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The Forgotten Business Development Tool

October 2nd, 2013

One of my Coaching students told me a great story this week. He was attending a high school lacrosse game that his niece was playing in. His aunt, mom and several friends of their family were there with him in the stands. One of them politely asked what he was up to these days. Of course, he told them enthusiastically about his new career but he also had the presence of mind to add one very important statement which he addressed to everyone around him.

“So if you know anyone who has any commercial real estate needs of any kind…buying, selling or leasing, I’m your man.” This was followed by a smiling distribution of his business cards. Shortly thereafter, a friend of his aunts whom he had never met before that evening approached him and said “You know my neighbor told me she needs to expand her store by 3,000 square feet but doesn’t know how to approach her Landlord. I’ll give her your card and maybe you can help her”. The next morning he got a call from the neighbor’s husband and he is now pursuing that assignment.

Too often we forget to tout our services to those around us and ask for referrals. Every business development call should incorporate a simple statement asking the prospect if he knows of anyone who could benefit from your services. Every inquiry from a buyer or prospective tenant should also include that question. How many Attorneys, CPA’s, Title Agents, Bankers, Appraisers, Architects, Building Officials, Residential Agents, etc. could you call and ask for referrals?

In the fervor of our traditional business development activities it is very easy to forget the simple act of asking if the person you are speaking with knows someone who could benefit from the services you offer. Asking everyone you meet this very question should be as natural as saying hello and goodbye. To reinforce this behavior, create a “Referrals – Ask & Received” tracking sheet. Note every time you ask for referrals and track how many referrals you receive. Then track the results. I assure you that you will be impressed with the results and that positive reinforcement will ingrain the practice into brain.

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