The Simplest Way to Recognize a Referral Opportunity

“You have to teach me what you do so I know how to introduce you.”

“Leave me with a question that I can ask that will help me identify an opportunity to introduce you.”

How do YOU go about remembering how to recognize potential revenue opportunities for all of your referral partners? It’s tough. Unless you’re in a career (e.g., banking, commercial insurance, accounting), which allows you to “touch” many types of businesses, you really don’t know the ins and outs of everyone’s business let alone the right question to ask to recognize that opportunity.

Have you taught yourself to ask your clients or prospects about the problems they are having outside your area of expertise? If you have, you don’t need to know any specific questions or an in-depth knowledge of your referral partner’s business. When you ask your client, “What’s the biggest problem you’re facing right now?” and they answer with, “My server keeps going down and we lose time and money,” doesn’t that pretty much identify a potential opportunity for one of your referral partners? Not too hard to figure this one out.

So now you’ve introduced someone who can fix your client’s problem. You do that enough times and trust me, your competition will have a pretty hard time getting that first appointment with your client. You’ve reached a higher level in their eyes. All of a sudden your relationship is strengthened.

Have you used the same tactic with a prospect? If you do, while you may not get the business right away, I’ll bet that none of your competitors take that “consultative” approach. You show the prospect you have their best interest at heart and you implicitly show them the type of service you would provide them as your client. It’s one way for you to differentiate yourself from the rest of the herd.

It’s as simple as asking, “What are some of the problems you’re facing right now?”

All you have to do is ask.


Good luck and good networking.


2 Responses to “ The Simplest Way to Recognize a Referral Opportunity ”

  1. August 21, 2013

    I agree with your points. It is odd today that people ask the prospect or client – what is the biggest problem your business is facing. This makes it about them and not about me. Isn’t that we are to do? Put other needs ahead of our own gain.

  2. August 22, 2013

    Stew, execellent strategy! However, it must be said that having the trust of your prospect is critical – otherwise the answer will always be “We’re good, but thanks for asking!”. That’s why it’s critical to have excellent bonding and rapport skills combined with the genuine attitude of “I want to help”. That will open doors in ways you can’t imagine.

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