Are you making it hard for your “Raving Fans” to recommend you?

If you do a great job for your clients and provide a remarkable experience, I’m sure they gladly suggest you when someone asks them for a recommendation in your line of work. While this is a great thing, how often do you think your clients and strategic partners are approached with this specific type of request?

In my role as “Personal CFO” for some of my clients at Washington Financial Group, if my only request for help is to ask them to think of me when someone asks if they know a good financial advisor, I would be making it hard for them to help me as much as they would like to. Sure, some of our clients and strategic partners are go-to resources for their network, so it’s common for people to ask them for referrals for all kinds of services. But I’m willing to bet that for the majority of our clients, there’s no particular reason why people would come to them for advice regarding our specific line of work.

Rather than taking a passive approach and letting the people in your network wait around to be asked if they know a good (fill in your occupation), you can be more proactive by making them aware of a variety of life or business circumstances where your service might be needed. This should allow for them to better identify an opportunity for recommending you.

Case in point. My world-class personal trainer, Roger Brown of Train Like A Pro, is a very personable guy who has intimate conversations with his clients every day. Heck, I sometimes feel like he doubles as my therapist given what I reveal to him about my life. Obviously, most of us would not think to ask our personal trainer if he or she knows a good financial advisor. But in the past six months alone, Roger has recommended me to three of his clients.

I opened the door to this by letting him know that a good prospective client for me could be someone who is looking to sell their business or transition to a new firm or career. My list of triggering events also includes buying a home, having a child, or being concerned about the health or finances of aging parents. I know his clients talk to him about all kinds of things. If they happen to mention any of the above, Roger knows he’s talking to a good prospect for me.

If you provide your clients and strategic partners with this kind of information – specific situations where you could be of value – they will be much better able to identify introductions for you. Based on your line of work, what are some of the events or transitions that could indicate a potential opportunity for you?



  1. by Andrew Freedman on March 13, 2011 at 2:56 pm


    Nice work on the first post!

    I could not agree more with your perspective on sharing triggering events that would make good opportunities for your network to think of you and how you can help their friends, business associates and acquaintances.

    Even more, when people have a deeper understanding of the situations that put you in a position to have positive impact, they will refer more often, feeling comfortable that they are putting their personal network in a position to gain benefits – a winning situation for everyone.

    Good stuff!

  2. by Derek Coburn on March 13, 2011 at 5:58 pm

    Thanks Andrew! You make some great points as well. Thank you for sharing.

  3. by Alan Glazier on March 13, 2011 at 6:04 pm

    Excellent post; the old adage “one happy client refers 3 new clients” applies, and in the internet era, one happy client can result in hundreds of clients – the reverse, one unhappy client can let hundreds, even thousands know so keep em’ happy! I have a chapter on social review in my book (link below) which digs down on this new “recommendation economy”

    Great stuff! Keep it up!

  4. by Derek Coburn on March 13, 2011 at 11:40 pm

    Thanks Alan- I’m looking forward to reading your book!

  5. by Roger Brown on March 14, 2011 at 2:38 pm

    Great blog Derek! Thank you for the mention. It is easy to recommend someone that deserves a recommendation. This is really good.

  6. by Carly on April 3, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    This is SO true. So many people one does business with really don’t KNOW all the different services provided. People often think I just work retail… truth I provide styling for events, personal shopping, closet cleanout services and so much more. Unless I take the time to communicate this to each and every client, it is a huge missed opportunity.
    Great post. This is great advice for ANY business professional. I am so excited for you and Melanie with this new adventure. If the posts continue like this one….myself and others will be hooked:)

  7. by Derek Coburn on April 3, 2011 at 7:43 pm

    Thanks Carly! You have another not-so-obvious trigger event that I have personally benefited from- husband who doesn’t know what to buy his wife for a special occasion! 🙂 I know I can call you to get some great ideas!


  1. Are You In The Right Place At The Right Time? | cadre DC
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