If the niche you serve is similar to you or your current life stage, you may literally have lists handed or emailed to you that are perfect prospects or influencers. Only these lists are not yet in your emailable database....they may be the soccer team's roster, your church directory, or the preschool class email list.
So how can you tactfully and clearly let these friends and acquaintances know what you do and how to refer you? Yes, there are the sideline comments or the picnic conversations. They may know you're a financial advisor. But how well can they explain to a friend what you do? How can you make sure the people you see every week can help you grow your business (without feeling uncomfortable asking them)?
The solution is easy: Prepare your "launch announcement."
Even if you have been in business twenty years, you can have a launch announcement. The objective of this announcement --- ideally sent through email so it can be forwarded --- is to let everyone you know understand what, specifically, you do. Here are a few guidelines to follow:
1. Have a reason for your announcement. Launch something. Launch a new web site, a new focus, a new office (include pictures), a new ebook, a new name, or a new partner. Relaunch your business after a hiatus (e.g. "I just returned form Sabbatical, and I'd love your help"), Whatever the reason, you want to position this announcement as noteworthy news, especially for people who do not know you as well. This way it will not come across as "send me a list of referrals, please." Rather, you're excited to share your news!
2. No Soliciting - Inform how to help. People want to help people, and it sure is handy if they actually know what you do so they can connect you with the right prospects. This email IS NOT a solicitation to get them to join your email list or to call you and schedule a consultation. You want to educate the reader on whom you help and what you do and directly ask for help.
Example: "I am contacting you because I need help getting the word out as I embark on this new path. If you're talking with someone who needs help, or you participate in a relevant online discussion forum where people ask for referrals, I would appreciate if you share my name."
3. Think Holiday Card List. Former and current professional colleagues, work acquaintances, friends, family and anyone else in your address book that would have a clue who you are are on the send list. In the case of the preschool or soccer list, pick out only the families you have interacted with and only email them. They can share with other families what you do if it matters.
If you have not "announced" yourself in a while, get creative and think about how you can. Then share the news! Keep in mind you may be sitting next to these people at the game next weekend. Make sure you feel good about what you send.