I was asked by a client “How did you get to have a 100% referral business?”
I’ve had a 100% referral business (Metattude now) since 1999, when my first client had a Business Review Weekly article written about their success with me, giving me a one-line mention.
That article led directly to my second client.
Since then, it’s been 100% referral.
Incidentally, my first client remained with me until 2017 when he achieved his exit plan; my second client remained with me until 2008 when there was a regime change; and my third client, referred by my first client, remained with me until 2009 when he too achieved his exit plan.
I’ve used other forms of marketing and sales, including cold calls and either they didn’t work for me, or I didn’t use them effectively.
I made many mistakes along the way.
My most often made mistake was ineffective planning.
I had to learn how to plan for this business effectively.
It’s different to the planning for the work I used to do.
So here is my answer: A.P.V.R.G.A.P.
Attitude: Get granular clarity on your goals, your purpose and your certainty about success that expresses your deepest values, not your fears. Replace fear, bad habits and ignorance with courage, better practice and continuous learning. Adopt and recite, morning noon and night, a mantra that guides you to your success.
Remember that your attitude determines your outcomes more than anything else.
Planning: What do you love doing that you’re great at (or can become great at), that others will value? Who is your ideal client? What’s the problem you help them resolve? How can you give them their best results? How will you articulate your intellectual property? How will you ‘go to market’?
Visibility: How will you become visible to your market with website, content, testimonials, demos, networking, personal and corporate brand.
Relationships: Build and keep trusting relationships with staff, contractors, clients, suppliers, collaborators, advisors, coaches, colleagues, community. Collaborative networking is important.
I wouldn’t be successful without the help of my wonderful EA and my clients, contractors, suppliers, collaborators, advisors, coaches and colleagues. You know who you are.
Give: Be generous with your energy, expertise and your network. Refer others, being mindful that your reputation is either enhanced or depleted by the quality of such referrals. Remember that givers get, even from unexpected unrelated sources.
Results: Deliver exceptional results consistently.
Asking: At the right time in the right way ask the right people for referrals.
Perseverance: It’s a long game, play it that way. Never sacrifice quality work and quality clients for the quick gain. Never give up. Always seek to improve everything. Keep learning.
Here’s to your success.