You Say Referral: I Say Icey-cold Lead

Wendy,
There’s a Member of my Team whose clients naturally need my service.

Several times a month this Member will pass me a referral record
asking for a
quote for their client. It takes me a couple of hours
to do a quote, including my
creative ideas, based on what I’m told.

None of these has gone farther than the quote stage.
I have not had the opportunity
to speak with a single prospect,
and I have not gotten a single client.

I can’t afford to keep doing quotes
(that my competition might be using–someone is
getting the job),
and the Member is getting credit and recognition
for giving me
these non-productive “opportunities “.

How do I stop this?
I don’t want to ruin the relationship,
because I think I should
get referrals from them,
but I’m over it.

Frustrated

 

Dear Frustrated, thank you so much for messaging.

You must stop this immediately.
I have a four step process for you.

First: make a policy that you don’t prepare a quote without a meeting with the prospect.
You can do that right now, it’s called a performative, just say, out loud,
“My policy is not to give a quote before meeting the prospective client.”
There.
Done.
Easy.

Now prepare a three -sentence script to use with this Member.
I use Arryn Simon’s three sentence formula for difficult conversations:

1: The other persons point of view.
2: A fact.
3: The behavior you want in the future.

 

It might sound like this:

1: The other person’s point of view:
Member, thank you for thinking of me with these six prospects,
I appreciate you giving me the opportunity to quote.

2: A fact:
None of them has turned into an appointment,
even though I’ve invested time and creativity in the quote.

3: The behavior you want in the future:
So I’ve made a new policy for my business.
In the future I won’t spend time on a proposal until I’ve
spoken with the buyer. So please don’t turn in a referral
record until you have the buyer’s permission for me to call.

Then smile warmly, and stick out your hand, and shake hands.
Shaking hands is the signal, in our culture, that the conversation is over.

 

Step three:
When this Member passes you another referral record for a quote,
and they will–they are required by human nature to test you!
go to them after the meeting and repeat the three sentence formula:

Member, thank you for thinking of me with this new prospect,
I appreciate you giving me the opportunity .

None of these quotes has turned into an appointment, even though
I’ve invested time and creativity in the quote.
I don’t spend time on a proposal until I’ve spoken with the buyer.

I’m going to tell the MembershipCoOrdinator not to count
this referral record, so do turn in another one when you have the
buyer’s permission for me to call.

 Smile, shake hands, go tell the MCO.

Fourth Step: 
Unless this Member is abnormal, they’ll do it one more time.

This time, right after they do it, you’re going to stand,
(yes, you’ll be out of order, and yes, you have to do this part)
and you’ll use the script again–looking only at them,
NOT around the table:

Member, thank you for thinking of me with these six
prospects, I appreciate to giving me the opportunity.

None of them has turned into an appointment, even
though I’ve invested time and creativity in the quote.

So I’ve made a new policy for my business. I don’t spend
time on a proposal until I’ve spoken with the buyer.
So please don’t turn in a referral record until you have the
buyer’s permission for me to call.  Thank you.

Now, still looking them in the eye, smile warmly (include your eyes),
and sit down. Then look at the person beside them who will stand next.

Is this difficult?
Yes – because you’ve never done it before, and you’ve never seen it done.

Is it important?
ABSOLUTELY!
(My hope is that your Team doesn’t cheer for you. But they might.)

Performatives;
Arryn Simon’s 3-sentence formula for difficult conversations;
shaking hands to signal the end of a conversation;
smiling with your eyes . . .
Let me hear your questions in the comments below.

Go make money, W!

 

2 Responses to You Say Referral: I Say Icey-cold Lead
  1. Arlene Dickerson
    February 24, 2014 | 11:32 am

    I love this conversation as I have had the same situation at my table. I think I would give the Team CO a heads up beforehand if it escalated to me having to stand up (for Step 4) during referrals.

    • Wendy Kinney
      February 24, 2014 | 11:59 am

      Good point, Arlene.
      And it would be the TCO, not the MCO, because the TCO might need to keep the momentum going by calling the next person’s name.
      Thanks!

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