Referrals. We all know that, but we don’t act like that.
And I am stupid just like you. I like chasing strangers. I don’t know what it is. The elixir of the chase. The pursuit. When I am frustrated by the lack of response I reflect and look at the projects I have completed, and I ask myself how I landed them? My stupid brain responds they came from people I knew. I may not have talked to them in five years, but I knew them.
I had a drink the other night with an agency President. Outside of course. Right by Newport Beach Harbor. Nice and breezy.
I asked him how are you getting new business?
Referrals he said. Sometimes it is from former clients who have gone elsewhere, and they reach out to us. Some calls from people we don’t know but they were referred by our current or former clients.
The next day I started my day buy reaching out to total strangers. It is tough to break bad habits.
I am going to be on a New Business Podcast called the Fuel, so I reached out to some clients. The consensus was that they are all universally tired of unsolicited outreach from strange agencies.
“I’m not very open to solicitation and the constant stream of instant pitches on LinkedIn or emails is very off putting. I’d prefer to receive a referral or make a connection at a networking event before receiving a pitch,” said one client.
Another client I know shared this comment. “Overall, there needs to be some sort of personal connection. I probably delete 5 to 10 emails a day from a totally random stranger trying to get my business. It’s obviously they haven’t done any homework and I’m just on a list,” they wrote.
And chasing clients is harder. When I reach out to clients I know many responses come with a big fat highlighted line saying something like CAUTION THIS EMAIL ORIGINATED FROM OUTSIDE OF THE ORGANIZATION. DO NOT CLICK ON ANY UNVERIFIED LINKS OR OPEN ANY UNVERIFIED ATTACHACHMENT.
That’s probably an indication that much of your activity can be wasted or flagged as a nuisance.
So, what’s the answer? There are many. Here is one.
If you know your clients really well, you can ask them if they have anybody in their network that you should reach out to. Don’t ask too often and don’t be pushy. Ask them if you can use their name and put that in the Subject Line. That may improve your chances to connect.
And in the end any solicitation to clients should be observations about their business and not just a blanket look at our agency. We are terrific. Relevance improves your chances of being heard.