We decided to only serve clients based on what we do well. Clients who wanted something we cant do, we refer them out (even to competitors) because it’s just good for clients. Surprisingly, “rejected” clients loved this and started to refer more people to us. It’s simple but it works well for us:
There are many people in my industry or in any industries who talk relationships but frankly it’s really bullshit – many of them just want to make your sale, make the transaction and move on – they pretend that they care about you and the relationship when the reality is that all they want is the sale and its done
A personal story that happened to me, in physical therapy, so we serve orthopedic surgeons. There was a particular surgeon who was engaged by a prior therapist who was with us and who had left.
So there was this surgeon texted me and he was very nice, very charming, courteous saying that he had sent me a number of clients and he expects “some love back” if not he wont refer anymore.
I thanked him and told him that all his patients are served with good care and that we will do our best to send him, we have placed his profile on our website so that he can get more leads, but most of our cases are actually referred in by other orthopedic doctors and we cant send those to him
He stopped referring, and frankly I was happy to not work with him anymore
You see he contacted me
- not because he cared about me
- not because he cared us
- not because he cared the patients of his we that served well
- not because he cared or the business or the relationship
That wasnt important at all to him – I realized we were just a number on his spreadsheet, and it’s not a good thing. Clients and patients aren’t just numbers on spreadsheet, they’re people i care about a lot, and hence the philosophy has diverged a lot between mine and his.
If you actually care about building relationship then actually build relationships.
I remember when i first started out in private practice, it was important for me to be honest and consistent so when clients (both doctors and patients) came up to me and tell me they wanted me to do these A, B, C, D and E.
I would tell them I’ll do A and B as I am good with those, proficient in C but for D and E I’m not good at all they should see so-and-so for that who’s really good with that and I’ll be happy to partner with them.
This is a standard practice – we turn away and refer clients who dont need our services to people who can serve them better, even if they are our competitors.
The reason is because it’s the honest truth plus it’s good for the clients.
I dont want to hoard patients just so i can make money from them especially when i’m not proficient in what they need – my clients are people who trust me and im not going to betray their trust.
This philosophy has revolutionalized my life and my business.
It made clients want to do business with me and my brands even more. I think my clients like my approach because they dont have to second guess with me, I’m not posturing or inflating myself. They know what i was good at and what i can deliver.
Honesty just makes work and life so much easier and frictionless.
And we’ve all had that experience – where you wanna hire someone and they go “eh i’m not good with that, i’m good with this, here, you contact this person for what you need”
Let me share with you personal story – it happened to me recently, i’m looking for a place to rent because we need to move nearer to a school to get my son into the primary / junior school there.
And we have someone we know as a friend, who’s a real estate agent and we asked her to help us search for one that suits our needs and price. She said okay, and set out to search and will give us updates regularly.
A couple days later, she told me, Nigel, i give you a few contacts, and you contact the agents directly. Seems as though the market is hot and the landlord’s agent dont want to share with me.
What she is saying is that she is willing to forgo her commission but will continue help us look for a property to rent that suits our needs and budget.
What do you think that made me feel?
I feel that i can trust her even more to watch out for my interest, and all i want to do is for her to work with me and help me sort out my other property to rent out or to sell.
I know that she’s looking out for me.
And that’s what builds a relationship. Honesty and sincerity.
You know, honesty is such a hard thing to get especially in a transactional or numbers business. It’s so easy for people to just become a number in the spreadsheet.
And when you actually find an honest business, all you want to do is to help them build their business even though you may never work with them directly.
A lot of business owners who are short termed cant get this because it seems that honesty may seem to slow down your business in the short term, but if you are willing to be patient and consistent, you will build a raving fan base who love you and would refer their friends and family to you
They trust because you are honest first.
I’m the founder and writer here at NigelChua.com; as well as serial entrepreneur, therapy business entrepreneur, digital entrepreneur, investor and also happy husband, father and Christian.
Started and sold off a business for 7-figures; built another 7-figure one and growing it further, plus building/investing into other businesses and investments as well as advisory works.
Nowadays I share and teach entrepreneurship, financial independence, retiring early as well as building and living a life you love.
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