someone else who could benefit from your product or service. “I’m really glad that you’re pleased with my work. I’m always looking for referrals and wonder if you know anyone else who might be interested in our service”

At every customer meeting make a game out of looking for a Referral or Introduction to someone new – set a Target like one per day or one per meeting.

At your own open Networking events, stay away from friends or fellow Members and meet the new faces or ask fellow members for an introduction – again set a target of meeting say 3 or 4 new people. Talk to the people who are on their own, find out who they are, why they are there and who they know. If they ask you what do you do, ask them to tell you what they do first, so that you can better explain how what you do can help them. Always offer the advice that is best for them.

Talk to your own network members about their contact list, browse each others address book. See who a Member knows in LinkedIn – See our Linkedin Guide.

When you get a Referral – Remember to say Thank You !!

Being Specific is Key!   So learn the best way for you to do it every week and use your 60 Seconds at Networking events to ask fellow members for help to get an introduction to a potential customer. Everybody is selling, so who do you want to sell to ? The more you ask the more you will get. Make it easy for people to refer you by telling them exactly who you want to talk to. Be careful, you may get who you ask for. So be sure that you are asking for the right people.
“If you don’t ask, you don’t get”.   “If it is not worth asking for it is not worth having.”

Circle of Trust 100 – Referrals Network an ‘Advanced’ strategy

Aim – To identify 10 potential Referral category sources, create a list of the likely good referral partner types and get to know 10 of each. For us at MEANit it is 10 Graphic designers, 10 Accountants, 10 Printers, 10 Marketing Companies, 10 PR companies, 10 Sign Companies, 10 Business Coaches, 10 Financial Advisors, 10 Photographers and 10 Solicitors. This is a challenging long term strategy.

Get to know this 100 people and what sort of business they want, so that you can refer to them. If 100 is to many, try going for 50 or even 10, but do start somewhere.

Stay in touch – make a point of reaching out with a referral or a useful piece of info at least once a month, preferably weekly.

Keep filling the Funnel with these people and ensure that you always have 10 in each Category that are referring or trying to refer. Make no promises to each other to seek out referrals, just make a commitment to try to spot opportunities, which will happen, if you listen out for them.

Book to read;
Endless Referrals – Bob Burg
Networking like a Pro – Ivan Misner

Do you want more traffic?

Hi, at MEANit we help 40 ‘Professional Services Businesses‘ to be effective online annually. Will your business be one of the 40 in 2022?


Written by Michael MacGinty

Michael is a well known speaker, author and coach on how to use the web to grow a business. He is also WP Elevation certified as a Digital Business Consultant.
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A Web Presence Checklist, for the senior partner

12 things to oversee the web presence for your legal practice

LinkedIn including company profile page and personal profile for you and all employees. Post some articles about your services, giving some useful advice, sharing insights or sharing industry news. Connect with logical potentially good connections. No sales pitch, just hello with a short line to make the connection, like swopping a business card at a networking event. Read our Linkedin Guide.

Facebook – keep it a basic entry for the practice just to turn up in Facebook in search or get reviews. You could use it to get reviews from people who spend a lot of time on this platform. Or use Facebook to advertise your services, if it is right for your target market.

Website focusing on the services that you want to specialise in, the ones that make you the most margin and that you are happiest to deliver. Bear in mind that you can offer services that you do not personally have to deliver, but make you margin. You do not have to deliver you do not necessarily have to be involved in the process whatsoever. Who is responsible for your SEO Search Engine Optimisation? Read our Guide.

Include SSL – This is the little padlock that appears on the top left corner, to indicate the site is safe. This is not just for eCommerce websites.

Google Business Profile – Have you got one? Is your Google Business Profile profile populated, as in photos, service details, opening hours, blog items, reviews. Independent Google Reviews are fuel for your practice. Get as many as you can. Remember to reply to every single one of them. These are happy clients or people who are in need of attention. Read our Guide.

NAP – Include nap NAP everywhere that you write your address, search Google to see where you appear and ensure the NAP is exactly the same everywhere, including the Eircode.
Do any Google search of your name in an ‘Incognito window’ to see what people see on their computer when they do a search of your company. Whilst you’re there also do a search for solicitors in your town or area. Also do a search for the legal services that you want to promote in your area. Such as conveyancing in Dundalk or conveyancing solicitors in Dundalk.

Recruitment – Your website can also be used for finding new team members, rather than going through the expense of recruitment agencies. This tactic would generally be known as being a part of your overall content marketing strategy. This is where are you create content on your website that will attract people who are looking for certain things. Whether that be a specific legal service or a job in a legal practice that looks attractive to them.

Google Page Insights is a tool that is free and will give you an idea of the speed of your website. Google gives a lot of weight to a fast loading website, especially on a mobile view. Websites are being measured by Google more and more for their mobile view as a key metric.

Google analytics is also free and will give you an idea of the number of people travelling to your website visiting your website on a monthly basis. Use the overview to see how many people visit your website on a monthly basis to see if it’s going up or down. Google Analytics is a great tool but having a high numbers visit your website does not guarantee a conversion to a customer. In order to get conversions you continually need to add content and optimise content and compete with whoever your competitors are. A very simple search for a legal practice in your area will show you who is ranking number 1, 2 or 3. These are the competitors or people you’re competing with, so you need to be better than them. Read our Guide.

Google – With Google Ads you can spend a fortune easily. So if you want to use this platform, get to understand it or engage a specialist. It can be very useful in the short term or to use whilst you are working on your website and SEO. Read our Google Ads Guide.

Conversion. However, bear in mind even if you are number one and you get click through so people visit your website when they land on a page on your website. You have to work on the content in order to get them to convert from visitor to customer. This is your user experience as in UX through your User Interface referred to as the UI.

Reports – Ensure someone is producing a monthly report to measure the numbers. As Peter Drucker said “What gets measured gets managed — even when it’s pointless to measure and manage it, and even if it harms the purpose of the organisation to do so”. Ensure you get a Google Analytics report. And ideally have a report created, so that you can see the numbers at a glance.

As a senior partner you do not need to do all of this work. This is not what you’re qualified to do and could be way below your paygrade. Unless you engage someone who can deliver a high return in the long term and needs to be well compensated in the short term. Get a proper Digital Marketing Plan drawn up.

However, somebody has to do the work. It would be good if you could use some of these tools to see if the person, practice manager or web agency is doing a good job with your investment.
The bottom line is the practice should be kept busy. And ideally be able to recruit enough staff to deliver services. As a senior partner if you allocate a half hour every month to review these basic reports, you will then be in a position to see what is being done on your behalf.

Read the monthly reports from your Digital marketer. And if needs be, have a conversation about what needs to be improved. The Digital marketer will need a budget to do the search engine optimisation or create graphics for the website. And possibly doing advertising on LinkedIn or Facebook or anywhere where your potential customers are hanging out. Without sounding like an ambulance chaser you can have your content found when people do a search for chiropractor or osteopath or bad back or medical negligence. Get ahead of the curve.

How much time, hassle and money would it save you to have any and all advertising done online through your own website by a competent specialist agency?
Also posted here.

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