Build Consulting Referral Network

Beginning consultants schedule endless breakfast, lunch, and dinner meetings to talk about how they're going to make referrals to one another. And nothing ever comes of it. If you can't make referrals to someone, don't expect them magically to make referrals to you. It must be a two-way street. [I know . . . I know. Sometimes there are exceptions.]

In this case, I sat down with an employment attorney who was in a position to send me substantial business because he worked for major corporations. I could also make strong referrals to him. These are the notes we exchanged after a breakfast meeting.

From: Phillip Ashley
To: Bill Frank
Sent: October 15, 20— 11:27 AM
Subject: Thanks

It was great to see you this morning.  You look terrific and it sounds as though you have a lot of neat projects going.  As I mentioned, I will certainly do what I can to promote you and your organization to clients.  I hope that you will think of me if one of your clients is in the need for labor and/or employment law assistance.

Again, thanks for breakfast.  Let's not wait so long to do it again.
Next time, I'll buy!

From: Bill Frank
To: Phillip Ashley
Sent: October 15, 20— 02:12 PM
Subject: Phil, Great breakfast meeting . . .

Thank you, Phil. You beat me to the "thank you" card, but I was planning a similar note to you. It's always fun to see you and learn about life in your world.

As we left the breakfast table, you said you'd like to find out what we're doing, so you could make referrals. Here are three offerings to consider:

  1. Executive Coaching. When companies are pulling their hair out over senior management "people issues," we can achieve performance improvement and turnaround—or else quietly guide the executive(s) to the door and into a new career elsewhere.
  2. Mentoring. We're establishing a company-wide mentoring program for KPMG, where we train senior partners to mentor up-and-comers. This is transferable into any company, and it would work very well in law firms.
  3. Outplacement. Any company laying off one person, or 6,000 (as in the case of Coca Cola), is a potential prospect for us. My personal comfort level is with senior executives with complicated lives and careers.
Phil, I'd like to ask you to do the same for me. Please send me three ideas I can market for you. I'll pass them onto the staff, as well, and we'll direct some business your way.  

Best wishes, always,

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