One month ago today I was laying on an operating table having my labrum and rotator cuff repaired on my left shoulder. Typically after surgeries after this I get very creative partially due to all the thinking time I get done during the downtime and partially due to the purple elephants floating around the room caused by the narcotics. One of the companies that I work with in New York City had presented a challenge to me regarding their referral program. And while I was laying in bed with these purple elephants floating about the room I thought on this issue and several points of clarity came to me regarding moments of impact.

So frequently in life we run around, attempting to progress relationships at inappropriate times. Today I’d like to share Seven Moments of Impact with you. Watch for these moments and then use these times to advance relationships and opportunities in your business and your personal life.

Moment of Impact #1: A Return Customer 

When a customer comes back to order a second time this is a moment of impact that you need to treat with care and use it to advance the relationship. Oftentimes if you’re going to get a referral in your business this is the time to do it.

Moment of Impact #2: When a Customer Thanks You

When they thank you that is yet another opportunity to reciprocate and to get a referral or to ask for a deeper order or extend the relationship.

Moment of Impact #3: When a Mistake is Made

When there is a foul up on your part (or on their part) many companies and individuals run away and hide, but if you crack it (even if it’s not your fault) and hit it head on and directly address and discuss the problem this can actually deepen the relationship.

Moment of Impact #4: When There’s a Complaint

Opportunities to align come when your customer complains, when your child complains, or when your friend complains. This is your chance to connect on a deeper level and actually advance the relationship.

Moment of Impact #5: When You See the Customer in Public. 

When you see the customer or contact in a public setting typically one of two things will happen. You will either say, “Oh, I don’t remember their name!” and scurry to the other side of the room and ignore each other all night. What happens subconsciously in that situation is you’ve disregarded the relationship. Meeting in a public place is a real opportunity to deepen and advance the relationship and to actually get referrals and additional business even if you don’t remember their name. If you do happen to know their name then march right up to them. Look them in the eyes and greet them. Key moments of impact of moving forward or down is when you see them in a public setting to embrace them and engage them. I know you say, “Well, of course you do that.” You know what? Many people don’t.

Moment of Impact #6: When They Need a Favor 

Any time someone in a relationship needs a favor, whether a customer or personal friend then your reciprocating, going to Quadrant Three, opens and extends the relationship. It gives an opportunity for you to then ask for referrals or favors back from them.

Moment of Impact #7: When Your Customer is Having a Problem

When things are just cruising along in our lives we’re not as able to change and have impact. If you are attempting to win a new customer and you know that your customer is going through a challenge in their business (a financial challenge perhaps), in their personal life like an illness, or some other vulnerability then now is the time to be sensitive to that, to be aware of the problem, and to be there for them. This gives you an incredible opportunity to have impact.

Now the company I mentioned at the beginning of this post was attempting to deepen the relationship with their customers by putting a lead program in place. The tone they were taking with their customers went something like this, “Is there anyone you would like to refer to us?” 
Let me encourage your strongly not to do that. There are other, more appropriate ways to advance the relationship rather than a point blank, “Is there anyone you would like to refer to my business?” because the answer to that question is naturally “No.” Anytime you ask for a lead or a referral from someone you want to ask questions in a stage of three. The key is to get two yes’s before you ask for a referral. 
The first question could be something like; “I understand that you’re part of the Better Business Bureau Committee in your community. Is that right?” And they will naturally say yes. Then say, “I understand that’s a pretty powerful group of individuals that are really well aligned.” 
Their answer will be, “Yes, they are.” 
Now is the time to ask, “Is there anyone in that group that would benefit from my service?” You’re going to get a yes and lead them into that referral rather than just ask cold, point-blank, generic questions.

Today I want to challenge you to look for those little, brilliant opportunities of impact in your life and take advantage of them. The most revelatory of these is when there’s a problem it’s a great opportunity to deepen the relationship. Don’t miss those opportunities to use the Seven Moments of Impact.