The Platinum Rule: Treat Others How THEY Want to be Treated

Lately, I’ve observed a few networking blunders occurring that have reminded me of the importance of what Tony Allessandra calls the Platinum Rule. Most of us are familiar with the Golden Rule (“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”), but to network effectively, you’ve got to be relationship-based, so you need to use the Platinum Rule–not only with your referral source, but also with the prospect.

There are three people involved in a referral: 1. You. You need to know how you work best and where your strengths and weaknesses lie.  2. The referral source. How does this person like to communicate? How does he like to be treated? If you want him to help you, you’ve got to treat him the way he wants to be treated.  3. The prospect.  How does the prospect like to be sold to?  What’s the best way to communicate with the prospect?

Strive to be adaptable and accommodate the behavioral style of your source when you’re working with him or her, and of your prospect when you’ve been put in touch with him. If you seek to find out how people want to be treated and then treat them that way, you won’t make the mistake of assuming everyone likes the same things you do. Looking for a fast way to destroy a budding relationship? Assume that your client or referral partner enjoys deep-sea fishing as avidly as you do and insist that he come along on your next Old Man and the Sea adventure. Then watch as he turns green and hugs the rail of the boat the entire day.

By learning about the other person’s goals, accomplishments, interests, networks and skills, you can establish the groundwork for a smooth-running referral relationship from the start.  All of these factors together will tell you the best way to communicate and what to talk about.

#1 Sales Article of 2008!

The Top 10 Sales Articles site, an initiative of The Sales Corporation , provides a single location where time-strapped sales leaders, sales professionals and publishers can locate the top sales articles published every week.

 

Each week The Sales Corporation selects the very best sales articles from the major article sites, which have been written by top sales experts from around the world. It culls through articles until it finds the 10 best pieces of sales advice, and then each Sunday it announces the Sales Article of the Week.  The weekly winners compete for monthly honors and ultimately the Top Sales Article of the Year.

In March of this year, salesopedia published an article of mine entitled “The 10 Commandments of Networking.”

The article was picked up by The Sales Corporation and it has been nominated, along with 11 other articles written by different sales experts, to compete in the running for the title of the #1 Sales Article of the Year.

To vote for The 10 Commandments… article or one of the other selections, please click on the graphic to the right:

 

If you voted, I’d love to hear what you thought of the article.  Please leave a comment below.

Create an Informative Newsletter

Think about the people you consider experts. They are known for sharing their knowledge through books, research papers, columns, articles and newsletters. Experts write. If you wish to be seen as an expert, consider writing an informative newsletter.

Of course, you don’t just sit down and crank out a good newsletter overnight. You need to think it through–and plan out many of its attributes well in advance. If you like the idea of a newsletter and want to use it to network your business, here are 10 questions to ask yourself:

1.  What will be the purpose of the newsletter?
2.  Who is the target audience?
3.  Why would my target audience want to read it?
4.  How will it benefit my audience?
5.  What features will it contain?
6.  Who will write the text?
7.  Will I use a professional to design the layout?
8.  How often will it go out?
9.  How will it be distributed?
10.  How will people sign up for it?

Your newsletter should be informative and educational so that it brings value to your audience and motivates people to read it. Also, unless you have a publishing or web design expert on staff, you should seriously consider outsourcing the production of your newsletter to a professional. Remember, your newsletter is an extension of your business, and it’s often the first thing a prospect sees of you.

Publishing a newsletter week after week or month after month is time-consuming and requires a strong commitment, but it can be a powerful networking and marketing tool. You want your audience to come to expect it–indeed, to look forward to receiving it–and that means you have to deliver it on time and deliver top-notch quality.  An expert produces nothing short of the best.

PR Helps Your Networking Efforts

Next to word of mouth, publicity is the most cost-effective strategy you can use to market your business.  It increases your credibility and helps you position yourself ahead of your competition–as long as it’s positive publicity, of course.

The main objective of publicity is to announce or inform.  Publicity is usually free; in most cases, you don’t have to pay to get your press release into the paper.  You (or a professional writer) draft the press release, but someone at the paper edits it and turns it into an article before it’s published.

There are many online resources available to teach you how to structure, design, and format your press release. When you’re ready to submit it, you can either use a distribution service such as PRWeb.com. or submit it to your community’s local publications yourself.

Networking your business is more than just going out and shaking hands; your business also needs to generate publicity to increase your visibility and credibility.  Professionals recommend that your business generate a press release once per quarter to remain visible in your industry and community.

For tips on writing a press release, CLICK HERE.

What Does It Take for You to Refer Someone?

At the BNI International Conference in Long Beach this past November, I had a great conversation with my business partner in the Referral Institute, Mike Macedonio (pictured to the right).  He was explaining why he feels there are only a few criteria that must be met to make people referrable by him.

The first criterion is that the individual is must be an expert at what he or she does.  He looks for people who have invested in learning their trade and continue to invest to master their trade.  Do they specialize in a certain area?  What achievements have they attained in their area of expertise?

Another one of Mike’s requirements is that the person is passionate about what he or she does.  This, especially, makes a lot of sense to me because if you’re not passionate about what you do, how could you expect other people to get excited about working on your behalf?

Mike’s last criterion stipulates that the person he is referring understands and honors the referral process.  More specifically, Mike wants to ensure that the person receiving the referral understands his or her number-one responsibility.  To quote Mike, “The number-one responsibility when you receive a referral is to make the person who gave you the referral look great.”  As long as the people Mike gives referrals to are doing this for him, Mike can remain confident that his reputation will be protected.  It also compels him to continue giving these people referrals.

Mike’s list of qualifications that make a person referrable is short, yet very powerful.  After discussing it, we both agreed that we should expect others to evaluate our referrability by these same criteria.  Are we invested experts, and do we continue to invest in our trade?  Are we passionate about what we do?  Are we practicing what we preach?  Do we make our referral sources look great?  I’m glad to say that I’m confident we both do all of these things.

So what makes people referrable by you?  I’m sure many of you have some great ideas in response to this. I’d love to hear them, so please feel free to leave a comment.

Become a Motivational Speaker for Your Business

Have you ever listened to a motivational speaker such as Jack Canfield, Brian Tracy or Zig Ziglar?  When you listen to any of them, you can feel the passion flowing through the presentation’s words, actions and images.  The hidden element behind a motivational speaker is passion.  Think about that.  What does that tell you about your own message?

Your personal challenge in networking is to have an extraordinary message that not only captures but also highlights your unique selling proposition (USP).  Your USP is what sets you apart from your competition–you can’t afford to be ordinary, like your competition.  Your message needs to be filled with passion.  If you are not excited about what you do, no one else is, either.  In word-of-mouth marketing, that could be disastrous.

So how do you tap into your passion and tie it into your daily message about your business?  You can capitalize on your passion and spotlight your uniqueness by specifically answering the following questions from your heart and not your head:

1.  What can you say about yourself or your business that your competition cannot say?

2.  How does your work fulfill you?

3.  What element of your work do you most enjoy, and why?

Never forget that one of the top 10 traits of the master networker is enthusiasm/motivation.  You, your sales force and your word-of-mouth marketing team are the motivational speakers for your business, but the message begins with you.

Social Capital Taught in College?

UniversityOfLaVerne

About a year ago, I posted a blog called:  “Networking, a Soft Science? Only to College Professors!”  OK, I’ll admit it–I was on a rant about how we don’t teach networking in colleges or universities.  But in my defense, there were many, many, people who identified with this frustration according to the numerous comments posted on that blog.

Today, I’m here to tell you that there may actually be a change on the horizon.  Yes, a university dean who believes that social capital is a relevant topic in business.  “Not possible,” you say?  Well, that’s what I thought, too, until I met Ibrahim Helou, the new dean of the School of Business & Public Management at the University of LaVerne.

Ibrahim "Abe" Helou

Ibrahim “Abe” Helou

As crazy as this may sound, he actually believes that emotional intelligence and social capital are relevant topics to cover in business school.  To make this even more amazing, Helou’s background is in accounting and finance. Wow, I don’t know what to say. This just shakes up my whole world view about academia.

According to Helou, business should focus on issues relating to long-term organizational sustainability.  He says that the “three pillars” of organizational sustainability are: people, planet and prosperity.

The “people” part includes long-term employment, social capital and empowerment.  The planet involves social and ethical responsibility and prosperity is about the long-term financial success of the organization.

Did you notice that “long-term” is a recurring theme here?  I did.  He believes that there has been an overemphasis on short-term profits to address monthly or quarterly revenue reporting in corporations.  This short-term view has helped lead us into some of the current financial issues we are experiencing today.

Well, Dr. Helou, I’m impressed, especially with your interest in social capital and emotional intelligence.  Now all you need to do is convince the faculty.  Let me know how that works out for you.  🙂

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