Can I tell you what you really need to hear?
It’s this you don’t need nor do you want more cold leads, they simply fill up your inbox take up too much time don’t convert very well don’t pay very well. And they take the place, have you been able to get warm referrals flowing into your business, which is what you really want. Warm referrals converted at a very high level, your value is introduced to the client before they ever meet you. They’re willing to wait for you and pay for you.
The challenge, though, is how do you get more warm referrals, I’m going to share with you today a story that I learned as a high-end home builder that’s going to directly impact your business and the way you go about getting business in your specific industry.
Before I go there, I want to remind you that inside this channel, we’re going to be pouring tons of value into helping you to get more warm referrals and live a bigger life. So be sure and subscribe, like this video, and hit that little bell notification so you don’t miss out on anything that we’re getting ready to drop on you.
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It was about 15 years ago that I was the owner of a general contracting business that specializes in building luxury custom homes. I just purchased a book of business from my previous employer, who had moved his focus from high-end home building onto land development, and you need to put all of his attention there.
Now I wasn’t necessarily surprised nor overwhelmed or uncomfortable being in business for myself, even though it had come a little faster than I had predicted. In fact, my parents, both entrepreneurs that told me that if I really wanted to get ahead if I really wanted to have the life that I truly desired wanted, that it would be wise for me to own my own business. Again, that was the environment in which I was raised. And so this was natural, an exciting step for me.
So there I was 26 years old, a new wife, our first baby on the way and a four-year degree in construction management, and a general contractor’s license. And now my very own general contracting business, I was living the dream, right, what could go wrong? Well, in working for my previous employer, I had learned how to build a high-end custom home, how to manage projects, and how to often deal with the difficult challenges of managing client expectations. There was a lot to be learned in that experience. And I felt comfortable now with the mindset, the systems, and the processes to remain profitable and sane. Amidst all of these demands. I had a strong network of subcontractors or suppliers. And together, we built great homes, I felt like the world was my oyster. And I was on a fast track to living my life that I had wanted massive success. And the only thing between me and these big dreams was the simple task of keeping my pipeline full of new clients.
Now, maybe whatever profession you’re in, you felt that way too. Here I am, I’m licensed, I’m ready to go. Start like the business gonna start flowing in. Now, although I could deliver a great finished product together with remarkable client experience. I had misjudged one vital component of being in business for myself. And that component was I had underestimated the challenge of getting the new business of convincing prospective custom home clients for me at the time to entrust a kid like me with $2 million so that I could build them their dream home.
Now, again, maybe you feel that way as a real estate agent, insurance agent, wealth manager, that you have this large challenge of getting new customers trusting you now make special note that much of my competition had been in business as long as I’ve been alive. So these competitors had strong brand recognition, seemingly countless past projects, and plenty of client testimonials, it may be an understatement to say that I was at a severe disadvantage. And I kind of knew it. I wanted to work by referral, I knew that was the easiest way to get to where I wanted to be. But my family also wanted to eat and pay our bills that year rather than waiting until next year. So this thought of do I work warm referral? Or do I start pursuing cold-market to make it come faster? Really, the thought of soliciting high-end custom home clients also sounded like a bad idea. And so I thought, wouldn’t it be amazing if I could find a model that allowed me to work relationally, while also having more control over the pace at which the business came to do warm market yet trying to scale up fast? How does that possibly happen?
Now, this is where the upstream model comes in. This is what I talked about in my book. Now, as I shared previously have shared previously, the upstream model teaches how to get more referrals from fewer relationships. And that is precisely how the upstream model works. Common warm market methods teach you how to personally court, hundreds of people in your database, think about it maybe as a real estate agent or new insurance agent. Everybody you know is on that list, right? This typically leads to only a small handful of referrals, all these people, and a little bit of business. Now when I say personally, personally know these people, I mean your primary value is friendship. With value as a professional coming later, you’re really leaning on your personal relationships to get you to where you want to go.
Conversely, the upstream model teaches you how to create Professionally court only a small handful of upstream partners in your database, which leads to hundreds of referrals. Now, when I say professionally court I mean your primary value is business value with friendship coming later, the difference between traditional referral models and the upstream model is exactly that is one leads with friendship and then follows up with business value, right whereas in other it with the upstream model you lead with business value and friendship comes the upstream model couples, the pros of warm market lead generation models, right. So, for example, relationships, so we talked about where people are willing to wait for you they’re willing to pay for you, right, that’s the benefits of warm referrals. Now, a couple’s that with the pros of cold market lead generation, which is scalability, instead of the constant hunt to find the golden eggs in your market or even in your database, you will learn how to go upstream and gain favor with these golden geese. Okay, small database of professionals you’re offering professional value to, which produces a large number of referrals, the upstream model exposes the fact that while you may pour value into hundreds and hundreds of people, only a few of those people within that large database can and will reciprocate in the form of referrals to your business.
Now, while you spend lots of time and effort and make a lot of friends, you will come to realize that you are reaching out to help a lot of people who can’t or won’t help you in return. When those relationships into which you’ve invested time and resources, don’t produce a return or don’t produce a return that is consistent with the timeline that you needed to produce, then all of a sudden, it can be frustrating. Okay, so that’s the downside of a traditional warm market business, you pour all this time and all these people, you don’t get the return that you want. You may even find yourself resenting individuals who despite your best efforts, use a refer another agent, another professional.
So again, the key that I want you to remember is this cold market business is not going to get you to where you want to go, because you’re not edified, you’re not going to be well paid, you’re going to be easy to replace, you’re going to be a commodity, you’re not going to be well paid in that environment.
Now, the challenge with going warm-market is you’re going to spend a ton of time on a ton of people, you’re going to create a lot of friendships, which is great for your personal life, but not necessarily great for business. The way that I learned as a high-end home builder, to get more business coming in faster, was to focus on a very key, few numbers of people who could really benefit my business in big ways.
And rather than leading with friendship, I was going to lead with professional value, I’d be introduced to them, so they knew who I was, and then I was going to go to work on bringing big value to them and their business friendship would come later. As I said in the beginning, What you don’t want is a bunch of cold leads that are going to fill up your inbox, fill up your time and schedule and not convert very well or not converted a very good price point or margin. What you want are more warm referrals.
But again, the challenge is how do I get more warm referrals? Is it just embracing more and more and more people? No, it’s finding the right people is fighting upstream partners, people in the marketplace that are influential and they can be leading you to your next client.
If you’ve enjoyed these principles, know that these are principles that I teach directly in my book, the upstream model, there are links to get your copy of the book, and or even a copy of the Digital Course which will walk you through how to apply these principles in your specific industry.
And remember, Go Think Bigger!