How to Create a Spectacular Life

Last week, I posted a video where my friends and partners in the Referral Institute® and I offered our individual thoughts on how to create a truly amazing business.  Today, I’m following up that video with this one where the four of us talk about what it takes to create a spectacular life.

Watch the video now to learn about what each one of us views as an essential key in establishing the ultimate, ideal life which you have always envisioned for yourself.  We also offer specific, actionable steps you can take toward achieving your unique version of a spectacular life, so make sure to watch the video the whole way through.

After watching the video, we’d love to hear your thoughts on the ideas we shared, and we’d also love for you to share your own ideas on this topic within the comment forum below.  Thanks so much for watching–we’re looking forward to hearing from you!

 

How to Create a Truly Amazing Business

I recently had the opportunity to get together with my partners in the Referral Institute® (Eddie Esposito, Mike Macedonio, and Dawn Lyons) to discuss a really interesting concept: What exactly does it take to have an amazing business and a spectacular life?

So, we decided to do a couple of quick videos to share our individual ideas surrounding this concept.  In today’s video, each one of us shares both a key idea and a surefire action step (to implement that idea) which we believe are crucial in developing an amazing business.

What I really appreciate about our discussion here is that each of us contributes our own unique and specific piece of insight, so the gamut of advice shared within this brief video is actually pretty comprehensive being that there’s such an element of diversity within our individual comments.

After watching the video, please share with us in the comment forum below your own thoughts on what it takes to create an amazing business.  And, be sure to check back next week to watch the subsequent video we filmed which will address what it takes to create a spectacular life. 

Are You a ‘Cave Dweller’?

The concept of being a cave dweller stems from the idea that we wake up in the morning in a large cave with a big screen TV, we go out to our garage, get into a little cave with four wheels, we drive to our other big cave with computers, stay there all day, get back into the little cave, drive right back to the large cave, and we don’t get out and connect with people.

In this video, filmed at a recent Referral Institute® Conference, my good friend Mike Macedonio explains the ‘Cave Dweller Reality Check Sheet’ which you can use to make an hourly break down of your day in order to determine whether you’re spending too much time cooped up at home or in the office.  Mike recently filled out the sheet and his results gave him the eye-opening realization that even as a referral marketing expert, he was still falling into the trap of being a cave dweller!

So, watch the video, make your own Cave Dweller Reality Check Sheet, and find out whether or not you’re taking enough time out in the world to meet others, make real connections, and make a conscious effort to grow your business.  I’d love to hear your results so please come back and share them in the comment forum below.  Thanks!

In this video,

‘More Money Mondays’–FREE Referral Tips to Shorten Your Work Week

At a recent Referral Institute® Conference, I had the opportunity to talk with my good friend (and partner in the Referral Institute), Mike Macedonio, about a fantastic new (and completely FREE) service which is available to businesspeople and networkers across the globe.  It’s called ‘More Money Mondays’ and by signing up for the service you get weekly referral marketing tips delivered to you via e-mail each Monday which will help you learn how to simultaneously build your business and make your work week shorter and more enjoyable.

Watch the video now to get all the details on this exciting new service and CLICK HERE or go to www.MoreMoneyMondays.com to sign up for your FREE weekly referral marketing tips.  If you’re already utilizing ‘More Money Mondays,’ I’d love to hear what you think of the service it provides–please leave your thoughts and feedback in the comment forum below.  Thanks!

What Does It Take to Achieve Referral Success?

A while ago, I met with my business partner in the Referral Institute, Mike Macedonio (pictured below), and as we were discussing what it really takes to drive your business by referral, one of the first things Mike mentioned was that the first core competency of referral success is the need for correct knowledge.  It didn’t surprise me that Mike would start with this; after all, we co-authored Truth or Delusion–Busting Networking’s Biggest Myths which directly adresses what works and what doesn’t work in referral marketing.  In the book, Mike paraphrases Mark Twain’s statement about having correct knowledge, which appropriately says something to the effect of, It’s not what you know that will stand in the way of your success as much as what you know which isn’t so.

mike-macedonio

The second core competency in successful referral marketing is to stay engaged with your referral marketing plan.  This is harder than it sounds.  Many referral marketing concepts are counter intuitive.  It’s like telling a driver to turn into a skid.  This is not the natural reaction.  Even when the driver understands it’s in his best interest to turn into the skid, it’s only when he does it that he learns how it actually works.

Referral marketing is the same way.  When we’re going out looking for more business, it’s natural to look for qualified prospects and approach them.  However, referral marketing shows us that we will be even more effective if someone who has a credible relationship with the prospect sent them to us.  We understand this is in our best interest, however it may not be our natural reaction.

So, how do you get the business owner to network in a way that may not come naturally? Some of the solutions Mike and I discussed are to:

*  Stay connected to blogs and podcasts on networking
*  Participate in networking groups
*  Get involved in ongoing referral trainings

The first two core competencies, obtaining correct knowledge and staying engaged with your referral marketing plan, apply to any personal or professional development programs and it is important to keep in mind that though they may be “simple,” they’re not “easy.”

The third core competency, implementing a system to train your network on how to refer you business, is the missing piece that most business people do not have in place to create referral success.  No matter how brilliant you are in referral marketing, or how skillful you are in “leaning into the punch,” if your referral partners are inadequate your results will be insufficient.

Mike gave a great football analogy for this.  He said, “What if Tom Brady, one of the most successful quarterbacks, were to get on the field with a team that was lacking skills and knowledge of the game?  Tom Brady would be throwing perfect spirals to players who can’t catch and don’t know their assignments.  It wouldn’t take long for Tom to recognize that he’s better off just keeping the ball and running.  This could be equated in business to direct prospecting.  It is hard work for short yardage.

So, what can we learn from this?  That if you make the three core competencies a priority, you will not only be on the right track for referral success, you will also be gaining much more “yardage” from your efforts!

What has your experience been and/or how do you think you can apply these ideas to your business?

What Makes Someone Referrable?

I had a great conversation a while back 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 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 can 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.

The 3 Networks You Need to Join If You Haven’t Already

In the book Room Full of Referrals (click here for the paperback edition and click here for the Kindle edition) which I wrote with Tony Alessandra and Dawn Lyons, we talk about the Top Ten Referral Marketing Basics and number one is:

RfOR

Belong to Three Different Networks

  • A Service Network like the Rotary Club, for example.  Service clubs are devised for just that, to provide service to an organization.  Your main reason for joining a service clubwould not be to gain business.  Most people truly believe in what the organization is doing and have a passion for it.  While your main goal is to serve the community or organization, you will also be building relationships and, yes, business may come to  you through this group.  However, it should not be your main reason for joining.
  • A Casual Contact Network, like a Chamber of Commerce.  Casual networks provide a way for you to meet a larger amount of people at one time.  There are less restrictions with this group, and they mainly do large mixers.  A key benefit to the casual contact networks is that you can meet people who would be good referrals for your referral sources.  Having a large sphere of influence is important in your being able to give lots of referrals on a regular basis.
  • A Strong Contact Network, like BNI. Strong contact networks like BNI provide exclusivity.  For example, only one person per profession is allowed to be part of the group.  They also incorporate more structure and commitment from their members, which in turn greatly increases the amount of loyalty and participation.  These groups are designed to gain referral business.  The key is to only belong to one of these types of groups to ensure follow-through, commitment and loyalty.

When you create a strong referral network, you’ll want to be able to give lots of referrals to them as well.  You’ll need a wide sphere of influence within which you have substantial credibility, so as they need things in their life, you can refer them.  It’s as Referral Institute® Partner Mike Macedonio states in the book:

“It is not just the breadth of the relationships that you have, it’s the breadth and depth of the relationships that are the most important.”

Being involved in three different networks will give you breadth–all you have to do is create the depth! 

What are you going to do this week to expand your networking involvement to include all three networks and to deepen your relationships?  Please share your thoughts in the comment forum.

A Closer Look at What Networking Really Means

Back in October, I posted a brief video in which Dawn Lyons, Mike Macedonio and I discuss the new definition of networking (Click on the graphic below to view the video.).  Today, I’d like to provide much more detail and further clarification regarding this new definition.

Twenty years ago, I wrote a book called The World’s Best Known Marketing Secret. In it, I discussed several terms new to the business community, specifically about how they could help grow a business.  One term that seemed to have multiple meanings concerning business growth was “networking.” For some, networking was about compiling a huge database of names, usually by collecting business cards. Others saw networking as the opportunity to get in front of people and personally prospect for business. Still others perceived networking as nothing more than schmoozing and boozing, with no specific intention except to be seen and socialize.

So in an attempt to streamline the myriad of perceptions about the concept of networking, and based on my experiences in a variety of business and interpersonal situations, I concluded that networking was, in effect: “The process of developing and using your contacts to increase your business, enhance your knowledge, expand your sphere of influence or serve your community.”

This definition stood the test of time for many years, until. . . it didn’t.  Since then, I co-founded an organization called The Referral Institute with two partners, Mike Macedonio and Dawn Lyons. Based on our collective experiences in helping people across the U.S. and around the world build a system for getting referrals, we realized that the definition of networking needed to evolve. The new, updated meaning would reflect the changing times and business climate.  There were definitely some truths in the original definition that needed to be retained, but a few just no longer felt right.

One we wanted to address was “using.” Today, this sounds rather harsh, even cold. People today tend to find a negative resonance in the concept of “using” someone for personal or professional gain. The other word we scrutinized was “contacts.” The term has become synonymous with one’s database. And a database is, by design, impersonal, practical and, again, rather cold.  After many discussions about modifying the definition, we came up with what I feel is a much truer representation of the concept of networking:
“The process of developing and activating your relationships to increase your business, enhance your knowledge, expand your sphere of influence or serve the community.”

The changes may seem small, but they are significant. When one “activates” relationships, it’s a much more dynamic, interactive, give-and-take type of engagement with others than simply “using” the relationships. Using is a one-way street, while activating is a major two-way highway. It’s just much more powerful, more true to who we are – or need to be – today, if we want to succeed at truly engaging with our relationships. People who network in this way show markedly better results than the “users.”

About the paradigm shift from “contacts” to “relationships:” For many years, I’ve talked about the “hunting versus farming” mentality when it comes to growing a professional network. The “hunters” run from one business event to another, grabbing and passing business cards with very little interaction past that, diligently add the card to their database (read: “contacts”). Then they run out again in search of more to add to the ever-growing list. The bigger the list, the better they’ve “hunted” and, in their often-misguided opinion, the better their “network.”

But let’s think of the farmers, the ones who cultivate steady, growing, genuine and authentic relationships with the people they feel are important to include in their network. They have a steady back-and-forth of interactions that benefits not only them. Everyone involved is rewarded. Why? Because the time taken to really get to know people enough to make a relationship means that when it comes time to make a referral, it’s much easier to call upon them.

By simply changing a couple of simple words in my original definition, we were able to fine-tune it into what we believe is the true meaning of effective networking. Our revised definition is much more congruent with the style of networking we teach every day, and what we know really works.

To be successful with business networking, you should understand that it is really about helping others as a way of growing your business. The people you help are more willing to help you or connect you to people they know. So in essence, networking is part of the process you go through to build a referral-based business. Through networking, you can deliver your positive message effectively. Referrals are the end result.

The NEW Definition of Networking

In this video, I’m joined by my partners in the Referral Institute®, Mike Macedonio and Dawn Lyons, and we discuss the definition of networking.  Twenty years ago, I wrote The World’s Best Known Marketing Secret and in it I gave my definition of the word “Networking.”  Times have changed since then, however, and Dawn came to me with two suggestions that give “Networking” a new, updated meaning.

Based on Dawn’s suggestions which we discuss in detail in the video, the NEW definition of Networking is:

“The process of developing and activating your relationships to increase your business, enhance your knowledge, expand your sphere of influence, or serve the community.”

After watching the video, let us know your thoughts on the definition of networking.  Do you have a different definition, or any feedback on what may be missing from the new definition of networking that we’ve provided here?  We’d love to hear from you so please leave your comments in the comment forum below. Thanks!

What Does a Mountain Bike Have to Do with Networking? A Lot, Actually . . .

In this quick video, Referral Institute® Partner & President Mike Macedonio, who is also a good friend of mine and an avid mountain biker, explains an excellent metaphor he came up with about mountain biking and networking. 

Not only does Mike do a great job of explaining how aspects of mountain biking are very similar to networking, he also manages to do something that’s quite remarkable . . . he talks me into getting on a mountain bike ! 😉

After watching the video, ask yourself about your own networking group–does it have all the key components to function and gain momentum like a well-built, lasting mountain bike?

Also, I’m really interested in hearing any networking metaphors you’ve come up with during your networking career--I’ve heard some very creative ones over the years and they always get me thinking so I love hearing new ones.  Please share your ideas in the comments section . . . who knows? . . . I might just be asking you to do a future guest blog!

The World’s Best Known Marketing Secret–4th Edition

The first edition of my book The World’s Best Known Marketing Secret, which details how to build business by referral, was released back in 1994 and went on to become an international bestseller.  I am excited to announce that the 4th edition of the book was just published and my co-author Mike Macedonio and I have substantially rewritten the book and added a significant amount of information.

Here is just a brief sample of what is outlined in the new book:

  • The best way to grow your business
  • Referrals and referral marketing, networking, word of mouth, buzz, and viral marketing
  • Networking vs. direct prospecting
  • Communicating your brand
  • Making your network stronger
  • Fifteen ways to promote
  • Forecasting sales from referrals
  • Tracking and evaluating results
  • And much, much more . . .

If you’ve read any of the other editions of The World’s Best Known Marketing Secret, I invite you to leave a comment here letting me know what some of your top takeaways from the book were; and, of course, if you’ve had the opportunity to read an advance copy of the 4th edition of the book, I would absolutely love it if you would leave a comment about what you think of it!

The new 4th edition is not yet available on Amazon but you can get an advance copy of the book now by CLICKING HERE.

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