If you’re in business, you know that referrals are the most cost-effective source of revenue. And you know to build referral partners into your business strategy, you need to establish relationships. This then begs the question: “With whom should I establish these relationships? “
No doubt, you’re open to accepting referrals from anyone. And you should be. But you can’t have a referral-generating relationship with everyone. So, you need to be tactical about it.
Try this: First, articulate in your mind the profile of the potential great clients you’d like to have. Then list out all those professionals who are likely of service to these potential clients. Boom! These are the people with whom you want to create a relationship. Why? They’re strategic partners. After all, they operate in the circles where you want to operate, but don’t compete with you. Thus, their clients could be good clients for you. Think about it.
Life is full of unknowns. Every day brings new challenges to conquer. Every day brings strangers into your life. Every day there is something that you haven’t dealt with before.
No one knows what tomorrow will bring. No one. And that can be scary.
And do you know what? It’s okay to be afraid. It’s okay to feel a bit of apprehension churning in your gut. It’s okay to have a little bit of fear.
But what’s not okay is allowing fear to have you. It’s not okay to let this anxiety well up so much inside you that it paralyzes you from taking action on pursuing your hopes and dreams. It’s not okay to allow fear to keep you from making the unknown known.
If you sense fear … when you sense fear, face up to it. Stare it down. And then move through it, whatever it is. Fear can’t have you.
In 2009, Dane Ebanez (e-bon-ez) walked onto the University of Oregon football team with little expectation of ever playing in a game. After all, he was only 5’9” and weighed a modest 180 pounds.
Despite being virtually anonymous, Ebanez was an active member of the team. He attended hundreds of film sessions and practices. He toiled day in and day out on the scout team. He spent hours studying and executing plays of Oregon’s opponents.
And, while Ebanez thought no one noticed his efforts, someone did. In 2013 when Oregon had the Fiesta Bowl in hand, a teammate who knew of his commitment, ensured Ebanez’s hard work was rewarded. He found an opportunity for the walk-on to slip into the game for one play.
The lesson is this: Work hard at whatever you do. And find opportunities to sacrifice, even if you think no one is noticing. Chance are, someone is. And your reward is coming.
In the December 2019 issue of Success Magazine, Tony Jeary (aka The Results Guy) provided an answer to this question: How you can become more efficient when it comes to managing your email inbox. After working with the largest companies and top achievers, his best advice is this:
Leverage the subject line. That is, if the message can be conveyed in that area, do so.
Get it good enough and get it out. Too often people labor over every word and punctuation mark of a message. Remember, generally it’s just an e-mail and not a business proposal. It doesn’t need to be perfect. It just needs to convey information. And,
Use the phone to avoid too much back and forth. There are times when five minutes talking can replace a half-dozen e-mail volleys. Become attuned to when this is the case and pick up the phone instead. It’s a time saver.
Ignore what you hear on the news. Skip past what’s printed on page one of your paper. The world has much to be optimistic about. There are initiatives looking to tackle disease, poverty, literacy and you name it. The world is really headed in the right direction.
It is, however, far from perfect. There are still those who have malicious intent. There are those whose motives are anything but pure. And there are those who are misguided in both word and deed. As they maneuver, however, don’t sit idly by and accept it. As 19th century British philosopher, political economist, and civil servant John Stuart Mill warned:
“Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends than that good men should look on and do nothing.”
Don’t do nothing. Speak up. Notify someone. Organize a resistance. Take a stand. Be courageous. Confirm the situation. In short, do your part to make the world – even just your corner of it – a better place.
Everyone has competition. Everyone, including you. Knowing this, it begs the question: What makes you unique amongst your competition?
Think about it. This question is important. And your answer to it has lots of important implications. Like, how does a customer or client select you in a crowded marketplace?
So, know the answer as to “why you?” Is it price? That is, is the cost of what you offer lower than anyone else? Is it quality? Is there something about what you have that is more durable or better refined or some other characteristic that creates real and lasting value? Is there a patented technology, proprietary process or specialized education or background? Is there something that the others can’t readily duplicate?
So, why you? Whatever it is or however you define it, you need an answer to that question. Moreover, you need to be ready to communicate it in a clear, concise and confident fashion.
During the 2019 TEDx program in Detroit, co-organizer Terry Bean briefly took the stage. In the allotted few minutes he shared this one big idea: We all have the ability to cast a positive stone, creating ripples that benefit others.
In addition, he also shared these eight ideas for casting positive stones.
Hold the door for someone;
Celebrate important milestones with the people you love;
Smile, or better yet, make someone else smile;
Lend an ear by being there for those who need you;
Shine the light on people doing excellent work;
Pay it forward with something as simple as buying someone a cup of coffee;
Connect the people you know with the people they need to know; and,
Bean’s list is not just a simple one; it’s also a list of little things that you can do each and every day to create positive ripples in the world.
Do you think that saying you’re sorry makes you appear weak? If so, you’d be wrong.
In that moment, no doubt you’re vulnerable. You’ve surrendered yourself to another, admitting you’re flawed and that somehow that harmed them. And, mostly importantly, you’ve revealed that you feel bad and will endeavor for it to never happen again.
The curious thing about this vulnerability, however, is that it ultimately elevates you in the eyes of others. Think about it. This act of contrition – facing a client, friend or employee and saying, “I am truly sorry” – is not an easy thing to do. It takes tremendous courage. And this courage will earn you a heightened level of respect in the eyes of others. In short, this will bolster how people come to know, like and trust you.
So never be afraid to say, “I apologize.” This statement is more aligned with demonstrating your strength and self-confidence than exposing any sort of weaknesses.
So, while meeting new people is always an important part of networking, remember there is a tremendous advantage to networking with familiar names and faces. What is it? These people already have a relationship with you. And that is a wonderful head start to productive and effective networking. All you need to do is capitalize on it.
Given that, focus energy on connecting with the people you already know and reconnecting with old friends and acquaintances. Get caught up on their lives. Think of ways you can help them. Share with them about your professional endeavors. And remember to ask for assistance.
In short, build on the relationships you already have.
In his book, A Life Best Lived, master business coach Danny Creed shares a counterintuitive insight: “There is an old Zen teaching that says in order to be successful, we must slowdown in order to speed up.”
Creed goes on to explain that often you become your own worst enemy by continuing to do what you’ve been doing. By taking the time, however, to slow down and refrain from the constant grind, perhaps just a half a step, you can honestly analyze what you’ve been doing.
From this slower pace you gain an understanding and acceptance that what you’re doing is either not effective or, worse yet, actually undermining your efforts.
With this insight, you can alter your course or tweak your approach. From there, you can not only get back the half of step you lost but also pick up the pace going forward. As Creed implies, often the best way to speed up is to slow down first.