As I reflected on our business today, I was reminded of something I wish I had learned early on. When Jay and I first became business partners going on 16 years now, we had a healthcare company before starting our current Referral Marketing and Networking business.
You see, in the early days, we didn't understand the entire industry is built around referrals from a referral network that is intertwined, interconnected, and almost impenetrable.
Once we understood that we needed to become a part of this network to survive and thrive, we hit the major roadblock that we now can clearly see our current members make when they come to us.
We focused on ourselves.
We explained ad nauseam what we had to offer.
Why we were the best.
Why our program could get their referrals excellent results. And of course…
How we would take great care of their clients (patients).
None of it mattered. The referral gates didn't open and we were still on the outside looking in.
Then one day, a potential referral partner took pity on us and told us the truth of what we were doing wrong.
They said, "Jay. Taz. Let me tell you what I hear when you tell me how great you are and how you can help my patients. You have a problem. You need business. I have the people that you need. So I should send them to you. But here's what I don't hear. What's in it for me? Honestly, I have my own business (practice) to run."
It was a hard pill to swallow. It was a reality check we weren't prepared for. The criticism stung.
But, it was the kick in the pants we needed that changed our business.
So what did we change?
We stopped explaining to our referral partners what we did and how great we were.
Instead, we started explaining what we could do for them and how we could help their business grow. How we could be "partners."
It stopped being a one-way street.
It stopped being about us and started being about them.
And it stopped being about how the only value we brought to the table was assuring them that we would "take good care of their referrals."
We came up with an offering that was helpful to them in their business. And we became a part of the network ecosystem which once seemed to be a secret society.
We teach this concept to our members when it comes to standing out from the crowd in their B2B Referral Marketing.
Because it doesn't matter what you do until you explain what you do for them.
So as you think about your referral marketing strategy for 2021, what do you do for your referral partners beyond doing a good job?
P.S. Want to be more targeted in your networking efforts? Click here to see if you would qualify for our private Micro Networking events