October 25, 2010
When I first became familiar with the professional coaching industry in the late 1990’s, I quickly became a follower of Thomas Leonard, credited with founding the coaching industry as we know it today. One of the suggestions that Thomas offered for growing a new business was to develop a Team 100 List. To complete this list, you were required to brainstorm the names of 100 business owners in various industries with whom you were acquainted who would be willing to help you promote your business, send you referrals, etc. The goal was to share this list with all of your Team 100 members so that you all became ardent referrers of each other’s businesses.
As an introvert, I always found this task overwhelming.
One, I didn’t know that many people across all of those industries. I might be able to fill out a fourth of the list on a good day. Two, having to go out and connect with the other 75% to complete the list was never going to rise to the top of my To Do List because connecting with others doesn’t come easily for me. In fact, I often find the notion quite nauseating.
However, as a business owner, I’ve come to realize that it’s not what I know but rather who I know that will determine my success. Trust me, as an introvert, that is a bitter pill to swallow, as we tend to value knowledge over relationships..:) The reality is that proactively reaching out to marketing partners will create business opportunities that you will otherwise miss.
So, how could I accomplish this same objective but use my introverted strengths? Here’s how introverts can get referrals and more clients from the top 20 influencers in their industry.
1. Create a manageable list. To prevent overwhelm, create a list limited to 10-20 of the top people in your industry with whom you want to develop a relationship. These are people you don’t currently know, but who have the capability of being able to make strong referrals for you to your ideal client or endorse you in some way. Your list might include members of the media, prospective clients, association leaders, industry-leading decision makers, or anyone else you want to include.
2. Keep the list in front of you. Make sure your list is visible to you at all times, whether it is tacked to the wall next to your desk, sits on your computer as a desktop wallpaper, or is visible as a file on your cell phone. By doing this, your list stays top-of-mind at all times. And, if you come up short of 20 influencers, this action will make you take notice of other potential influencers you can add to the list.
3. Get contact info. You can use both online and offline contact methods, so gather the following info for each contact: email address, social networking profile info, blog URL, and snail mail address. Add this info to your contact list.
4. Determine your reach out strategy. Now that you have your list, how and why are you going to contact the person? You could:
–send an email commenting on something you like on their web site
–mail a card offering congratulations on a recent accomplishment
–post a thoughtful response to one of their recent blog posts
–retweet or comment on a social networking update
–respond by email to something that you found interesting in a recent ezine issue
Remember, this is all about making a personal connection. Reach out to your list members in a way that is genuine and authentic for you.
5. Start reaching out daily. Each day, reach out to the top person on your list. Once you’ve completed this, move that person to the bottom of your list, and the #2 person then becomes your new #1. The next day, reach out to your new #1, and then move that person to the bottom of your list. In this way, you’ll continue to rotate through your list, reaching out to each person once every 30 days or so.
In order for this strategy to work for you, it is imperative that you become disciplined and follow through on this task every day.
Look upon your Team 20 list as your “Dream Team” of influencers who could have significant impact on your business through their advice, introductions, and referrals. Follow this strategy daily, increase your sphere of influencers, and watch your client list grow!
Introvert Marketing Coach Donna Gunter helps professional service businesses stop the client chase and create online businesses that drive clients to them. Want to learn specific Internet marketing strategies that get results for introverts? Discover how to increase your online visibility in this free ecourse, Introvert Marketing Toolkit: 9 Strategies to Make a BOLD Impression Online, at ==> www.IntrovertMarketingToolkit.com