Have you ever had a call about a potential referral that sounds promising, but as you ask a few more questions of the referrer, it becomes clear that it's not something that fits your particular skills or interests, or it is just a total mis-match for your services? Isn't that a pain?
You have that initial surge of excitement at a new referral. Then, as you realise it isn't something you can tackle, you maybe even have that fleeting thought "well, I could give it a go" (especially if business is slow!), but you know in your heart it would be wrong, both for you AND for the client, so you have to respectfully decline.
Think, too, what effect this has on the referrer who has taken the time to call you to put this referral your way. How is your declining of their offer of a new piece of work likely to impact on their decision process next time they are considering who to send a new referral to. In most instances (hopefully), they will respect your integrity as a professional and accept that while the match was wrong before, that won't necessarily be the case next time. But it is also possible, for some, that they will look elsewhere, and you'll drop down their preferred service provider list!
But what else could you have done? It's wrong to accept a referral where you know the work is outside your area of expertise, so you've acted professionally and done the right thing. But could your integrity cost you work in the future?
Not if you prepare the ground better and make sure that, from the start of your engagement with your potential referrers, you work to educate them as to just what type of work you do and which types of clients you're best suited to working with. This is the "A for Appropriate" element of my "Get on their R.A.D.A.R" message.
Be clear from the start when marketing your practice just what it is that you do, who you work with, when and where, and make this explicit on your website and in your communications with clients and potential referrers from their first encounter with you. This way, you will ensure that the enquiries that come your way are more appropriate for your services and give you the opportunity to shine, meeting the clients immediate needs and boosting your reputation with your referral partners so that you see more and more work coming your way.
Go on, write down your preferred client criteria right now. Begin to explore how you can share this pen picture with your current referral partners, then build this detail into all your promotional efforts and see your practice grow with clients who you want to work with and for whom you know you can achieve the best results. How good will that feel?
For more ideas about how to grow your business, check out my Business Breakthrough Programme and learn how Mirror Coaching can help you get on your clients' RADAR more effectively.