The Hidden Referral Source – Your Vendors
Everyone reading this article is in sales, right? So basically, we’re all vendors.
So far this week, I’ve had two experiences I’d like to share – one positive and one negative.
The Positive Experience
This afternoon, I got a phone call from a client/friend. In his travels, he ran into a borrower in need of a mortgage in a state he cannot service. So my client picked up the phone and asked me if I know anybody in a certain state. Fortunately, one of my favorite Top of Mind clients immediately came, well, to the top of my mind. So I referred this individual a nice, juicy, highly qualified deal. It was the easiest thing I accomplished all day. And the most enjoyable.
This client doesn’t spend a lot of money with Top of Mind, so it’s not a game of “tit for tat”. This client simply shows me tremendous courtesy and respect every time I interact with them. They are an absolute pleasure to deal with. When I call them, I don’t detect that hint of disappointment in their tone. You know the one, right? The one that says “I really wish you were a client calling me.”
The Negative Experience
We got a lead over the weekend on our website, and as it came in I happened to be on my home computer. I immediately emailed this individual to thank them for their interest and introduce myself. There’s no need to get into granular details about what happened (but if you buy me a beer at Mortgage Revolution I’m sure I’ll come clean). Suffice it to say that this loan officer (notice how I don’t use the term mortgage professional here) was purposely making me jump through hoops – for two straight days - just to pin down an appointment. We’ve all been through this, right? We can tell when someone is just wasting our time and when they’re legitimately busy.
Sometimes, people think that just because they might represent a “sale” it gives them authority to disrespect us. Maybe it’s because they’re getting disrespected by their clients? I don’t know, I’m not a psychologist.
Don’t treat vendors like second-class citizens – no matter how poorly your clients treat you. The right vendor will run through a brick wall for you - Top of Mind is just one of them. Not only that – vendors can serve as your “eyes and ears” on the street.
They are always down with what’s working out there – and more importantly, what’s not. Best of all, every once in a while vendors get to give back through referrals.
Take a moment and think about your vendor base. Is there anything they can do to help you facilitate more referral business? Does your CPA belong to a trade organization that will allow you to host a lunch & learn on the various tax initiatives on the table? Is your barber friends with any local real estate agents?
This one schmucky prospect really helped give me perspective on how awesome our clients are – and how it’s okay to walk away from bad business.