The best referral efforts I’ve seen happen by design, not by accident or wishful thinking. Many business people view referral generation somewhat like the weather: “Sure, it’s important, but what can I do about it?”
Referrals and business networking efforts can be planned and nurtured. Anyone, including business owners, entrepreneurs, sales representatives, staff employees, even individuals serving in a volunteer capacity in any field, can accomplish plenty with a well-structured and systematically executed referral plan for a business.
All too often I have seen business people waiting for business to walk through the door. They think because they are good at what they do, people should be flocking to them. I’m afraid the truth is, it doesn’t work that way! You have to take charge, no matter what business you’re in or how good you are, and bring the business in to you.
I once saw a cartoon strip of two large, ravenous-looking vultures perched on a tree limb, overlooking a dry desert plain. After quite a while, one vulture turns to the other and says, “Wait for something to die? Hell, let’s kill something!” So it is with referral marketing. You can’t simply wait for people to come to you. If you do, one of your competitors who also provides good customer service will most likely find them before they show up at your door-step. If you want to succeed, you have to go get your business, or better yet, have someone else get it for you through referrals.
So . . . don’t wait around. Do something! Think of three things you can do this week to actively strengthen your referral marketing efforts and please feel free to share your ideas in the comment forum below–you never know whom your great ideas might help!
Over the past few weeks, I’ve posted blogs on how embracing quality, adding members, and seeking engagement are all things that will help networkers and entire networking groups achieve success. Today, I’d like to talk about an additional tactic for obtaining stellar networking results–sharing stories.
Listening closely to the information shared by those in your referral network will help you in telling positive stories about them when you come across potential opportunities to refer them. Conducting regular one-to-one meetings with each of your networking partners will also help you become more able to share stories when you refer others to them. Think about your many positive experiences with your fellow networkers and write them down.
The key here is that a good story compels people to take action and that this action transforms or helps them in some way. I always try to re-live a story, not just re-tell a story. Make it sound fresh and alive. That is an important aspect of storytelling.
Remember that facts tell, but stories sell. If you want to build your network in order to generate more referrals, overlay storytelling on top of your efforts.
The keys to success within networking groups which I’ve previously posted blogs about (embracing quality, adding members, seeking engagement) can combine with sharing stories for a powerful formula that will help members of networking groups obtain optimum networking results and business growth:
3+1 = Member Success
+1 Share Stories
Understanding this formula can improve your business networking success in amazing ways.
If your networking group already employs this formula, I’d love to hear about the impact it has made on your group’s performance and results. Please share your feedback (and stories) in the comment forum below. Thanks!
In this video, I talk with my good friend and partner in the Referral Institute, Eddie Esposito, about a very interesting concept he helped develop which I’ve never before mentioned on this blog site–Emotionally Charged Connection.
Many people are not conscious of their Emotionally Charged Connection, yet it’s the reason we get up in the morning and do the things we do every day. It’s driven by the heart, not the check book or the head–there’s a big difference. Once you become conscious of this Connection, you are able to understand and more effectively apply five important elements of success which we talk about in the video: Vision, Mission, Goals, Strategy, and Action.
After watching the video, if you’d like to learn more about ways to develop your emotionally charged connection with your prospective clients, go to www.ReferralInstitute.com and locate a franchise in your local area or call the Referral Institute main line and they will be happy to direct you to where you can get more information.
Peter Guber, Chairman and CEO of Mandalay Entertainment, has a powerful new book coming out on March 1st called Tell To Win.
This book is not only an extremely interesting read, it is also an important resource for networkers in every part of the world. Peter is a master storyteller and, with this book, he teaches readers how to achieve success in business and life by connecting with people and engaging them on an emotional level through the power of stories.
I met Peter at one of his storytelling symposiums which he conducted in preparation for this very book and, I can assure you that if there is one person in the world with the expertise to teach others how to change lives through the power of stories, it’s Peter. Tell To Win offers dynamic storytelling techniques that are greatly beneficial in a face-to-face networking setting. Below I have pasted an excerpt of Peter’s words, specifically discussing the importance of telling your story in a face-to-face environment. If you find this material useful, which I have no doubt you will, I strongly encourage you to pick up a copy of Peter’s new book. Learning how to connect with others through storytelling is an ability that will continue to serve you well throughout your entire lifetime. It is an invaluable skill that you will be endlessly grateful for obtaining and, as you can tell from Peter’s words below, he is the ultimate teacher.
The highest and best use for telling purposeful stories in the room, face-to-face, breathing the same air and reading each other’s micro-expressions–something you can’t do in any other medium. In writing my new book, Tell To Win, I conversed with the foremost folks in technology–people like Chris Kemp, chief information officer at NASA Ames Research Center, Phil McKinney, the chief technology officer at Hewlett Packard, Arianna Huffington, founder of the Huffington Post, and many others–and asked them if digital or state-of-the-art technology could replace what I call state-of-the-heart technology. Their response was an overwhelmingly consistent “not at this time.” In fact, Arianna said it best when she asserted in front of one of my masters UCLA classes (I’ve been a professor at UCLA for over 30 years), that the more time we spend in front of screens, the more we crave the intimate in-person interactions where we tell our stories to realize our dreams. And, she didn’t stop there! She exhorted my students that if there’s something incredibly important upon which everything depends, you always want to be in the room.
You can’t yet duplicate the same effects of telling oral stories in the same room, breathing the same air, pressing the flesh. However, many of the critical elements of telling purposeful stories work in other mediums. Always motivation comes first which starts with you–your intention. This authenticity must shine through. The trick is not to try to be interesting, but to be interested–know what your audience is interested in and deliver what’s in it for them. All good telling of stories has a goal–the action you want your listener to take. Don’t hide it. Interactively engage your listener, your audience, so it’s not a monologue, but a dialogue. It is a conversation in which the telling becomes a “we” experience rather than a “me” experience. A critical marker is the willingness of the teller to surrender proprietorship over the story so the listener can own it and viral market it as her own. The story content is lurking everywhere–first person experience is best, but equally powerful is an observed event, a movie/book/artifact, or even a metaphor or analogy.