Have you lost focus on relationships?

I recently had one of my famous catch up calls with a contact of mine that works as the Commercial Loan Business Development Manager for a bank. During the call we talked about what we had been doing in 2019 and what our focus was on 2020.  I knew from our relationship over the past few years that he wasn’t focused on networking at all. He would attend some local events from time to time, but there really wasn’t a strategy in place. 

As I was talking to Matt (yes, his name is Matt too), he told me that his focus in 2020 was to get back to networking.  At Matt’s financial institution, the focus wasn’t on networking and relationships, it was on activity. For example, he is required to contact every one of his clients assigned to him each quarter, and he does so, usually through email and phone. But there is no number assigned to the value of the relationship. 

So I asked Matt…”Can you tell me where your referrals have come from?” He actually said that he didn’t get many referrals. That most of his loans were originated by cold calling and cold emailing…and as he said that, you could see his body language change.  It was like the grinch just stole Christmas! Furthermore, I could see all this unfold with my own eyes, because he was using his phone to video chat with me on zoom. That’s right… our catch up call was being conducted on Zoom.

I was sad for Matt at that moment.  Here’s what I saw.

There was no focus on networking and developing new referral relationships.

There was no focus on working with the existing clients to develop referral relationships.

In fact there was no focus on the relationship! That was the bottom line! To me, that is a dangerous way to do business!

Here’s the plan I laid out for Matt to get back on track.

  • Get into a weekly networking group asap, attend every week, and focus on those relationships
  • When calling all your clients, take the approach “How can I help you?”. This means offering your contacts and resources (other than your Bank/CU Resources) to help others with their businesses and their contacts.
  • Start working to be a connector. Be someone others desire to reach out to in order to find the right person they need to get help!
  • Go from the inbox to the mailbox and start mailing hard, physical items, like cards, newspaper articles, printed resources from others, and even business books as gifts
  • Work the system. It’s a system. No…It really is. You have to be intentional with this to get back on track with your relationships. You have to do it consistently and you MUST focus on them.

I have to tell you that I personally was shocked to hear that Matt was getting any referrals. Most people tell me that they are getting referrals they just don’t know how to generate more of them. In Matt’s case, he did mention one CPA that he thought gave him a referral, but he wasn’t 100% sure when that was, or even when that CPA had given him another one.  He couldn’t tell me if this referral came in 2019 or not! This brings to the biggest issue of all. You must know who your all-star is! I define your All-Star as a source of referrals, that has the ability to give you multiple referrals each year. To find this person, I recommend you list the last 10 customers you have. Put them in a column down the left side of a piece of blank paper, and on the right, put who referred that customer to you. Then look for the theme. Something will start to stand out. There is something in common there. If you find that you are seeing names of CPA’s on the right, for instance you see 3 of out 10, then you have your All-Star…The CPA.

At this point, it’s just a matter of finding more All-Stars, because not every CPA will refer to you, and you won’t be able to refer to all of them either. Whenever you are at a networking event, you want to look for your All-Star…NOT YOUR CUSTOMER! This is the biggest mistake that people make when networking.  They look for the wrong person in the room. Always spend time trying to get connected to the person that will send you multiple buyers, not the person that will buy once!

Do these things and your focus will return to relationships and you will get more referrals as a result of it. 

Until next time…don’t forget to live happy, smile a lot, and #HIGH5 everyone around you!

Matt Ward

Matt Ward

Matt is the founder of Breakthrough Champion... In 2002 Matt began working with business owners through his website agency, inConcert Web Solutions, to improve their bottom line, gain more clients, ... Web: www.Breakthrough-Champion.com Details