Most people have heard of The Golden Rule, commonly known as “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” While it is a good principle to live by, it does not necessarily help you in business networking or referral marketing.
Instead, I recommend that you consider implementing what Dr. Tony Alessandra calls The Platinum Rule® in your networking efforts.
Treat Others the Way THEY Want to Be Treated.
It is unwise to assume that people are just like us and want to be treated in the same way we prefer. Referral marketing relies on strong relationships, and what better way to develop a relationship then adapting how you treat someone to their wants and needs? To network effectively, you need to use the Platinum Rule with your referral partners, AND with the people they refer to you.
Three People Involved in a Referral
There are three people involved in a referral and all three need to be considered when deciding how to implement the Platinum Rule.
- You. How do you work best? What are your strengths and weaknesses? Have you identified your own behavioral style? Understanding your style will help you adapt your approach with others.
- The referral source. How does this person communicate best, and how do they like to be communicated with? How do they like to be treated? If you want someone to pass a referral to you, you must communicate with them in a way that they appreciate and are receptive to.
- The prospect. What is the potential client’s preferred method of communication? What sales techniques are most effective with this person? If you expect to get closed business from the referrals you receive, you must be willing and able to communicate effectively with the prospects in the way they prefer.
What it comes down to is that a networker’s greatest asset is their ability to be adaptable. You must always be willing to accommodate the people you are striving to develop relationships with – their comfort is much more important than yours.
Understanding Behavioral Styles
Understanding the four different styles of behavior is an excellent way to gain knowledge about how to adjust your sales and marketing program to the style of communication most comfortable to the customer. It is also beneficial to determine how to best connect with your fellow networkers. All clients and all networkers prefer communication in a manner that is most familiar to them. Knowing their personal behavioral styles helps you customize a sales or networking approach for each unique individual.
In the book Room Full of Referrals which I co-wrote with Dr. Tony Alessandra and Dawn Lyons, we offer insight into the following four different behavioral styles:
Go-Getters: Driven, Bold, Decisive, Strong Desire to Lead
Promoters: Energetic, Outgoing, Fun-Loving, Positive, Talkative
Nurturers: Patient, Helpful, Understanding, Sentimental, Reserved
Examiners: Effective, Efficient, Thorough, Research-Oriented
When you pay careful attention to the behavioral characteristics of others, you will improve how you communicate with them by effectively adapting to their style. Strive to accommodate the behavioral style of your referral source when you’re working them, and of your prospect when you connect with them. If you seek to find out how people want to be treated and then treat them that way, you can establish a smooth-running referral relationship that can help your business grow.