FT 086: Lead with Generosity to Build Relationships with Esther Kiss
Esther Kiss is the founder of Born to Influence, a boutique publicity firm that helps her clients get featured on TV, newspapers, magazines, and top podcasts. In a sea of people all claiming to do the same thing, Esther stands out and gets noticed by both clients and the media that she gets them booked on.
Esther shares how she built up her business from very humble beginnings, why she’s able to connect with influencers, how to attract the right clients through referrals, how to qualify if a client is a great fit, and much much more.
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Esther shares with us:
Esther Kiss started a podcast with her partner to build relationships. A podcast was a natural place for her guests to promote their books and services allowing Esther to build connections by offering her guests value. Esther made friends in a strategic way.
She turned these relationships into clients by offering to help her guests get onto other podcasts to promote their work. At first, this was Esther's way of being generous and helping people out, but after a while, the people who she was helping out told her that she should be charging for this service, so she did.
Esther continued developing and elevating her network by giving back to each of the people she met. Her philosophy comes from Maya Angelou:
People may not remember what you did, or what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel.
Now, she acquires new clients through referrals through her network.
How to refer someone:
First, you need to be confident that the person you are referring meets your standards and offers high quality services. The success of the referral will reflect back on you.
You also need to make sure that you aren't sending someone a sales pitch. You are sending an introduction and building common ground for a relationship to build from.
If you are the one who is being referred, make sure that you have a short introduction blurb about yourself that is unique for each connection and how your mutual friend is related to the connection. This is not the place for copy and pasting. The goal is to build relationships and help them out before asking them to help you.
If you keep building relationships, you can build a referral network. Check out the resources section for a referral training manual to help other people refer you.
What if you don't know have a mutual friend with the person you want to meet?
A good introduction email is ideally made by a mutual friend. If that is not possible, then you can introduce yourself by specifically referencing an article or presentation that the person wrote/gave and how that relates personally to you: I read your blogpost about... and it really resonated with me because ...
The last line should be a call to action, a next step for them to take, often something like, let's get on the phone and chat. Similarity, if you receive a referral, the next step is to research them and then get on the phone.
So you pick up the phone and call them. The goal of the phone call is not to pitch them, it is to understand them. You should ask questions about what they are looking to do, where are they at, and what are their goals. Esther specifically asks her clients what sort of publicity they have had before and how did it work out, and what sales funnels they have in place to convert the publicity into leads.
The last question asking about their background processes is the qualifying question that Esther asks to make sure the lead is in the right place in their business to benefit from her services.
Esther is also careful to let the potential client talk and share what they are looking to do and what they have done before. She is not the one to bring up her services. She waits for the client to ask her for her advice and help. This technique allows her to build trust with the potential client and let her expertise sell for her rather than her selling directly.
Once you have become a friend of Esther's, she makes sure to stay in touch by sending articles or videos that reminds her of you or she thinks might be interesting to you, and she even sends out physical gifts such as gift cards to Starbucks, brownies, or and a book from Amazon. It is very important to keep the friendships warm.
If you are just starting out, Esther recommends looking at your own network right now and asking them to connect you to people who would use your service. Of course, start out generous and helpful by providing value to these connections before asking them to promote you and hook you up with leads. Esther also suggests making a dream list of influencers who you want to connect with so you can start building your network towards them.
Find Esther online:
- Born to Influence
- On Twitter @estherkiss
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