Referrals are all around us. Are you paying attention? You are standing in the middle of a room full of referrals.
Referrals are all around us, it’s just that we’re not paying enough attention to what’s going on in order to identify them. You see, there’s a part of our brain that’s called the Reticular Activating System. It can be described as a filter between our conscious and our subconscious mind. Your subconscious screens out things you determine that aren’t important and it alerts you about things you think are important. Therefore, understanding how it works can be a great tool to recognize the daily referral opportunities surrounding us.
Standing in a Room Full of Referrals
Watch the video now to learn not only about the Reticular Activating System but also about another powerful tool which I call the “Language of Referrals”. After watching the video, you will likely begin to remember times when your Reticular Activating System was in full effect. However, you just didn’t realize it at the time. You may also remember instances where you’ve clearly heard the language of referrals in conversations with people.
I’d really love to hear about your referrals experience with one or both of these things so please share your story/stories in the comments below. Thanks!
People often ask me, “how can I get back in touch with people or stay in touch with people that I haven’t seen or spoken with recently?”
If you want to connect or reconnect with others, do what is best for you, but go to where these people want to meet with you. So, here are seven strategies that will help you improve in this area — now. If you can’t do them all — do what works for you.
Don’t be a cave dweller. Please watch this video
1. Sort through your list.
You can’t stay in touch with everyone. Who do you want to make sure to stay connected with and why? It could be personal, it could be professional, but create a list that you want to focus on.
2. Use the system they use.
It doesn’t have to be Facebook or LinkedIn — use Pinterest or other programs, Snapchat, What’s App — whatever they use. Each of my children use different systems. If I want to connect with them — I need to go where they are. For my oldest daughter, it’s texting or a phone call. My second daughter, it’s What’s App or texting. For my son, it’s an online game called Steam. I have some business associates who only reach out to me on Facebook or LinkedIn. Others are strictly emailed. The key here — is to go where the people you want to talk to, hangout.
3. Use social media platforms.
Use social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter to your advantage by sharing news and reading updates without having to reach out to people on an individual basis. Social media is fantastic. Instead of starting your next call with, “What’s new?” you can jump to, “You cut off your hair!” “You have a new job!” If you need help with this, contact Brian Bentzen, my social media coordinator.
4. From time to time, use snail mail.
Yes, OMG, send a letter or a card. It’s so “old school” and it’s almost guaranteed that someone will read it.
5. Skype or other instant message systems.
I’m not a big fan but — it’s not about me, it’s about the other person. What are they using? I see many people using messaging systems online? If you want to stay connected, connect where they are.
6. Periodic phone calls.
I know, crazy idea, actually talk to people. Your smartphone has a green button — use it. If appropriate, set up regular calls. My wife and her sister have done that for many years.
7. Face to face.
Don’t be a “cave dweller.” Nothing beats actually meeting someone face to face and having a conversation. You have to eat breakfast and lunch every day, so why not do this a few times a week with a good referral partner? You can kill two birds with one stone by strategizing with your referral partner about how to help each other over a meal.
Benign neglect is a horrible thing when it comes to building social capital. Start today to stay in touch. Pick a few of the techniques I listed above and “touch” someone. You have to start by making a commitment to improving in this area. If you haven’t been good at this in the past, start to focus on improving today. I would love to hear any more that you might have. Do you have a strategy to add? Or an example of how you use one of the seven? Share it in the comments.
Imagine you’re at a networking event. You are mixing and mingling and start passing out your business cards like candy. Suddenly, someone hands it back you and says, “No thank you, I do not need your business card.” This actually happened to a BNI Member. He wrote to me, astonished, and asked what I would do in his situation. Well, here’s my answer.
A business card is a tacit invitation to make a future connection. How you handle that connection afterward will determine how responsive your new contact will be. So be respectful of what you do after someone gives you their card.
You should always have plenty of business cards with you. It still amazes me that people go to networking events and knowingly don’t bring cards with them. I recently read a blog where many people said they didn’t bring cards so that they wouldn’t get spammed by people they meet. Really? Have they never heard of a spam filter? I use it regularly with unwanted spam. Besides, that argument is like saying I don’t want to advertise because someone might read the ad and cold call me? What kind of logic is that? Buck-up, dandelion, bring cards. It is a “networking” event!
The ideal scenario is to have a meaningful (even if brief) conversation with someone where they ask for your business card (how to do that is an entirely different blog). However, that doesn’t always happen. When it doesn’t, it is still ok to offer your business card to someone. There is nothing wrong with that.
Refusing to take someone’s offered card is just plain bad manners. What do you do if this happens to you? Realize that some people just have little or no people skills and move on to someone who does.
When planning your weekly networking presentations, lead with your LCD’s.
It is very important to be prepared to introduce yourself by breaking down your business into your LCD’s (Lowest Common Denominators). Each week, create a business educational curriculum to train your sales force to focus on just ONE aspect of your business.
For example, each week just focus on one LCD’s :
– A service
– A product
– A benefit
When you want to nail a presentation, start by explaining your lowest common denominators, or the most immediate, universal value of your business. Your LCD is your secret weapon. What are the various “keywords” others would use to search for you online? These keywords are your LCD’s.
Click on the graphic below, or click here, to see this video. Learn more about developing this training approach for your weekly presentations.
How intelligently collaborating with your competition can vastly improve your business.
While counter-intuitive, partnering with your competition may be among the best ways to grow your business. By intelligently creating a partnership with someone who you would otherwise work against, you can combine your client bases and maximize return on your investment. However, you never know what kind of positives can come from what may otherwise seem like a negative.
Watch this video
In this video, I discuss how to deal with competition in business. This is a part of what I call the “Ivanisms Series”, all of my personal quotes and phrases and why they have worked for me. Therefore, please watch this video to understand what Ivan means.
The value of collaborating with your competition
I was doing a seminar about how it is possible to increase your business by cooperating with your competitors.
A man sitting in the audience argued passionately about not consorting with the competition. We were having a pretty lively debate when an older member of the audience stood up to weigh in.
The story he told made a believer out of everyone else in the room:
I’ve been in the investment business my entire professional career. A few years ago, I was courting a company for an investment package that included retirement and more. It was huge — one of the biggest projects I had ever worked on. Spending weeks getting to know the client’s intricate needs and putting together a comprehensive package, the client told me they were going with someone else.
Therefore, I was just gobsmacked, completely shocked. After I caught my breath, I asked him who he had chosen. It turns out he was giving it to a competitor in his mid 20s. This kid had no experience and yet, here they were giving him this monster project. I felt like I had spent enough time with the client to ask him why he would choose this person over me and my package. He looked at me and said, “You want the honest-to-goodness truth? It’s my brother in law, and my wife will go crazy if I don’t give him the business. However, I do trust him, but I know he hasn’t got the experience you have.”
In my entire professional life, I had never done what I did next. In my area of business, it’s usually dog-eat-dog, but I called the kid and congratulated him. I told him I knew a lot about the company and if he ever needed anything, I was happy to help.
The kid’s voice literally jumped out of the phone. He said, “I’m from a wealthy family, but I really have no idea how to manage a project this big. I’m connected and I have four more deals just like this one, and I don’t know how I’m going to get it all put together. Could we partner up? In conclusion, I know I can get even more deals like these, but to manage it well, I could really use your help.”
We did just that: partnered up. And that kid is a rainmaker. We have worked on so many deals, all of them the same size or bigger than that original one I thought I lost. Therefore, I made more money than I had ever made before by calling up my competitor and offering goodwill and advice if he ever needed it.
Therefore, as you might suspect, the young man in my audience had a change of heart after hearing this story.
Will this happen every time you try to work with a competitor? Of course not. But it will never happen if you don’t reach out.
What are some effective ways you’ve been able to collaborate with competitors? Let us know in the comments below.
My solution on how to deal with competitors is simple: Don’t pay attention to competitors. Success in business is about constantly improving your product or service, team, and culture. If you focus on these aspects, you’ll improve your position in the marketplace.
Focus on the fundamentals of your business. Keep up with metrics and constantly share your organization’s core values. These are a few ways that you can improve your business. But whatever you do, don’t obsess over what competitors are saying about you. If you keep bettering your own business, you’ll have no need to fear your competitors.
“The competitor to be feared is one who never bothers about you at all, but goes on making his own business better all the time.” – Henry Ford
Watch this video
In this video, I discuss how to deal with competition in business. This is a part of what I call the “Ivanisms Series”, all of my personal quotes and phrases and why they have worked for me. Please watch this video to understand what Ivan means.
In business are you a puppy with a ball or a dog with a bone?
The lesson here is I never give up.
I am absolutely a dog with a bone. I may not be the smartest man in a room or I may not be the most talented man in a room, but I am almost always the most determined man in a room.
Watch this video
When you are in business, you need to be like a dog with a bone. This is a part of what I call the “Ivanisms Series”, all of my personal quotes and phrases and why they have worked for me. Please watch this video to understand what Ivan means.
Excellence is not a single act. It’s a habit.
If you want to be successful, think things through and then act on that like a dog with a bone. Often times, the more successful you are, the more failures you’ve had. If you believe in your objective, keep going. One of the reasons for my success is my persistence, tenacity, and doggedness in dealing with challenges. There are things that I have let go, but when I feel certain when I have great information and feel confident in my vision and my goals, then I am a dog with a bone in my focus in not giving up.
In this video, I share the story of the philosophy of BNI: Givers Gain®. Understanding an important philosophy based on the law of reciprocity can make your networking far more powerful, but only when self applied.
Click on the graphic above, or click here, to see the video!
If you bring people into your network who embrace your core value, you will create an amazing network. Incorporating the philosophy of Givers Gain ® into my organization was one of the things that have really set BNI aside from the other networking groups. We have inculcated this core value into the fabric of BNI. Therefore, “Givers Gain ®” became part of the very DNA of the organization. That is incredibly special.
Givers Gain® is a philosophy based on the law of reciprocity. In the context of networking groups, people who adopt this philosophy dedicate themselves to giving business to their fellow networkers rather than making their foremost concern getting business for themselves. In doing so, other people naturally become eager to repay their kindness by sending them business in return.
In this classic video, I talk about productivity and setting priorities. This Ivanism, “If you want to scale a business, do six things a thousand times; not a thousand things six times“, is one of my quotes that I’m asked to talk about a lot and I thought I’d post this video again.
What I often find is that business people look for these bright, shiny object,” he says. “Oh look at this, this is a great idea, let’s try this, let’s try that… no. Do you want to be successful? You have to do things over and over and over again, consistently.
“We are what we do, repeatedly. Therefore excellence is not a single act — it’s a habit.”
When is the right time to ask a favor? Building a relationship takes time, and cashing in your relationship capital before it has earned enough interest can be devastating.
The following video is classic rebroadcast of my “Ivanism” Garage to Global series, hosted by Entrepreneur.com, where I expand on catch phrases I have used frequently over the years. Originally published on March 30, 2016.
In this video, I discuss how to identify and prepare for the appropriate time to ask for a favor within the context of a business relationship. Social capital is a key factor when it comes to asking for favors from others.
Most of us have been in a situation where someone has asked for a favor before the social capital to make that kind of request. If you want to amass financial capital, you have to invest and grow your assets. Social capital works the same way. You have to invest before you can withdraw.
Throughout my career, I have had a huge number of folks come to me and ask me to promote something for them. The thing is the majority of those who contacted me had never even met me, had never had a conversation with me. If they did, they met me once and we had the briefest of conversations. They never invested in the relationship and yet they wanted a withdrawal from the relationship.
You may be shocked at the level of personal knowledge required for a deep referral relationship. You may want to argue that referrals should be all about business. I completely disagree. It takes a lot to develop this type of relationship. Those who do will certainly succeed at building a business from referrals.
The following video is classic rebroadcast of my “Ivanism” Garage to Global series, hosted by Entrepreneur.com, where I expand on catch phrases I have used frequently over the years. Originally published on May 31, 2016.
I know, it’s a strange concept: “Ignorance on fire is better than knowledge on ice.” Most people read that statement and think, someone who’s excited but ignorant can do more harm than good. I’m here to tell you that the opposite of your intuition is true. That’s right–and you’ll see why below.
Ignorance on fire
One thing I have learned over the last 30 years is I can teach people how to do something.
I can teach them how to network.
I can’t teach them to have a good attitude.
I can’t teach them to have a fire in your belly.
I don’t have time to send them back to mom to get retrained.
The only thing better than ignorance on fire is knowledge on fire. So as you develop skills and you develop knowledge, don’t lose that fire. Hang on to that.
I would rather have a member in BNI who really doesn’t know how to network but they are committed versus a member who says, “Yeah, I know how to do this,” but they are not committed. Ignorance on fire is better than knowledge on ice. The only thing better than that is knowledge on fire.