January 26, 2018

The Referral Game

Positioning yourself well is a really hard thing to do. It requires that you see yourself through the eyes of someone else - namely, your ideal buyers.

This is the polar opposite of what most independent professionals do in their marketing, which is this:

They list their skills, capabilities, and certifications.

ASIDE: I suspect that this tendency originates from resume writing advice, which is sort of understandable, but is almost always a terrible thing to do.

I’m working on creating an exercise that will help you improve your positioning by you helping someone else with their positioning.

For now, I’m calling it The Referral Game. The mechanics of the exercise are not fleshed out yet but the idea is to reach out to a self-employed friend and start a conversation by saying:

“Hey there! I’d like to get better about referring work to my friends. What kind of clients are you looking for?”

PLEASE NOTE: The goal IS NOT to create some forced and cheesy “tit for tat” referral exchange scheme.

You ARE NOT trying to trick your friend into giving you a referral in exchange for one of yours.

For the purpose of this exercise, I don’t care if you ever actually refer your friend or if they refer you.

What I am interested in is having you go through the process of helping your friend articulate who they help with what.

Keep going back and forth with them until 1. they either give up, or 2. you have an idea how you would write an intro email for them.

At the end of the convo, you would hopefully be able to say something like:

”If I come across a $typeOfClientTheyWant who needs help with $thingThatTheyDo I’ll be sure to send an intro!

You’re welcome to take this idea and try it out with a friend, but as I said above, I haven’t worked out the mechanics yet.

If you have a few minutes, you could help me work this out by hitting reply and answering the question:

“What kind of clients are you looking for?”