After years of writing articles for Travel Research Online I often ask myself, “Mike where do you keep coming up with new ideas?” The answer is always the same. “It is easy. Just look around.” And so it is. Today’s message comes to you thanks to a recent referral.
The “target” of today’s article works for an eye doctor. This article could just as easily be titled, “How To Punch Mike’s Hot Button Before The Day Has a Chance To Unfold.” The operative word here is “REFERRAL.”
As most of you tell me, referrals are the easiest and best way to grow your business without having to do much work (although I personally believe that referrals are more difficult than a lot of you think they are).
Here is my story: I was once referred to a particular doctor thanks to the fact I did not have an eye doctor I could call my own. This doctor came with high marks and as far as I knew, I was going to a certified, qualified “good guy.” It was a sunny morning on the day of my appointment, and I was lucky enough to have the first appointment of the day — 8:15 am. This meant that I would not be a player in the “hurry up and wait” game that doctors are famous for.
I found the office, parked my car and entered the building. Walked into the office and marched up up to the receptionist (remember, I was referred to this great place) when it happened. NOTHING!
To be fair and to give the receptionist the benefit of the doubt, I think I heard a noise coming from her direction, although it was hard to tell as she never did look my way. I am not certain but it kind of sounded like a garbled, “CanIhelpyou?”
This, I am ashamed to admit, is not a good way to impress a new, fresh, live, money-packing referral. This especially is not the way to greet ME. First impressions, so they tell me, set the stage for what is to follow…remember?
I came close, but contained myself, to doing what I could to make this particular woman wish she had completed her accounting courses and was holed up in some lawyer’s basement tallying her figures from the day before.
This may be the New Jersey coming out in me, but it is both simple and logical to bid a wallet-carrying new customer a “good morning” and actually mean it. I’ll say it again. I was a REFERRAL. Somebody had suggested I give this doctor a tumble, and in 3 nanoseconds this gal got me feeling like she was doing me a favor. Tin my world, this is affectionately called “shooting yourself in the foot.”
The good Doctor’s referral chain (as good as he may be) stopped that morning at 8:16 am…and it did not have to happen that way. I think I can stop right here. I think those of you who are still reading are getting my point loud and clear. (Those who stopped reading are probably out there shooting themselves in the foot.)
Referrals are good things. But the REFERRAL is just the beginning. Now the hard part starts: EARNING IT.
My wife just came in and read this message over my shoulder and reminded me that the Doctor was indeed good at what he did. I reminded her that people make judgment calls on the entire package, and that a firm’s receptionist “is” the company at point of entry. The fact that it is a common practice to make excuses for people’s behavior may be why service in America is as poor as it is. (Heaven forbid we say or do anything to get Susie or Jimmy upset.)
Proof of this human knee-jerk behavior surfaces daily with airline passengers. When a flight attendant comes up short, how many times have you heard, “I’m never flying this airline again.” I’m not here to defend human short-comings, but I am here to remind you that when you finally get something to work, don’t screw things up by shooting yourself in the foot. It simply does not have to happen.
Treat yourself good today and make your referrals glad they were referred. Why? Because referrals really are good things.
Mike Marchev has plenty of stories, strategies and tactics to keep you on top of your game.
Mike will be conducting his 5th annual Travel Sales & Marketing Business Development Cruise, sailing the Freedom of The Seas from Ft. Lauderdale. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org for complete details. Five cabins are still available.
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