Creating A Referral Machine 6 of 7

If you do a spectacular job educating your network on recognizing referrals, great. That, however, is not enough. You need to empower them with the ability to talk to prospective clients about what it is you do.

For example, if they recognize that the displaced executive is a potential client to refer to you, great. Encourage them to strike up a conversation with the person (and they will if they know, like and trust you). And transition into a discussion about franchising. Here is an example:

“I am sorry you are in transition. What is your next move? Have you considered becoming your own boss? I understand that franchising is almost a fool-proof means of successfully being in business. I know a great franchise broker … there is no obligation to meet with him and his services are essentially free, as the franchisors pay his fees.”

In addition to general conversation, empower your referral machine with non-technical buzz words and catch phrases about your industry (as well as what they mean) … Franchise Fee … Ongoing Royalties … FDD … Earnings Claim … Discovery Day. Your network should know enough to talk about what you do but not enough to do it.

Finally, encourage your network to hook you into the situation. In short, encourage the person to talk about you in a connecting sense. Returning to the example from before “I know a great franchise broker. There is no obligation to meet with him and his services are essentially free, as the franchisors pay his fees.”

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Creating A Referral Machine 4 of 7

Okay, there are lots of potential people with whom to establish a relationship. What about the “HOW”? How can you make this happen?

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Yes, there are lots of people. That is generally not the problem. That is seldom people’s shortcoming in creating a referral machine. It is the “how” that trips people up.

In establishing relationships, there are three main categories of activities you need to consider making part of your personal regimen. (1) Giving or adding values to others; (2) Ensuring that you become involved; and (3) Making sure that you are dependable or reliable in what you say and do.

First, When people hear the term “GIVING TO OTHERS”, they tend to conjure up images dragging out their wallets. That is not the case at all. There are lots of things you can do in giving or adding value to others.

o Do business with others.

o Sending them referrals.

o Providing them with information.

o Spurring them on.

o Introducing them to others.

Each of these things add value to others. The key part of all of this, however, is that when you add value to others, they cannot help but feel they know you, like you, trust you. And somehow, they are quietly compelled to return the deed at some point in time.

Second, another means of establishing relationships, is getting involved with your community.

Trust this, no matter where you live, there are business groups, charities and civic initiatives that could use your time, talent and energy. When you get involved in your community, it raises your level of exposure and it demonstrates your commitment. With these things, people cannot help but feel they know you, like you and trust you, which is exactly what you need to start establishing relationships and create a referral machine.

Finally, while adding value and getting involved are great for establishing relationships. You, however, will undermine the entire process, if you are not reliable. With even an innocent infraction of unreliability, you can kill your chances getting referrals. Be reliable … be on time … do what you say… follow-up, as you promise. And if for some reason you are unable to do these things, alert the person who might be relying as soon as possible.

This may all seem like common sense. It is. It is, however not common practice. It has tripped up even those with the best of intentions. Guard against this.

Nevertheless, once you have these relationships established, you can start to put your referral machine to work. That is the subject to part 5.

Creating A Referral Machine 2 of 7

Just because you want this referral machine does not mean that you get it. You have to build it, and there is a process to it, a three-step process to doing so.

You start by establishing relationships. Then within those relationships (which is essentially a network of people), you empower them to not just understand what you do, but how to talk about it. Then finally, you remain in continual contact to appropriately guide and re-adjust the process. Yes, this takes work, but in the end the rewards far outpace the effort.

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The foundation upon which you will create a referral machine is based upon the relationships you have with others. This is the most important point: people do business and refer business to those that they know, like and trust. Those who get the most and best referrals are simply those who have the best relationships. They are widely known, highly liked, and implicitly trusted.

We will cover this process in greater detail starting in part 3.

Networking And Stone Soup

In Marcia Brown’s old tale, entitled Stone Soup, plague-ridden villagers were stingy with their food and had no interest in sharing with anyone but their own.

This begins to change, however, when a peddler tells the villagers that he would like to share some stone soup with them (essentially throwing a few rocks in boiling water). This action, along with some goading words, moved villagers to become generous — one by one sharing. A head of cabbage here, some salt beef there, and voilá, before long there was a large brew collectively made and fit to feed all of them.

Brown essentially suggests that generosity and altruism are contagious. Is this just a hopeful fable? Or is there any truth to this assertion? Nicholas A. Christakis, M.D., Ph.D. and James H. Fowler, Ph.D tested this assertion and shared their results in their book Connected.

These researchers tookl set of 120 students were put into groups of four. The groups’ individuals were given some money to be used to perform an exercise composed of a series of tasks. Participants both profited and lost via these tasks in a capitalistic exercise. After each exercise, however, the individuals had the option of giving some funds to others at the expense of their own.

After each exercise, the groups were mixed up so that no two groups were ever the same throughout the experiment. In the first few rounds of exercises, no money was gifted.

Amongst the participants, however, was a plant — someone in on the experiment. This person we will refer to as the “Stone Soup Peddler.” After certain exercises, the Stone Soup Peddler started to systematically give away some of the money to others.

In the exercises that followed this exhibition of generosity, the people who benefitted from the gift, gave more. In addition, even the people who witnessed the gifting, but did not directly benefit began giving more. These altruistic gestures then began to spread through the group.

In business, no doubt, you are dependent upon others giving to you. You look for others to give you information. You look for people to share referrals with you. You need people to share insights and ideas with you.

Acts of generosity, however, are inspired somehow. That is people do not just give. Rather people are moved to give somehow, some way.

As the story of Stone Soup or the Christakis-Fowler study illustrates, you have the power to inspire generosity through your own generosity. The substance of the act does not matter. What does matter, however, is that you act, as this simple gesture becomes contagious. You can literally inspire your entire network with one small act to literally anyone. A simple referral. An introduction. Sharing of insight or information.

Any or all of this will inspire your network to give to others. In so doing, not only will you have done something wonderful, but you will also be in close proximity when the generous begins to materialize. V (Soup)

The Power Of Flocking

The United Kingdom has had a longstanding milk distribution system in which milkmen in small trucks bring the milk in bottles to the door of each country house. At the beginning of the 20th century, these milk bottles had no top. As a result, birds had easy access to the cream that rose to the top of the milk in each of the bottles.

In fact, two different species of British garden birds, the titmice and the red robins, capitalized most on this opportunity. Each species learned to siphon off cream from the bottles, tapping this new, rich food source.

In addition to not being sanitary, these birds were stripping milk of its vital nutritional value. This prompted dairies in the 1940’s to start installing aluminum seals on milk bottles. Thus, when the milkman delivered the product, the birds were effectively prevented from getting at the cream.

This only worked for a short while, though. One by one, titmice learned to pierce this weak defense. Before long, the entire titmouse populations were only mildly inconvenienced by the aluminum caps.

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The same was not true of the robins. As a species, they never learned how to get around the bottle cap and pierce the cream at the top of the milk. Certainly, here and there, one robin would be fortunate enough to figure it out, but as a whole, the species was foiled (no pun intended) from getting at the milky cream, as they once had.

Why was this the case? After all, the robin and the titmouse were very similar birds in size and physical characteristics. The difference was in how the birds interacted within their own species.

The robin is an individualistic bird. They are self-serving and territorial. Rather than cooperate with one another, when fellow robins comes near the robin will chase it off.

The titmouse, on the other hand, is a communal bird, relying on one another heavily for survival, sticking together in tight groups of at least eight to ten. As such, they are able to cooperate and collaborate together, quickly learning what works and what doesn’t for one another. They have an efficient social propagation process in which they are able to adapt to changing conditions and learn from each other because of their mutual dependencies.

In short, the titmice almost universally prevailed against the aluminum caps because they learned from one another. After all, that is their way.

On the other hand, while an occasional robin might have gained access to the cream, the successful birds never shared the information with others.

The lesson here is simple: Birds, like the titmice, that flock seem to learn faster, evolve more quickly, and increase their chances to survive.

This is true for you as well. When you interact with others, you learn. You learn new information. You learn new techniques. You learn how to dress and talk. You probably learned how to open a carton of milk.

In your life, in order to quickly get over obstacles and move past barriers and on to your goals — such as finding clients — you should take every opportunity to behave as the titmouse and help each other succeed together. This would include sharing tips and tricks with one-another or taking an interest in the needs of your peers.

Network Pyramid Capstones

There are many of these experiments and studies that offer wonderful insight as to how you can both become better at networking as well as have a better network. Here is one in particular.

In the 1960’s, Harvard social psychologist, Stanley Milgram studied what he termed the “small world” problem. He wanted to gain a better understanding of how people were connected to one another.

In one experiment, he sent to 160 randomly selected individuals in Omaha, Nebraska a packet with the name and address of a stockbroker who worked in Boston (and lived in Sharon, Massachusetts). Milgram instructed each individual to write their name on the roster in the packet and then mail the packet to a friend or acquaintance who they thought would get it closer to the stockbroker, and so on until it reached the Boston broker.

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On average the packets reached the broker in six steps (thus the phrase “six degrees of separation”). While Milgram initially reasoned that if the packets started from 160 random points, the packets would arrive at its destination with similar randomness. Many of the chain packets, however, followed the same asymmetrical pattern to the Boston stockbroker. In all, half of the responses that got to the stockbroker were delivered by three people. Hence, the phrase “six degrees of separation” doesn’t mean that everyone is linked to everyone else in just six steps. It does mean that a very small number of people are linked to everyone else in a few steps, and the rest of us are linked to the world through those few.

There is an easy way to explore this idea. Write down the names of 40 friends and trace them backwards to how they were introduced to you. This exercise will reveal that what people term as their “social circles” are really inverted pyramids. In other words, a large percentage of your contacts likely originated from a relatively few number of individuals. Those at the tops of these pyramids are your Network Pyramid Capstones.

Here is the consideration for you. If you are working to “jump start” your network or determine where your time is best spent, first, find your Network Pyramid Capstones. Then take one or all of your Network Pyramid Capstones to lunch, breakfast, for coffee or beer or whatever.

That is really make an effort to develop a great relationship with these people – find ways to help them and be sure they understand how they can help you. These individuals have been instrumental in building your network to this point. It is likely they will do more of the same in the future.

Networking Is Nothing New

Networking is simply human interaction and it has been with us since the beginning of time. These human interactions are really just the relationships we have with one another. How we connect. Some connections are passing. Some connections are more lasting. Some connections are seemingly lifelong.

Given this, networking is, more or less, really just human behavior. Talking. Listening. Understanding. Being empathetic, encouraging, inspiring, smiling, laughing, and being a friend. Thus, all human behavior involving other people are relationship-based and is networking.

S (Old Book)

The wonderful thing about human behavior is that there are patterns to it. While the patterns may not be perfectly predictable – as you might find with a chemical reaction or a physics experiment – there are patterns generally there.

Whenever there are patterns, however, there is curiosity. And whenever there is curiosity, you will find people of science trying to explain the patterns through studying, observing, and examining them.

Human behavior involving our relationships is no different. The social sciences – sociology, psychology, and economics, just to name a few – for years have examined how humans relate to one another, both personally and professionally.

30 Second Commercial 7 of 8

It is good to have an effective 30-second commercial, but it is even better to have more than just one. Think about it. There are lots to what you do and there is no way you can convey it all in 30 seconds.

So, have different commercials to convey various things. Also, consider that no two people are the same and no two situations are the same. Thus, it only stands to reason that you have different messages to fit different situations and people.

Plus, if you consistently say the same thing, eventually what you have to say becomes “white noise.” So do not fall into the trap of having a “one size fits all” commercial. Here are some considerations for developing some variety in what you have to say.
First, as I indicated earlier, develop a variety of Message Bodies … In some settings be informative or educational (at a stodgy business after hours) … In some be flippant or amusing (say at a holiday party) … In others, you might consider something with a little shock value (where you really want to grab some attention quickly).

Next, there is more than one reason WHY people should refer (or use) you, so share a different piece of confidence or credibility building information from time to time. Think about it.

What are the things that uniquely qualify you to be their best option? Perhaps there are things the set your company apart and those things attribute to you by association. Maybe it is the process you use.

Each of these can lead credibility to you in a particular situation … It is important to know how and appropriately insert that one in your 30-second commercial. (Whether it’s you, your company or the process you use).
In addition to using different ways to establish credibility, you can ask for different things in your 30-second commercials.

Depending on the setting you can outright ask for people to refer you clients … Or you might find in a situation that you are best served to ask for connections to strategic partners (accountants, attorneys, etc.)… Or you might determine that it is most appropriate to ask for information (such as details on networking events, job transition groups or background on people).

The point is that this is another way in which you can create some diversity within your 30-second commercials.
Finally, in addition to changing the MESSAGE BODIES, relying on different things to establish CONFIDENCE and altering the REQUEST, you can also switch up the order in which you execute the framework.

The above framework is a suggested guide. It is not an ironclad rule of thumb, however. Lead with something to inspire CONFIDENCE or perhaps your strong definite REQUEST or even an amusing MESSAGE BODY.

It does not matter how you slice or dice the framework. The key is conveying the message with all the bits and pieces in about 30 seconds.

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30 Second Commerical 5 of 8

Everyone has competition, including you. What makes you unique amongst your competition?

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Again, WHY you? Your 30-second commercial needs to convey credibility and confidence that serves to answer that question before it is asked. Consider an example.

“Not only have I helped more than 100 people get into the right franchise, I also spent 10 years as a CPA … helping my clients know what they were getting.”

Who would a prospective franchisee prefer to work with? Just anyone or someone with this background? The answer should be obvious (at least the question was intended to be rhetorical). The point is that Inspiring Confidence (answering the “WHY you?,”) is vital to your 30-second commercial.

30 Second Commerical 4 of 8

There are a few options to the basic introduction (as discussed in part 3), it is largely void or creativity right? That’s okay, because you can more than make up for it with the Message Body. This is essentially the heart and soul of your message and you can approach it from lots of different angles … You can INFORM the person or EDUCATE … You can even AMUSE or STARTLE them to get the point across.

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While you might be sitting there saying, “there is nothing to what I do.” Certainly, what you do may seem like basic vanilla, what you need to give yourself credit for (and convey in your messages) are all the different WHERE’S and HOW’s you do what you do. With that you, can add some creativity to your message body.

For example, a real estate agent may help people buy a house. There are lots of reasons when they do this.

• Get out of an apartment.

• To have a bigger house.

• To have a second house.

• To have a smaller house.

• To flip.

• To rent.

Each of these could be the basis for a completely separate message body. No doubt, you can do the same for your business or profession. Read on in part 5.