Since I am big on being a connector I am always delighted to refer businesses resources to clients and colleagues, but I’ve found that there are successful ways to request a referral and invite business and unsuccessful ways. I often receive unsolicited emails from artists, gallery, furniture retailers and more requesting me to visit their website, make time to see them, or even pass them on to others I know. I ignore all such requests unless they have taken the time to make this appeal personal and relevant.
- Have they been to my website?
- Do they understand my focus and niche?
- How does their product specifically fit my market? Does it fit my market?
- Why do I want to do business with them?
- What is their unique selling proposition? What separates them from all the rest?
This applies if you are asking a colleague to connect you on Linked In, Plaxo, Facebook or any other network. Just because you are a vendor or resource to an industry at large doesn’t make you automatically a relevant fit to that specific target. Stop scattering your efforts and make it personal and appropriate. This applies to small business owners (and yes, you designers) when seeking client referrals. Why are you a fit for a particular prospect? Is it your style, your portfolio, your specialty? The clearer you get, the greater the connection you will make and that means more success in your market!
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