Tell Me Why (Issue 611)

In which we are reminded to ask our referral sources WHY they are referring us to their colleagues or clients. 

My personal cell phone rang.  I answered: “Hello, it’s Nick.”  Pleasant and brief.

“Hi, Nick, this is Bob Smith with ‘Well-Known Insurance company’….”

(I’ve already concluded this call is a waste to be stopped.)

“… and one of your friends, Mary DiSilva, shared your name with me…”

(Thanks, a lot, Mary, remind me not to do YOU any favors!)

“…and suggested I call you because…”

(Can’t wait to hear this.  I am hanging up this phone.)

“…Like you, her kids are just finishing college…”

(OK, I’m listening, that’s true for me.)

“… and she found our discussion about insurance in the post-tuition paying, pre-retirement period of her life very helpful. What insurance to let go of, what to add or change, how much to spend…”

(Huh! … That IS a good issue…. I haven’t thought it.  Hmmm.)

“…She wasn’t sure that you’d want to discuss the issue now and, if you haven’t talked to someone about it, I’d be happy to put some structure around it and share some ideas.”

(Huh!  I haven’t talked to anyone. I probably should. I already have an insurance guy. Hmmmm.

It wouldn’t hurt to get some structure around it and hear some ideas.)

I replied: “Bob, thank you.  Mary is great. We’re about a year away from final tuition payments. I haven’t thought about the insurance issue.  Tell you what: I’ll ask Mary about her conversation with you.  Assuming that checks out, I’d like to talk. Call me back Tuesday afternoon.”

One point in Bob’s favor – When he asked Mary for referrals, he had also asked her “why,” at least where I was concerned. “Why are you suggesting Nick?  What’s going on in his life that’s similar to what we’ve been discussing, Mary?”  So, he communicated a clear and important reason to talk when he called. Yay, Bob.

One suggestion to Bob (and it’s always a little bit of a stretch):  Ask Mary to call Nick to introduce and endorse you, then coach her a bit, for example: “When you call Nick, Mary, you could say something like, ‘Bob has just helped me save some money on my insurance, now that the kids are through school’ and tell him whatever you’d like about how our conversations have gone.”  That could have saved Bob and me a step in the process.  Next time…

So… it’s likely Bob and I will talk. We’ll see where it goes from there.

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