You Must Speak the Language of Your Referral Network


Do You Speak the Language of Your Audience

Successful networkers, business owners, entrepreneurs, professionals, salespeople and others have one significant trait in common; the ability to speak a language their audience understands. The ability to speak in a manner your audience understands is the key to effectively delivering your message! This is especially true with your referral network; the topic of this article.

If your referral network doesn’t understand your message; they will be ineffective in providing referrals and, in most cases, they will not even make an attempt on your behalf. Your referral network wants a message which is clear, to the point and easy to remember. Anything else and your attempts to convey your message will be wasted effort.

Things to Avoid When Delivering Your Message

Things you want to avoid in your message:

  • TMI – Too Much Information;
  • Overuse of industry jargon and acronyms;
  • Complex terms and descriptions;
  • Lists of skills, abilities, products and services;
  • Irrelevant references and information;
  • Too many options;
  • The appearance of a “Jack of All Trades, but Master of None”; and
  • Trust, reliability and credibility issues.

TMI – Too Much Information

Sometimes we get carried away when we start talking about what we do or have to offer. If your goal is to educate your referral network they must have a clear understanding of what you do, the products you sell or the services you provide. You need to know and be able to convey your primary message.

Overuse of Industry Jargon and Acronyms

Your goal should not be to make your referral network an expert in your field. (As a side note, if a conversation can rapidly create experts; you have a bigger problem to address!) You want to avoid using jargon and acronyms because your referral network, most likely, will not remember these terms or, at least, be unable to explain the terms. Rather than be embarrassed, they will not give the referral!

Your job is not to impress your referral network; your job is to educate your referral network!

Complex Terms and Descriptions

This is a big problem for many professionals whether they are doctors, engineers, computer nerds (I’m one so I can say this) or others where there are many complex terms. Using these terms may impress your referral network or most others in your audience; but they won’t bring you referrals. Your referral network must be able to easily tell your story. If they can’t; they won’t!

Lists of Skills, Abilities, Products and Services

Lists will be forgotten. Pick one or two, at the most, important points and then use those points in a story explaining the value provided. People remember stories, they do not remember lists.

Irrelevant References and Information

Don’t bog your audience down with unnecessary information. You want them to remember the important points so don’t get carried away with irrelevant details. Make your story easy and, even better, enjoyable to relate.

Too Many Options

Focus on the key points you want your audience to remember! Don’t give them a list of options and hope they remember something. Make it easy for them to make your case and refer you.

The Appearance of a “Jack of All Trades, but Master of None”

In an attempt to avoid missing opportunities we often try to present ourselves as being able to do anything and everything. Your referral network will never be able to figure this out and effectively refer you. They may give a referral saying you can do anything, but it diminishes your value and your ability to be compensated for the value you bring to the table. People will take advantage of you and without the initial specificity you will be hard pressed to argue the point.

Trust, Reliability and Credibility Issues

Lastly the language you speak MUST speak to your trust, reliability and credibility. These traits are critical to a strong referral network. If the members of your referral network have any doubts or concerns regarding your trust, reliability and credibility; they will not take a chance and refer you. Your referral network has built a relationship with their network and they will not risk jeopardizing those relationships on someone they do not find trustworthy, reliable or credible.

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Remind Me Please; Why Did You Send Me an Invitation on LinkedIn?


Have You Ever Asked Yourself This Question: Why Did This Person Send Me an Invitation on LinkedIn?

Don’t get me wrong I enjoy receiving invitations and connecting on LinkedIn. Most of the time, however, the invitations are disappointing.

When I open the invitation I find the person sending the invitation made no effort to begin a relationship! Most people do not invest the few minutes necessary to actually write a personalized invitation that may open the door to a possible relationship.

Your custom invitation doesn’t need to be elaborate, it should simply give the recipient an idea as to why you want to connect. In fact it can’t be elaborate; you only have 300 characters available so you must be brief, but you can do better than LinkedIn’s default invitation.

Six Reasons Why You Should Customize Your Invitations

  1. To increase the chances your invitation will be accepted and acknowledged;
  2. To begin establishing your credibility and character;
  3. To open a communication channel to the individual;
  4. To show you are more than a numbers person trying to get as many connections as possible;
  5. To start a potential long-term friendship; and
  6. To show you are a member of the top 1% of networkers.

Different Situations Require Different Custom Invitations

Custom invitations are not a one-size fits all solution. Depending upon the situation you need an invitation that makes sense, is relevant to the situation and the individual you are inviting.

You can’t send an invitation saying it is “Great to Reconnect” to a current co-worker or someone you recently met. You will look like an idiot and decrease rather than enhance your credibility.

Some things you can use in your invite:

  1. A reminder of where you met;
  2. A little about the discussion;
  3. A reference to someone you know in common;
  4. A reminder of who you are;
  5. A statement of why you want to connect (don’t be asking for something); or
  6. An edifying, but honest, statement saying why you admire the individual and want to connect.

You can also reach out with an initial message, if the option is offered, or use “LinkedIn InMail”.

How to Customize an Invite

To customize your invitation you must invite from the person’s profile page by clicking connect. I have found some of the other connect buttons will simply send off an invite without the opportunity to customize. Personally I have found the best solution is to work from the profile page to be safe.

When the default invitation comes up; delete the LinkedIn suggestion and start typing your own invitation, thank the person for their consideration and put in your signature. Remember this is all part of your 300 characters even the dash LinkedIn inserts in front of your name.

Do you need some great resources to help your networking? Check out my Amazon Networking Reading List!

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How Not to Use LinkedIn


How Not to Use LinkedIn

Today I received a boilerplate invitation to connect on LinkedIn; which I feel is a learning lesson on what NOT to do! I checked out the profile and connections in common, accepted and wrote a thank you. Shortly after I received this “Tom, I am looking for individuals connected into the community to connect me into some top sales opportunity. Are you a potential resource?”

If I Say I’m Not a Potential Resource Will I Be Dropped as a Connection

As I read the comment it makes me wonder if I will be deleted as a connection unless I agree to be a potential resource. I don’t really care one way or the other; but the invitation and comment do not sit well with me.

I’ve read about the individuals who are interested in networking only if it benefits them. Go back and read what was said; is there anything in this relationship for me? Is there even a hint of a possibility of there being something in it for me. If so, point it out because I don’t see the value!

Accepting a LinkedIn Invite Is the Beginning of a Relationship

The example in my opening is NOT the way you should be networking! The extending or acceptance of an invitation is the beginning of a relationship; a relationship which must be nurtured. When we start into a relationship both sides must first establish some credibility. We need to show interest in the other person, not just an interest in ourselves.

In my example this guy immediately went for the jugular by asking for a referral: this is bad practice. This guy is on my radar. I don’t want people in my network who abuse the relationship or could indirectly impact my relationship with others. I don’t know if I will keep this individual in my network; I will monitor his activities and make a decision later.

It Is a Bad Practice to Refer Someone You Do Not Know

When you make a referral you are putting your reputation on the line in support of the person you are referring. You may think this is only a referral and not a recommendation; but chances are the other parties in the process see it differently. Both the person you referred and the recipient of the referral feel there is an underlying recommendation in your action. With that being the case; you must be careful with who you refer.

I have had numerous people connect and immediately ask for a referral or recommendation and I don’t really know them that well. Needless to say they did not receive the referral or recommendation. They did, however, get a rebuke by my saying I only give referrals when I have had the chance to get to know you.

I’ve also had people, who are connections, but were lacking in their social skills turn around and ask for a referral or introduction. After being insulted myself am I really going to potentially expose my contacts to the same behavior: absolutely not!

I value my relationships, however limited they may be, with my network members and I am not going to subject them to bad behavior from people I find questionable!

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My name is Tom Staskiewicz and my goal is to help everyone do a little better, get a little further and reach the success they are destined to achieve!

Do you need help with your message? Are you struggling for people to know you and what you have to offer? If so, I can help. My contact information is below or Email  Me Now! and lets get started.

Whatever I can do to help you or anyone to move forward in reaching your goals; I’m all for it. Connect with me on LinkedIn, Like me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter.

Check out the UPPROACH site and sign up for our newsletter of career tips and ideas for job seekers, small and medium business owners, self-employed individuals, contractors, consultants or whatever; anyone wanting to move their career forward!

Four Easy Ways to Double the Effectiveness of Your Referral Network


Four Easy Ways to Double the Effectiveness of Your Referral Network

SMBs – Small and Medium Businesses – depend upon referrals, in fact Constant Contact did a study and 82% of the small business owners surveyed said their primary source of growth comes from referrals. Brian Tracy, one of the top business strategists and trainers, once said only 1 or 2 out of every 100 connections will play a role in your business growth. The conclusions… 1) you need to build a Referral Network and 2) you don’t know which connections will deliver business growth through referrals.

If Your Business Growth Depends on Referrals; You Must Have a Strong Referral Network

To survive, your business must continue to grow; referrals from current customers, prospects, family, friends and contacts are integral to the process. So here are the “Three Easy Ways to Double the Effectiveness of Your Referral Network.”

  1. Build Your Network – You never know who will provide your next referral;
  2. Establish Your Credibility – If your referral network doesn’t find you credible; they will not refer people to you;
  3. Explain Your Value Proposition – Your network must understand, not just know, the value you bring; and you must
  4. Keep Yourself in Front of Your Referral Network – You must be Top-O-Mind with your network so they think of you when opportunities develop.

Build Your Referral Network

Building your Referral Network is critical to your growth. You need new people coming in who can promote you, your products and your services. It is true you never know who will provide your next referral, but if you build with the “right” connections you can improve your chances for good referrals. Identify the type of individuals you need in your network so you can target those who have the best potential to bring your referrals.

Your Referral Network Must Find You Credible

If you want your network to refer you to potential customers they must find you credible! If you cannot establish your credibility with your Referral Network; it’s a lost cause.

When someone refers you they are putting their reputation on the line along with yours. If the members of their Referral Network listen to them; they have established credibility within their network and a bad referral could damage their credibility so they must be careful! They are not going to be willing to put their own reputation and credibility at risk for someone they do not know!

You must be credible!

Explain Your Value Proposition to Your Referral Network

Your Referral Network must understand the value you bring. Many people try to do this by listing their skills and, in all honesty, this doesn’t work. When people hear a list of skills, at best, they will remember a few and probably with little accuracy. What you want is to tell your audience stories about the things you have done. If you are talking about skills; explain them in a story. It is much easier to remember stories and easier to relate those stories to others. Stories also help with connecting the dots as opportunities are explained.

Stories also add to your credibility. Stories help things become real in the mind of the listener and they become more interested in your situation and helping you.

Keep Yourself in Front of Your Referral Network

The last thing you must do is keep yourself in front of your Referral Network. Stay in touch, keep them apprised of what you are doing; let them know about the projects where you are engaged or recently completed.

You also want to stay in front of your Referral Network by acknowledging the things they, their families, and their companies do; if you read about something positive, let them know. You also must acknowledge any events in their lives you know. If you know about birthdays and anniversaries wish them well or congratulations. If there is a job change, new venture, promotion or other event; send or post an acknowledgement.

If members of your network post something take a moment and click like or comment. This accomplishes two things 1)it acknowledges their activity and raises your credibility in the eyes of the individual and 2) if you are regular in the process it raises your credibility in the eyes of the other members of your Referral Network! You are in front of your network, not promoting anything of yours, but promoting your network members and their activities. People appreciate seeing you be positive and helpful to themselves and others.

There you have it Four Easy Ways to Double the Effectiveness of Your Referral Network: Build Your Network, Establish Your Credibility, Explain Your Value Proposition and Keep Yourself in Front of Your Referral Network!

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My name is Tom Staskiewicz and my goal is to help everyone do a little better, get a little further and reach the success they are destined to achieve! Let me know what you think of my articles; are they helpful? If you like what I have to say; please follow my blog so you don’t miss any of my posts.

Do you need help building credibility with your Referral Network? Are you struggling for people to know you and what you have to offer? If so, I can help. My contact information is below or Email  Me Now! and lets get started.

Whatever I can do to help you or anyone to move forward in reaching your goals; I’m all for it. Connect with me on LinkedIn, Like me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter.

Check out the UPPROACH site and sign up for our newsletter of career tips and ideas for job seekers, small and medium business owners, self-employed individuals, contractors, consultants or whatever; anyone wanting to move their career forward!

Are There Stalkers on LinkedIn?


Are There Stalkers on LinkedIn?

I believe there are stalkers and I see them as anyone who chooses to view profiles anonymously!

Here is the scenario…

Somebody is watching you! They have checked out your LinkedIn profile and maybe they have done Google, Bing and other searches on you. Who are they? What do they want?

I was just looking at my LinkedIn statistics to see who has been viewing my profile. I saw several names, but some chose to remain anonymous. Why is that? Are they stalkers? Are they afraid of being identified? Are they ashamed? Should I be worried? I don’t know!

If this were happening outside your front door most people would be more than a little uncomfortable. So what’s the difference between stalking your house and stalking your profile; neither time identifying yourself?

Remaining Anonymous Is Bad Behavior

Yes, LinkedIn allows you to do some things anonymously and in some cases it’s perfectly okay. However, I don’t like the idea someone can come in, read my profile (or whatever I choose to make public) and remain anonymous. I don’t think it’s right and I don’t feel it is appropriate networking behavior; it’s very one-sided!

I Like to Know Who Is Reading My Profile

Personally, I like to know who has stopped by to read my profile. If someone has taken the time to view my profile, I like to reciprocate and look at their profile. Maybe there is a synergy which would make connecting worthwhile for both of us. Regardless, I deserve the opportunity to look and to know who is looking!

Effective Networkers Don’t Hide Behind Anonymity

Effective networkers are looking for opportunities to connect where there is a mutual benefit. You won’t find them lurking in the background, keeping themselves anonymous and leaving others wondering about them. Effective networkers are open because they are looking for ways to build their credibility and trust.

It Would Be Great if LinkedIn Allowed Us to Be Anonymous to Those Who Choose to Be Anonymous

Wouldn’t that be a great personal setting? If someone tries to access your information anonymously you could shut down anonymous viewers and prevent their seeing your profile. Being open with others who are open makes sense and that’s why I keep my profile open.

Networking is your opportunity to build credibility and trust! Hiding behind anonymity does the opposite. People are looking for reasons to believe you are credible, honest and trustworthy; don’t mess it up!

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My name is Tom Staskiewicz and my goal is to help everyone do a little better, get a little further and reach the success they are destined to achieve!

Do you need help with your message? Are you struggling for people to know you and what you have to offer? If so, I can help. My contact information is below or Email  Me Now! and lets get started.

Whatever I can do to help you or anyone to move forward in reaching your goals; I’m all for it. Connect with me on LinkedIn, Like me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter.

Check out the UPPROACH site and sign up for our newsletter of career tips and ideas for job seekers, small and medium business owners, self-employed individuals, contractors, consultants or whatever; anyone wanting to move their career forward!

Does Your LinkedIn Profile Give You the Credibility You Need?


Does Your LinkedIn Profile Give You the Credibility You Need?

Your profile has a job to do and it’s not SEO (Search Engine Optimization)! I’m not saying SEO isn’t important; but it’s a by-product or secondary consideration not the primary purpose of your profile. The first or primary purpose is to establish your credibility!

Why Is Credibility So Important?

Whether someone finds your profile using SEO, clicks on your name when you like or comment on a post or clicks your name when you connect with someone; your profile must convey credibility. If it cannot meet this requirement your profile is a wasted effort!

How Do You Build Credibility

There are multiple steps to building credibility.

Step 1

The first step to building credibility is to have a complete profile. Let your audience know you are serious in your efforts. If your profile is incomplete or sketchy what message are you sending?

It’s a message of indifference and one which does not respect the time of your audience. If they clicked on your name and found an incomplete profile, you just wasted their time and that’s not cool. Do you like it when others waste your time? Probably not, so why is it okay to waste your audiences’ time?

Can you imagine going to a concert and learning the brass section isn’t there to perform? You would be quite mad you had taken the time to show up for the performance. Did the lack of a brass section add to or take away from the credibility of the orchestra or band? Obviously the entire organization lost credibility because of the actions of a few.

So it is with your profile the lack of or incomplete information in a section takes away from your credibility!

Step 2

Put a real, current picture on your profile. Thinking you are fooling someone about your age or appearance by leaving off a picture is just fooling yourself. Somewhere along the line the Internet has a picture of you and whoever is looking for you will find it.

The other reason to post your picture is with millions of members there will be others on LinkedIn with the same name. Your picture will be the method someone may use to ensure they are connecting with the correct person. Help them out, don’t miss out on a contact because they cannot verify you.

Your picture adds to your credibility.

Step 3

Put your location with your profile. If your profile simply says United States, are you real? If you are real; why are you so secretive?

You are building credibility and hiding information will not serve you!

Step 4

You must be participating on LinkedIn. Whether you are posting, commenting, liking, sharing in groups or making new connections; you need to have activity showing you are not just a lurker or a phantom profile.

There are a lot of lurkers and phantom profiles on LinkedIn and you don’t want to be one of them! You want people viewing your profile to know you are a real person and see the value you bring.

Your participation lets people know who you are because every post, every comment helps your audience gain a better understanding of who you are.

Your participation says you are real and adds to your credibility.

Step 5

Grow your network! When you are growing your network you are adding value, not only to yourself, but to all the members of your network as well. When members of your network perform searches for individuals, companies, job roles, skills, talents, etc. the size of your network helps them and the size of their network helps you.

The power of your network is not in your first level connections or strong ties; the power is in your second and third level connections or weak ties. Every person you bring into your network means their connections just added to your weak ties and every person you bring in adds weak ties to every member in your network.

Adding connections builds your credibility because it shows your commitment to your network and your network members.

Your profile is all about building your credibility in the eyes of your audience. You want your audience to come away from reading your profile feeling they have an understanding of your honesty, integrity, reliability, sincerity, trust, knowledge and credibility. If your profile does not convey these characteristics; your profile is not doing the job and must be revised.

Read my other posts in this blog for help in constructing a profile which conveys your credibility. Please take a moment and sign up for email notifications of new posts. It’s in the upper right corner and takes just a moment.

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My name is Tom Staskiewicz and my goal is to help everyone do a little better, get a little further and reach the success they are destined to achieve!

Do you need help with your message? Are you struggling for people to know you and what you have to offer? If so, I can help. My contact information is below or Email  Me Now! and lets get started.

Whatever I can do to help you or anyone to move forward in reaching your goals; I’m all for it. Connect with me on LinkedIn, Like me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter.

Check out our career site and sign up for our newsletter of career tips and ideas for job seekers, small and medium business owners, self-employed individuals, contractors, consultants or whatever; anyone wanting to move their career forward!

How To Stay Top-O-Mind with Customers, Clients, Prospects, et al?


How To Stay Top-O-Mind with Customers, Clients, Prospects, et al?

Staying Top-O-Mind is regularly putting yourself “in front” of your target audience.

Some clients ask isn’t there risk in being “in front” of my audience too much? Won’t they get tired of me?

Yes, but it doesn’t have to happen; the reality is it all depends upon your message! If you are providing relevant, informational messages your audience will not get tired; they will see value, pay even greater attention and seek out more information.

The message makes the difference!

Note: When I talk about audience I am referring to customers, clients, patients, prospects, recruiters, hiring managers, family, friends and Social Media or email contacts. Audience is an all-inclusive term.

You Message Must Be Relevant to Your Audience to Stay Top-O-Mind

You stay Top-O-Mind by being relevant to your audience’s needs and interests. What do they want to know? Notice I didn’t say what do they want to know about you; I just said what do they want to know. There is a huge and important difference here.

You can not stay Top-O-Mind with a continual barrage of information about you, your company and/or your products and services. In fact, there is no quicker way to lose or never gain the Top-O-Mind position than continually talking about these things. Your goal is to provide information your audience wants; you want to be a “go to” source where your audience knows they will receive valuable information on a particular subject.

Your Content Does Not Have to Come Solely from You to Stay Top-O-Mind

There are many ways to put messages in front of your audience; the question always comes back to the message itself as to whether it is going to help and be relevant to your audience. Some examples include:

  • Internally generated;
    • News releases;
    • Product/service announcements;
    • Business changes;
    • New employees;
    • ;Responses to audience questions;
  • Externally generated;
    • Repost or share content you see;
    • Like posts from others on Social Media;
    • Comment on posts from others on Social Media;
    • Create links on Social Media to articles you have read;
  • Subscribe to news sources which allow you to post their content as your own;
  • Sponsor blogs which create material relevant to your audience;
  • Promote cultural and charitable events relevant to your audience;

What Frequency Is Necessary to Get and Stay Top-O-Mind?

The greater your frequency of providing relevant and timely information the better your chances of getting and staying Top-O-Mind. Very few members of your audience will see every message you send. You have audience members who watch in the morning, others in the afternoon, some in the evening and others late at night.

Because of the different patterns of behavior; you can post frequently. To better understand your audience you can use Google Analytics, email statistics (if you use a service) or other methods to see patterns of behavior. The one caveat is if you are using email or sending to individuals – don’t overdo it. You can get too frequent if you are dropping into their mailbox.

Don’t Overdo Email!!

The better option is to post on a blog, dropping only periodic notes in their mailbox and refer them back to your blog for more great information. If you want to drop to their mailbox use a mail service and have your audience subscribe to the mailing list with opt-in and opt-out capabilities.

Sponsoring Other Blogs Which Include Your Message

Many relevant messages, which go to a particular business’s audience, are written by others but sponsored by the organization. These messages are broadcast to the business’s audience and the writer’s audience which gives the business exposure to a broader market where they would normally not have easy access.

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My name is Tom Staskiewicz and my goal is to help everyone do a little better, get a little further and reach the success they are destined to achieve!

Do you need help with your message? Are you struggling for people to know you and what you have to offer? If so, I can help. My contact information is below or Email  Me Now! and lets get started.

Whatever I can do to help you or anyone to move forward in reaching your goals; I’m all for it. Connect with me on LinkedIn, Like me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter.

Check out our career site and sign up for our newsletter of career tips and ideas for job seekers, small and medium business owners, self-employed individuals, contractors, consultants or whatever; anyone wanting to move their career forward!