Laura: Do not forget that the toes you step on today, could be connected to the hand you need to shake tomorrow.
Truer words have never been spoken.
I never cease to be amazed by how clients come to Tin Cans Unlimited. We work hard on new business initiatives all the time – and yet 98 percent of our new clients come from referrals. The two percent that did not come from a referral? They came because someone saw us speak at a business event.
My favorite referral of all time came several years ago, when I was working for another company. One day a well-dressed gentleman walked in off the street asking about website design. Although the company was located on Main Street, walk-ins were very rare – it simply wasn’t that kind of business.
The gentlemen asked for me by first name.
I chatted with him for a bit and explained how I might be able to help him promote his local, industrial business online. We shook hands and decided to work together.
As he was leaving, he told me how he’d heard about me/my company: from his brother.
Again – not too surprising. But as I was wondering who his brother was and how I knew him, he continued his story.
And my mouth fell open.
Turns out, his brother was a mentally ill veteran who was a resident at the halfway house about a block from my office. I would often see him in the mornings as I walked from the parking lot to the front door, and we would exchange smiles, sometimes chat about the weather or the news, or what I was doing that day.
He was a scruffy-looking older gentleman I knew as “Tommy the guy who sometimes hangs around the building in the mornings.” I didn’t know Tommy’s story or that he was associated with the veteran’s home. Sometimes I’d toss him one of my bananas – he could catch it with one hand. This would make both of us giggle.
Tommy’s brother visited him once a week at the house and one week was telling him about a new website he needed to have created. And Tommy told him about “the nice lady who makes websites who talks to me every morning.”
And a business relationship was born.
Is this a rare story – a rare example? Of course it is – I’m not suggesting that you begin soliciting business from folks on the street.
But it certainly confirms the old adage: it’s all about who you know.