What does your advocate need from you?
The purpose of having an advocate is to have them refer their contact/friend/business colleague to you. It is not for them to “sell” your service. That’s your job.
What’s the purpose of the brief, then? Is it to tell would-be advocates how to advocate? Or what to advocate? Is it about how advocates sent up advocacy relationships? I think it should be all of these things and maybe a small portfolio of documents might be better (it would allow to change one of them without reissuing the whole thing).
I suggest an advocate needs
However, it is really important that the advocate does not believe they have to give their contacts a lecture on your business. It is not for the advocate to persuade them to be your client or to educate them. It is for the advocate to encourage their contact to call and they do this by:
When a colleague advocated me to the training manager at a large NHS hospital, the latter asked, presumably out of the blue, “Do you know anyone who provides training in EI?”. He said:
“Talk. to. Jeremy. Marchant.” Four words. *
It was his standing in her eyes that made those four words credible enough that she “bought” me before she met me. Not only did he not explain why he said them, she didn’t ask, and there is nothing that he could have said additionally which would have improved the strength of that advocacy.
There is a very real risk that, by carrying on talking, the good work the advocate has just done starts unravelling.
I always say to (relieved) advocates, I am not asking you to persuade your contact to be a client. Or to teach them anything. That’s my job, if it’s anyone’s. However, the advocate may feel he or she needs the safety net of a brief, even though they rarely, if ever, end up using it.
People will decide to pick the phone up to you if they have had an experience which got them into their feelings. These would be feelings like relief that they may have been referred to someone who can help them. You want them to want to find out more; you don’t want them to want to be a client at this stage, because they cannot possibly have a good enough idea of what they would be buying without a decent conversation(s) with you. A brief could certainly tell people how to do that; but it would be best if it backed up a one to one conversation with you.
For people to advocate you, they will have had to have taken a decision to do so and that will l have needed you to get them into their feelings… and so it goes on.
Advocacy is not a thinking approach, though it may have some facts and figures in it.
* I wasn’t there of course, but I had this independently both from my advocate and from the training manager.
by Jeremy Marchant . © 2015 Jeremy Marchant Limited . uploaded 24 june 2015 . image: Free images