I drove past a local bank and recalled the several meetings I had there to try to develop relationships with four bankers. Referral experts had said bankers are an “easy” referral source. Because I help owners and executives create dramatic revenue growth, they would see me as a valuable resource for some of their business banking clients. More revenue means more banking needs. A win-win, for sure!
To bankers everywhere, I want to say that considering bankers an easy referral source does them a tremendous disservice. These four and others I’ve known take great care of their clients and value trust above all.
Waste of Time or Time Well-Spent?
Were my efforts a waste of time or it was time well-spent even though no referrals came out of it? Which do you think?
I could say it was a waste, because no introductions resulted. I spent hours meeting with these bankers, listening to how they work every day to help their clients’ businesses prosper. Banking is tremendously competitive and these bankers were passionate about the high value of banking with their bank. They are scrupulously compliant and feel honored to have the trust of their clients.
On the other hand, I could decide it was time and effort well-spent. Why? For several reasons:
- I now understand a lot more about business banking for all size companies and industries. This helps me when my own clients talk about their bankers and banking services, good or bad.
- The bankers’ questions about my work forced me to become more compelling and forceful about what I do and how I talk about my work. Bankers have a huge range of concerns and objections and I got better and better responding to them. Improving this skill has strengthened all my marketing.
- I now know there is a huge difference between the way clients and non-clients think about referring someone to a member of their circle.
- The client has first-hand experience with you. Their feeling of satisfaction and enthusiasm is gut-level, not intellectual. They’ll easily and enthusiastically tell others how much you helped them and encourage their friends and colleagues to give you a call.
- The non-client professional—bankers, CPAs, lawyers, financial advisers, M&A experts and others—have only an intellectual understanding of your value. No matter what they say to their clients, it is never as powerful as someone who says “She helped me and I couldn’t be happier!” And these professionals have to guard their hard-won reputations.
Don’t lump everyone who knows the people you want to meet into the category “referral sources.”
Since that first effort, I have continued to meet and build relationships with bankers and financial advisers. I want to know them better and better, to understand what makes them as good as they are. I hope they want to know me and find out, over time, what success I help my clients achieve. I feel relationships and understanding are building in a way I did not understand when I attempted my first all-out marketing effort with those bankers.
So, yes, it was time very well-spent.
What About You?
What are you doing to build relationships with non-client professionals who could introduce you to their clients? Take the long, long view, and they will become valued partners who always think of you first when being asked for recommendations for your expertise.
I invented a Non-Client Cultivate & Nurture (NCCN) program as part of my hyper-local relationship building model. The NCCN demonstrates your interest in the non-client professional and helps them better understand your work and your values.
I’m using it for my consulting practice and with several clients. We are seeing excellent results. If you are interested in learning about NCCN, give me a call. Your investment will not break the bank and it is designed to be implemented with brief efforts over a one year period. What non-client professionals would you like to cultivate and nurture? Let’s talk: 703-790-1424