Does Your Referral Network Remember Your Message


To Get Referrals; Your Referral Network Must Know Your Message

Is the message you give your referral network effective or is it lost in the clutter? To have an effective referral network; your members must know your message succinctly and clearly. If they don’t; not only will they not refer you, they can’t refer you! They simply do not have the necessary information.

You Must Provide a Clear Message to Your Referral Network

I don’t believe enough can be said about the quality, context and content of your message to your referral network. All small and most medium sized businesses succeed or fail on their ability to get people talking about the business, the individuals, the products and the services; if you can’t get this conversation going, you will not succeed!

Your Message Must Be Easy to Remember

Make it easy on yourself and your referral network; create a easily remembered message. Your referral network wants to help you, but they only have a limited amount of time and bandwidth for it to happen. It’s up to you to create a message they can easily share with their contacts.

Your Message Must Be in the Form of a Story

We have all heard “facts tell and stories sell”; your message to your referral network is no different! You need to give them something they can remember and put to use on your behalf.

Don’t Clutter Your Message with Too Much Information

Most organizations and individuals clutter their messages. They create a message which lacks focus and can’t stick with the audience. The problems come from a position of fear. People are afraid they will miss an opportunity because they don’t share a particular fact; instead they share too many facts and nothing gets communicated or remembered.

You must be specific with your message. Decide the specifics of what you want to communicate and then focus. Avoid over communicating and cluttering; make it easy for your network to remember.

If the message cannot stick; your referral network will not remember!

You Need To Make Your Message Sticky

Chip and Dan Heath wrote a book a few years ago Made to Stick and this is what you must do with your message. You message must stick with your audience. It goes back to the old speech writer’s or presenter’s instructions; tell your audience what you are going to tell them, tell them and then tell your audience what you told them.

Your message must be one specific message and your referral audience will help you!

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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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Referrals: To Get Referrals You Must First Give Referrals


Referral Success Starts with a Give First Mentality

Recently Constant Contact reported 82.6% of businesses rely on referrals for new customers. What Constant Contact did not say is; how you can increase your referrals to build your business.

Increasing referrals is best accomplished with a give first mentality. When you refer a potential customer, employee, product or service; you are serving two people, having specific needs. You are helping both parties solve their problem and you MUST have no expectations.

A Successful Referral Network Starts When Your Network Knows You Are Different

First, Your Network Is Not About You!

Your network members must know you are different! You must demonstrate you are networking for mutual benefit; not personal gain. Mutual benefit does not simply mean an exchange of goods and services; mutual benefit means a legitimate concern for each party and an interest in each other’s success.

Second, A Referral Network Is Based Upon Knowledge of the Value Proposition of Your Members

  1. What value do your network members offer to their audience?
  2. What differentiates your network member from their competitors?
  3. What stories can you relate of how your network members helped their audience to explain their value?
  4. How would you describe their ideal audience? and
  5. Can you connect the dots between opportunities and the members of your network?

When you take the time to learn this information about your network members; they will understand your sincerity in being a valuable contact. When you make your first referral they will understand your commitment to being a referral member.

In one of his many training programs, Power Networking, Brian Tracy speaks of his networking process. He asks people he meets to describe their ideal client, he makes notes on the back of their business card and immediately begins looking for an individual or organization which meets the description so he can make a referral.

Do you do this? Are you looking for ways to help the members of your network find new opportunities and business?

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Five Reasons for Top Performer Success


Top Performers Succeed Because They Have Strong Relationships!

Have you ever met a successful individual who did not have a large network of contacts he or she could draw upon for help, advice, opportunities, financial assistance or an assortment of other needs?

My guess is your answer will be either you know they have a large list or you don’t know; very few will answer: the list is small. Whatever your answer, you can count on this; they have a large list! They know who to call, when they can call, why they can call and how the individual can help.

It’s important for us to study top performers so we can learn how they achieve their success. They have plowed the road for us and left a trail to follow; why not take advantage of what they have learned? Is there a need to learn the lessons for ourselves?

Five Reasons for Top Performer Success

1. Top Performers Know Relationships Start with Connections

Top performers are open to new connections. They have a plan for building their network. They have business and life goals which lead to their networking goals. Top performers know how and where to spend their time to maximize their networking goals and at the same time look for ways in which they can benefit their new connections. They lead with the value they are able to provide to the individual.

2. Top Performers Are Not Collectors; They Are Connectors

I’ve heard the term “networking mongrels” used to describe people who simply collect cards and have no interest in the card owner or developing a relationship. They give networking a bad name because they are only looking for what they can get from their new connection. They are identified quickly for what they are!

Top performers recognize it is not about the connection they can make rather it is the relationship which can develop. Sometimes the new friendships are instantaneous, sometimes they take a long time and sometimes they never happen; it may just take time to develop.

3. Top Performers Do Not Keep Score

Here’s another fact; top performers do not keep score! They don’t have records saying I did this for so-and-so; therefore this individual owes me. It doesn’t work that way. These individuals know what goes around comes around and they are just waiting for their opportunity.

If your desire is to keep score; you will not succeed because you will be so busy keeping score you will fail to act in a timely manner.

4. Top Performers Do Not Covet Their Network

Absolutely top performers protect their network for the sake of their network; however, they do not protect their network for themselves and the belief their network has only so much to give. They know the bounty of their network is limitless as long as they are treating their network with respect and proper care.

Top performers also know if they don’t share their network; their network will dry up. Why does it dry up you might ask? The reason is the network understands the person, who doesn’t share, is about him or herself and not about benefiting the members of the network.

5. Top Performers Recognize They Need Others

Top performers know they do not have all the answers. They recognized the importance and value others contribute. As I started out with this post; top performers know who they can go to for the specific advice and help they need for a given situation. They know their network and their network knows them!

It’s not who you know! It’s not how many you know! It all starts with “Who Knows You!”

How do you rate as a networker? Are you looking for ways you can benefit your network? Are you following in the path of top performers?

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

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The Lost Art of THINKing


The Lost Art of THINKing

THINKing has become a lost art! One of the messages conveyed by Earl Nightingale in his 1950’s classic “The Strangest Secret” was the comment from Dr. Albert Schweitzer about man’s problem being the lack of THINKing!

Today it’s no different! In our tough economy people are constantly looking to others to solve their problems or to find the answers. In reality we can solve our own problems and find our own answers if we choose to do our own THINKing and ACTing!

We can’t leave the work, we must do, to someone else; we must take responsibility!

You Need to Think from the Outside Your Box

You may believe you have heard this before but this is different! If you are paying attention and THINKing about what you just read, you recognize the difference! Most of us are familiar with people saying “You must think outside the box.” What they mean is you need to look beyond the normal pool of answers for something new.

I disagree!

I believe you must stand outside your box and look in!

Inside your box you will find all the skills, abilities, education and experiences you have had and the stories telling how you used those personal attributes. The stories you find will help you better understand what you have given to customers and employers and what you have to give to your future customers and employers.

Inside Your Box You Will Find the Stories to Tell Your Referral Network

The idea is you want to look into the box to see all you have done throughout your career. You want to see the stories of how you applied your skills, abilities, education and experience. When you see the stories from your past; they will serve two purposes: 1) give you the stories you need as you describe to your referral network how you applied your skills, abilities, education and experience to solve problems and 2) help you to rebuild your self-confidence and self-esteem.

Additionally the process does one more thing; it gets you THINKing again. THINKing for many is not a regular practice and ACTing on those thoughts is even more foreign for most. However, THINKing and ACTing are two skills you must put to work, so you can get back to work!

Experiencing the “What If” Syndrome

If you are unemployed or under employed; I’m willing to wager that at some point in the past you have gone through the “what if” process. What if I could do what I want to do? What if I hadn’t been pushed into this or that career? What if I had followed that dream or idea? We have all had these thoughts and we have allowed them to fall to the ground; to go unrealized!

Yes, there are plenty of excuses: timing, finances, family obligations, lack of time, not knowing how to start, not being sure of what resources would be required, etc. Well it’s time to put the excuses behind you and move forward. You need to THINK and ACT; you cannot delay.

My THINKing Story

After 9/11/2001, like many, my business was turned upside down. The contract work I had been doing dried up. I had to do something, but I struggled trying to figure things out. The reason I struggled – I wasn’t THINKing! I wanted things to recover quickly and, as a result, I waited around for the recovery to occur. Guess what? It didn’t!

At this point I wasn’t suffering from the problem of looking to someone else for answers; I was simply sitting and waiting for things to happen. It doesn’t work that way; if you sit around and wait for things to happen; sure enough they will – it’s just the things which happen are not the things you want.

What you get are bills piling up, endless frustration, family issues, bill collectors calling, utility shut off notices and scrimping to buy food and gas.

Eventually I gathered myself together and started THINKing from outside my box. I looked at the current economic climate and the skills employers were desperately looking to add. Having worked for many years in the technology space I came to the conclusion I should position myself as an IT Security Specialist. To read the story of how I was able to re-craft myself check out My 9/11 Story.

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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 Β 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 onΒ LinkedIn, Like me onΒ FacebookΒ or follow me onΒ Twitter.

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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 Β 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 onΒ LinkedIn, Like me onΒ FacebookΒ or follow me onΒ Twitter.

Check out the UPPROACH siteΒ 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 Β 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 onΒ LinkedIn, Like me onΒ FacebookΒ or follow me onΒ Twitter.

Check out the UPPROACH siteΒ 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!