January 31, 2018

ESP not required

Your friends, family, colleagues, and clients will happily refer business your way if you give them the tools to do so.

Being crystal clear with yourself and your network about what kind of clients you’re looking for is a great first step.


“What kind of clients are you looking for?”

Five days ago, I challenged you to answer this question. Tons of people replied (thanks gang!).

As I went through the answers some patterns emerged. There was one in particular that I saw more than any other:

The provided selection criteria was unknowable to anyone other than very close business associates.

Some examples would be answers like:

For the sake of argument, I’ll call this “ESP Referrals” because there is no way I’m going to know who among the thousands and thousands of people I’m connected with “are about to enter a rapid growth phase”.

(Yes, I’m in a couple business-focused masterminds and things like these might come up in conversation there. But that is a group of maybe 100 people instead of multiple thousands. If this is enough for your business, then great! But the odds of a referral are significantly lower.)

The good news is, you might be able to avoid the “ESP Referrals” pattern by correlating the internal need to something that would be more obvious to the casual observer.

Things like:

These are admittedly still a bit esoteric, but they don’t require ESP. They are knowable from the outside. They are the kinds of things that might come up in casual conversation, or appear in someone’s social media feed, or could be discovered with a simple online search.

But we can do even better, I think. After some back-and-forth with most people, I was able to come up with something that fit their desired client profile AND triggered a Rolodex Moment for me, but was completely different from their original answer.

The moral of the story?

Try playing The Referral Game with a friend. Keep asking them for clarification on their desired client until you have a Rolodex Moment or give up. Then switch.