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.

Creating A Referral Machine 1 of 7

You are ambitious. You are savvy. You want to be more successful. You want to work smarter and not harder. You know that referrals are the means of achieving that. Referrals are the most effective means of creating this greater success.

The best place to be in business, (any business or profession) is the point where your new clients are almost exclusively generated from people in your network. These are friends, colleagues, strategic partners and even former clients are sending you prospective clients.

At this point, your network becomes your sales force. In short, you have effectively created a referral machine and that machine (i.e., your network) is working for you, even when you are not working.

This begs the question, “How do I create a referral machine?” We start on this in part 2.

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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.

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 Commercial 3 of 8

Your 30-second commercial should address “who you are?” There is no magic to stating the WHO, the Basic Introduction . After all, it is (well) basic. Nevertheless, this part of the 30-second commercial is important.

In your Basic Introduction you need to clearly articulate your name (is it Mike or Michael … Kim or Kimberly) Then state your title and work you are associated with. Each of these are important.

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Now, nothing says it has to be in this precise order … You could achieve the same thing by re-stating the example “I am a franchise broker with National Franchising Group … I am John Doe” Or “I am with National Franchising Group. My name is John Doe. I am a franchise broker.”

Whatever the case, your 30-second commercial should address “who you are?” The next step is in part four.

30 Second Commercial 2 of 8

To build a strong network of contacts that give you referrals, contacts and information, you need to have a concise, yet very compelling, 30-second commercial. The problem is that you have SO MUCH to say and 30 seconds is really not a lot of time.

So to conquer the challenge of conveying lots of information in a short period of time, it is helpful to have a framework to work with. Here is an effective one:

• Start with a basic introduction for yourself (this addresses the WHO you are) …

• Add to that a Message (which addresses the WHAT you do) …

• From there, you need to Inspire Confidence or create credibility (which tackles the issues as to WHY you over all the other choices) …

• Then you wrap this up with a Strong Definite Request of what you need (this is the HOW they can help you).

Now, if you carefully draft each of these sub-part and then piece them together with your own personal flair, you end up with a very effective 30-second commercial. For more, see part 3.

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Tips For Improving Small Talk

“Small Talk” is an art. Like any art, you can, improve how you do it through practice. Here are some ideas for becoming more proficient at small talk.

• THINK … On the way to the next event or when you have some idle time, work through in your mind how you envision your “small talk” going. Review the questions you will ask in your mind. See yourself listening, summarizing, and sharing.

• LISTEN … “Small talk” is all around you, everyday. Listen to it, especially those who are good at it. See how they weave from one question to the next and how they transition to business, return to small talk and then exit the conversation.

• ENGAGE … Take every opportunity to engage in “small talk” When you are in line at the store check out. With a server in a restaurant. With the receptionist at your next appointment. You will find the more you engage in small talk, the more comfortable you get at it.

The most important thing you need to do in being good at “small talk” is develop an attitude or belief.

Periodically, you need to tell yourself, I can carry a conversation. I can. I am good at it. I enjoy it. I like how it lifts the spirits of others. And I love what it is doing for my networking. I can carry a conversation.”

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Exit Gracefully From Networking Conversations

Business connections at networking events are great. Whatever the case, do not churn the entire event away in a single endeavor. Nothing says that you need to engage in a dozen different conversations over the course of an hour. Two or three is plenty. Remember this is not speed dating, rather, its networking (building relationships). Given that, you should develop some ways of moving on. As with anything else, honesty is the best policy.

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Here are some great lines for doing that:

• “Thanks for your time. I told myself I would meet three interesting people at this. I have two more to go.”

• “There is someone over there that I need to connect with.”

• “Is there anyone here in particular you would like to meet? I would be glad to introduce you.”