I got invited to another one of those local business meet and greets the other day. You know what I’m talking about.
“Great Networking Event – Bring 60 Business Cards – Let Everyone Know What Will Make a Great Referral for You.”
Sorry–been there done that. I remember driving home from one of those meetings a few years ago, thinking to myself, “This is about the dumbest thing I’ve ever been to.” A room full of people so starved for clients that they had rehearsed an elevator speech that was all about themselves. (“Hello meet and greet group, my name is Ben, I’m a personal injury lawyer.” I’ve been practicing law for 29 years and I’m just spectacular at it. The perfect referral for me is someone who has been catastrophically injured in an accident. If any of your friends are near death after an accident, have them call me if they can.”)
In the meeting I attended, they even had some kind of fake currency that they handed out in exchange for referrals. How pitiful.
I’d like to get you to think about a new way of building your tribe of raving referrers. It comes under the “What can I do for you first?” category.
You will be able to go to them and say, “I’ve got something I’m going to give you that will help you get more customers or clients and it won’t cost you a dime.”
No one has ever said that to them before. They will listen to your idea.
You can be a hero to your referral sources by utilizing the skill that we know best: marketing. One of the coolest things you can do is to help make them celebrities to their fans and yours.
Here is a technique that anyone could use:
Create an “Ask the Experts” Video Program
This isn’t as hard as it sounds and does not require a video studio (just a decent camera, lighting and audio.) You are the host and the program is all about local great business leaders in your community. Bring in one of your referral sources and ask them a bunch of questions about their business. Have them give tips for consumers and end with a drive to their website for more information. At the end of the video you also have a call to action that directs other business owners as to how they can be featured on your “show.” (You will get a line of other folks wanting to participate.)
I can guarantee that no one has ever offered this to them before! Once created, put the video on YouTube, embed it into your website, and invite the referral source to embed it on their site. Here are some examples of ways in which I have used this technique:
- An expert in handling ADHD in kids
- A local plumber
- My webmaster
- A local insurance agent
- A chiropractor (we talked about lawyer to doctor referrals as the “kiss of death” to a claim!)
- A Pennsylvania personal injury attorney interviews a New York social security attorney on Google “Hangouts”
After you upload the video, buy an easy-to-remember, easy-to-spell URL from a company like GoDaddy, and give it to your referral source. Tell them to let all of their clients know that they were interviewed.
They will drive their fans to the video and you will help them become famous to their fans. You, on the other hand, are building up a bank of information that you can post at your website, giving your fans a reason to keep coming back to your website (more traffic!).
Now choose: “Meet and greet, and hand out a bunch of business cards,” or “What can I do to help you promote your business today?”