In this blog, I will show you:
- How to explain the problem you solve and the dream outcome your prospects and customers desire
- How to construct messages, emails and conversations to ask for referrals
- How to implement a tried and trusted method to actually get you more referrals
You don’t need any extra bits of software for this. So there’s no extra cost. You just need to learn the techniques from this blog and apply them to your social media posts, emails, phone calls and conversations in meetings.
When you do this you’ll be well on your way to booking those all-important meetings with potential new customers – from referrals created by your current customers.
Where These Techniques Come From?
The advice in this blog is a collection of techniques that I’ve fine-tuned over the 20+ years that I’ve been working with prospects and customers. I’m going to give you techniques that work.
I’ve made loads of mistakes along the way, some of them are pretty funny, but this isn’t the place to share those.
But what I am going to share is the finished thing. The techniques that will get you more meetings from referrals.
To get the meetings, I learnt that I needed to get organised. I needed to do some planning and carry actions. Because just waiting for people to refer you doesn’t work.
There are two parts to planning. And I’m going to share the first part with you after this next section of the blog.
Formula or Framework?
So when I explain these techniques to people they often ask: is this a formula or a framework?
Alright, so to make this really simple to understand. This first part is a framework. And the second part is a formula. So you use the framework to formulate messages and get conversations. And you’ll learn that formula in a few sections down. The framework and the formula together will help you really add value to the people that you connect with and communicate with.
I’m not a fan of giving people scripts and templates to use for social media posts, emails and phone calls etc. I am, however, a huge fan of frameworks! If that doesn’t make sense, I’ll explain…
If I just shared with you an email template to send out, or LinkedIn message to use, or even a phone call script to use, you’d sound generic and you wouldn’t be adding any value that is specific to your product and relevant to your customers.
But there are 6 things that all people need to plan and understand if you’re going to be successful in generating more referrals. These 6 things can be used when communicating through all the channels that are available to you (social media platforms, emails, phone calls and meetings etc).
And those 6 things make up the Framework. So let me introduce you to the Framework. Lets do that now.
The good news is, to populate this framework you only need to write a few sentences. 6 in total. Ok, so what’s the framework?
There are 6 parts that you need to populate – all 6 parts are related to the problem – or problems – that your product or service solves. And the 6 parts are are:
- Problem: the problem you solve
- Struggle: the struggle that makes it hard for customers to solve the problem
- Vehicle: what your product or service is (the vehicle that helps solve the problem)
- Objection: the effort that your customers and prospects assume they will have to put in to use your product or service (or the effort they have to put in to solve the problem themselves)
- Time: how long it takes for a customer to see the first signs of the perfect outcome
- Outcome: the perfect outcome your customer gets when the problem is solved
I can not stress enough, the importance of focusing on the problem you solve when you’re writing social media posts, writing emails, writing blogs and having conversations. By being problem-centric you’re showing the customer or prospect that you understand their issues. And if you understand their issues you’re being more customer-centric than all the other people and businesses who claim to be customer-centric.
So, in the next section, I’m going to take this framework and complete it for an example business. So you can see it in action.
So let’s put this into practice. Let’s say your product is aimed at schools. And the product is a pupil assessment tracker. So, for those of you who don’t know what an assessment tracker is… it is an application that teachers use to enter the outcomes of their pupil assessments. In essence, the teachers record the standard of the pupils’ understanding of each subject. Then they can use the application to analyse and report on that data.
I’ve picked this particular product type because I used to work in a business that did exactly that. Now, I didn’t choose that because it would be easy for me to do, I did it because I want to explain that it is easy for me to do. And it should be easy for you to do because you’re going to try this for the business you currently work in.
OK, so the populated framework for an assessment tracker:
- Problem: Teachers have huge workloads
- Struggle: Teachers are struggling to create assessment reports for senior management without taking too much time away from lesson planning
- Vehicle: Automated assessment reporting software
- Objection: Having to spend hours inputting data and creating reports
- Time: 6 weeks
- Outcome: Get more time to plan meaningful and engaging lessons
Notice how the Outcome is the opposite of the Problem with a bit of the Struggle thrown in. And all the bits in the middle give you the tools to:
- explain why your product is important
- overcome objections
- articulate what your product is
explain how quickly a customer will start to see value from working with you
OK. So in the following section, you’re going to get the tools and the time to complete this for your current business.
5 Minute Task: Complete The Framework
Click here to download the Word document.
It’s a simple document but it will give you a place to do this task.
Take 5 minutes to actually carry out this task. Do it now. Don’t sit there and say “oh, I’ll do that later”. Don’t do this because you won’t, you won’t come back to this and you won’t do it.
So do the task now, you’ll be really happy with yourself once you’ve done it, you’ll be happy because when you get to a later section of this blog you’ll be able to use what you do in this task to start writing emails and messages that will get you more referrals.
So, download the document now and complete the 6 elements of the framework for your business.
Have you done it? If not, go ahead and do it now.
OK, I can only assume you have (ha)…
So in the next section of this blog, I’ll introduce you to the formula that will be used when you write messages and have conversations.
OK, so you now have the first version of your framework. And we’re going to use that in a couple of sections time to write a message that you can send to some customers.
A section of a blog called ‘The Formula’ sounds like I’m going to give you a template.
But back at the start of this blog, I said that templates are generic and not customer-centric. Meaning they’re not specific to your customer and your product. And I’ll reiterate that point now.
Please don’t use the example I give in this section of this blog, word-for-word. It will make you sound generic. And if you do use it word-for-word and someone else does too, and you both contact the same customer… guess what happens? The customer notices that you’re using a template and then they bin you. You need to take the example below and re-write it for yourself.
But always use the elements of the framework in what you write. And there is a ‘formula’ for this:
A successful message = includes all 6 elements of the framework and includes the Outcome at least one more time than any of the other framework elements.
And that’s it. That’s the formula. Not quite a formula – I think – but it is a technique that you should use. It’s a technique that has worked wonders for me over the years.
Why should you include the Outcome at least one more time than any of the others? Because you’re explaining the dream to them. And this is true if you’re in communication with a current customer or if you’re talking with the referred prospect.
The dream is their perfect outcome. I’ve found by pushing that outcome more than once gets me better engagement and better results. So I always mention the outcome at least one more time than any other element from the framework, even if you’re asking for a referral.
Remember, this technique can be used in emails, phone calls, conversations or social media posts.
So in the next section, I’ll show you how I would use this information to formulate a message to ask for a referral.
In this example, I’m asking for a referral from a current customer. So here’s an example of using the formal explained in the last section:
“As you know [Problem]. Do you know anyone who is [Struggle] and looking to [Outcome] within [Time] from now?
I want to introduce our [Vehicle] and help people [Outcome] without [Objections].
Does anyone come to mind?”
And there you have it. 6 key points in a few sentences. Let me use the info from my example framework – for the pupil assessment tracker – and make it relevant to that particular business:
“As you know many teachers have huge workloads.
Do you know a school that has teachers who are struggling to create assessment reports for senior management without taking too much time away from lesson planning, and looking to get more time to plan lessons within 6 weeks from now?
I want to introduce our automated assessment reporting software and help schools get more time to plan meaningful and engaging lessons without having to spend hours inputting data and creating reports.
Does anyone come to mind?”
As I mentioned – this formula can be used in:
- social media messages
- telephone calls
- conversations and meetings
And it works wonders.
Summary: Take Action
OK, so there are 2 things you need to do for planning. And 1 thing you need to do for doing!
- For planning: complete the framework relevant to your product or service AND apply the framework to the formula to write your message.
- For doing: it’s simple. You now have your referral message ready to go. So use it and go and message all your customers and get those referral meetings booked in your calendar.
One last thing: I’ve done this consistently for over 20 years. As I mentioned, I’ve made mistakes along the way. But when I finalised what I’ve just shared with you – and I did it over and over and over again… I got many more referrals and many more sales.
I hope this blog was useful for you. Go out and get those referrals.
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