Quit Flying Standby

flight 3
“Flying Standby” is asking for referrals in a hit-and-miss manner that generally yields few or random results. Just like you, I flew standby through most of my career when asking for referrals until I had an “aha moment” that woke me up in the middle of the night.  Suddenly it occurred to me, “What if I just focused on referring them?” As I kept turning this question over in my mind, I resolved to help others reach their dreams by introducing them to those who could help them get there. That insight gradually turned into my book Referral Upgrade: A New Way to Find Your Very Best Clients.

I put this idea to the test by inviting an advisor named Paul to lunch whom I thought I could refer a client. I must admit, in the back of my mind, I was thinking this introduction might lead to business for us. But my primary intention was just to help two individuals meet. Remember, this was the first time I scheduled a meeting specifically thinking, what if I just focus on referring them? I was winging it and just playing around with the idea.

Paul asked me about my business, to which I gave a five minute description of the value we provide our high-net-worth clients, successful businesses, and charities. Then I turned the tables and decided to practice the Referral Upgrade process for the first time. Rather than the usual back and forth conversation focused on me and my work, I just interviewed him about his dreams and whom he would like to meet.

We quickly developed more rapport than I ever could in a typical business lunch and I learned a lot about him, his life, and his dreams. Towards the end of the interview, he said completely out of the blue, “Hey, I have four people that you should meet.” Three of the four were my very best client type. All four were existing clients of his, which meant they would meet with me on his introduction.

The same thing happened the next nine times I used this process. On the tenth time, the interviewee said he wasn’t looking to meet anyone but referred us anyhow, again, without being asked. I have never gone back to flying standby, and I am continually referred to the clients of my dreams using the Referral Upgrade process.

Just interview them. This idea works, and I know it will work for you too.  For more information on how to do this see my book, Referral Upgrade, or read the free download, with tutorial,  in the sidebar called The Big Three Profile.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic. | My full comments policy here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

2 thoughts on “Quit Flying Standby

  1. Hank, great post. We all do this too often. Vague answers to specific questions. Thanks for the reminders.

    A couple of years ago, I was meeting with a new client, and we talked about conversations she’s had with prospects and clients. She shared that when she would ask, “What is your passion outside of your work life?” the conversation and feeling of the connection with that person would immediately shift to be deeper and more connected. I have since tried it and it’s an amazing transformation. I have connected on a deeper level with my clients and I have become more than business associates with them—we have become friends in nearly every case. Doing business together almost becomes a derivative, even though that was the initial goal. Too cool.

    • I like that too, the idea is to engage in a conversation about what this person wants now or for the future and these type of questions will get you there. Thanks!