January 27, 2018

Gretchen who?

“What kind of clients are you looking for?”

It’s a simple question.

But most folks can’t answer it.

Well, they can answer it - but not in a way that would trigger the possibility of a referral.

Yesterday, I asked you this question in the context of something I’m calling The Referral Game and I got back a bunch of replies (thanks everyone!)

The answers spanned the entire range of possibilities, from flippant non-answers (e.g., “someone with lots of money who wants to pay me”) to hyper specific answers that I’ll probably remember for years (e.g., “people who own thoroughbred horses”).

Remember, I asked this question in the specific context of referrals.

For the sake of this exercise, I want to play the part of matchmaker between you and the thousands of people I am connected to.

If your answer is too vague or I don’t understand it, I can’t start running through my mental Rolodex looking for matches. I just don’t have enough information.

The more specific you are, the more likely I am to start looking for a match.

Of course, just because I’m looking for a match doesn’t mean I’ll find one - I might not know someone who fits the description.

But - and maybe this is just me - scrolling through my Rolodex and not finding a match sticks in my head.

It’s like half a high five, just hanging there in midair.

Now I want to find a match. That open loop is going to stick in my head and ever so slightly nag at me. I might even start mentioning it to other people in hopes of scratching that itch.

Real life example:

As I was typing this message up, I asked Google Assistant how to spell “thoroughbred”.

My wife gave me a confused look and asked, “You working on something for Gretchen?”

“Gretchen who?” I asked back.

She replied:

“My aunt Gretchen. She owns Arabians. And you know Jenny and Maryann both own horses, right? I don’t know if they’re thoroughbreds but I can ask. And oh yeah, my old boss Alison owned show horses.”

See what I mean? In the context of referrals, incredible specificity about who you want to work with can unlock the exponential magic of network dynamics.

The numbers are non-intuitive. It seems like the odds of me knowing someone who owns thoroughbred horses are near zero, but it turns out I’m related to one and possibly know three others.

Just as an experiment, I’d be curious to know:

Are YOU connected to someone who owns thoroughbred horses?

Please hit reply and let me know 🙂👍