Groundhog Day: Does Networking Feel Like the Same Old Thing?‏

One of my favorite movies is Groundhog Day where the main character, Phil, experiences the same day over and over.

Does your networking feel like the same routine week after week?

The same Chamber, the same BNI, the same women’s group, the same people… and you’re getting the same old results.

In the movie, Phil realizes he can take advantage of the unlimited time he has to transform himself and find joy.

Luckily, you don’t need an unlimited amount of time to transform your referral marketing.

To help you liven up your networking, join us for a special one-day workshop, From Referral Myth to Referral Success, on Friday, February 19th.

You will learn the skills to:

  • Gain the clarity to inspire yourself and others.
  • Turn your social media into a referral generating machine.
  • Make networking really work for you.
  • and Build a community of people committed to your success!

If you’re not sure if this is for you, call me at (925) 595-6095 for a complimentary strategy session.

 

Networking and referrals isn’t just about who you know.  It’s about knowing the right people and  knowing how to compel and inspire them to help you, and doing the same for them.

 

 

What Does Hiking Have to Do With the Business of Referrals?

Imagine me, a large, yet light-footed guy, bouncing up a hot and dusty, 14-mile trail in the California foothills, alone, all in one day. And imagine that I grew up having never learned to set a single, solid goal for myself.

It’s true. For most of my life, I never practiced intentional goal setting. Even when I began to declare a few goals, I wouldn’t write them down. It was only when I started paying attention to successful people I admired and respected, that I could see the value in goal setting.

I’ve worked hard to learn to set goals, intentions, and declare them as well as write them.

This year I began working closely with a business coach to learn how to set WHYSMART goals. For those of you who don’t know, here’s what this nifty acronym stands for:

Written, Harmonious, Yours, Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistically high, and Target Date

So I decided to take WHYSMART a step further with a physical goal.

For a long time I had dreamt of climbing Mt. Diablo. It’s a beautiful mountain in the Santa Ana Foothills, near the town of Lafayette. I visualized myself being up there – without the certainty as to how to accomplish it.

A wellness coach helped me create a vision statement to keep me focused and then a plan for a series of increasingly more difficult hikes until I was ready for the climb. I postponed it a couple of times.

Then November came around. I was ready and decided upon an unusually aggressive, wandering 14-mile trail that would traverse all four peaks of the mountain’s ridge.

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So what does hiking have to do with business?
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Every destination has a journey. Every successful business owner has a vision and a path. As 2014 winds down, I invite you to think about your business as a journey.

  • Where are you heading?
  • Don’t you want to feel confident with your vision?
  • Don’t you want clarity with your goals?

We all do. Just as I set goals for my climb, I plan for my business. I’ve worked hard to set intentional goals for my business. Today, I know exactly where I’m going and I’m ready for the unexpected twist and turns. In fact, I welcome them!

Certified Networker Program Gives You Clarity of Purpose

In January 2015, we start our new cycle of the Certified Networker Program, a 14-class, packed with practical information to nurture the deepest roots of your business.

Here’s what you’ll get to do:

  • Grow your business week-by-week with other like-minded, powerful entrepreneurs.
  • Stretch yourself and break through limiting beliefs.
  • Emerge with new clients, new relationships, and new momentum

Ready to find your path to clarity, growth and success?

Our next Certified Networker Program starts in January. Spaces fill up fast. You can register for January 6th (Thursday) by contacting me with any questions about the class or about business coaching.

My email is cory@referralinstituteoakland.com, or phone 510-986-4775.

 

Stand Out From the Herd

How much time do you spend networking, including direct prospecting or looking for referrals? Has networking been time-consuming? You know that you are unique in your business, but you are being seen as a commodity, just another name badge in the crowd.

Many business owners will spend significant time, money, and energy establishing their business and then hanging out a shingle to wait for “Everybody” to do business. They may join different networks and meet with hundreds of people in pursuit of that occasional prospect or referral.

The first step breaking out of the commodity trap is to get to the heart of your uniqueness.

Consider: Who is your favorite author? What makes them different than the hundreds of other authors in that genre? Chances are, you picked up a book by that author, and you were hooked within a few pages. Other authors, writing similar stories, will not have that same charge for you. Your favorite author knows her audience and writes for them. Her fame and success comes with the devotion of that core audience. The fans trust that anything that she writes will be well worth the time to read, and sometimes many times over!

Who is your audience, and are you getting them hooked on the first few pages of your story? You might be wasting time trying to build a fan-base that is made up of “Everybody”, rather than that core audience that is drawn to you immediately.

There is in-depth process for discovering this Emotionally Charged Connection™. One of the twelve exercises is to ask yourself, “who are the clients that come most naturally to me?” Your answer to this will give you a better idea of your target market, how to identify them in a crowd, and explain that audience to your referral sources. Consider demographics, psychographics, and other factors that make up your best clients. Also, consider some of the qualities of your least favorite clients. Is there something about them that makes them difficult for you?

Now, ask yourself “what sort of outcome do you hope that your clients receive?” As business owners, what we want for our clients is often what we want for ourselves. Be clear on the outcomes you hope to create. That will help you align with the people who want what you have to offer that goes beyond your products and services. That is the reason that they buy from you and makes you stand out from the herd.

Learn in Community, Grow with Collaboration

The last couple of months have involved a lot of training and collaboration.

Two Trainers for Referral Success 101 & Certified Networker
I mentioned in the last newsletter that Gail has already started co-teaching with me in Certified Networker and Referral Success 101.  She easily breaks down the the tremendous amount of information we cover into easy action steps.

If you would like support from Gail for your referral marketing, ask me about joining our Certified Networker program already under way on Tuesday mornings, 9:30am – 12:30 pm.

Or setup a one-to-one referral marketing and/or social media consultation with Gail.

In June, Referral Institute held its first Business Accelerator conference for its trainers from all around the world, including Dubai, India, Japan, Europe, and Canada.  

We loved being in the communityof other trainers where together 407bd55a-5335-447f-9a4b-79097cb212abwe improved our consulting, marketing, and sales skills.

We were so proud to have one of our own,Anna Scott, lead us in the Sales Dojo.

The trainers raved about her workshop and are already asking how they can hire Anna to come to their countries to train their clients.

The Platinum Rule: Treat Others the Way They Want to be Treated

Right after conference, I was certified in Room Full of Referrals & Platinum Rule Assessments.  You may already be familiar with the Room Full of Referrals workshops, which teaches you how to quickly recognize a behavioral style and how to adapt to others to build rapport and trust.

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Platinum Rule Assessments gives your own personalized intensity and blend of the four styles.  For example, you may know that I am a Nurturer.  But do you know my second style?

 

It was at first surprising, but then made more sense as I think about how I do love to win.

There are also the Platinum Rule 360 Assessments, where 100 members of your network can anonymously asses your behavioral style.  If you really want to know how you can improve your referral relationships, the 360 Assessment is an eye-opening revelation..

The Platinum Rule Assessments are included in the Referrals for Life program, or can be purchased individually and comes with coaching so you know how to use these results in your Referral Marketing Plan.

Your Turn to Be Featured
Now it’s your turn!  How are you learning in community and growing with collaboration?  Reply back and we can feature your story (and your business) in our upcoming newsletters, blogs, and social media.
Here are our upcoming opportunities to get your referral community trained together:

 

Referral Success 101 with Cory & Gail Nott
Friday, July 11, 12 – 2:30 pm
Oakland Metropolitan Chamber
475 14th St, Oakland 
 
Certified Networker with Cory Nott
Part 7: Referral Marketing Plan & Celebration
Thursday, July 17, 2 – 5 PM
Pacific Business Center
1300 Clay St, 6th Floor, Oakland 
 
BNI Boot Camp: B.E.L.I.E.V.E with Dawn Lyons
(You do not have to be a BNI member to attend.)
Wednesday, July 23, 1:30 – 3:30 PM
Orinda Public Library Auditorium
26 Orinda Way, Orinda
$10 to hold your seat. It will be returned to you at the event, or you can donate it to the Wisonsin Big Cat Rescue.
Have you scheduled your complimentary Referral Marketing Strategy Session?

Contact me today at 510-986-4775 or cory@referralinstituteoakland.com

Referrals By Design

(Published in the Oakland Business Review, Sept 2013)

When you attend networking functions at the Oakland Metro Chamber or other professional organizations your goal may very likely be to grow and/or promote your business by meeting others and getting their business, or by getting referrals from them. If your intentions do include getting referrals from other business owners, and you don’t have much, or any, experience with referral marketing, it is to your disadvantage to jump into it without preparation. The definition of referral marketing, according to the Referral Institute, is a business strategy to attract new clients or customers through a process of building relationships which result in a flow of personally recommended business.

The purpose of referral marketing is to get people to actually give referrals to you. In order to do that, they need to know exactly what you do. That includes the product or service you make or provide, under what conditions you do so, how well you do it, and what separates you from your competitors. This must be communicated to your would-be referral sources. And, to be effective in that communication, you must know the same things about them.

 

It seems straightforward. After all, we know what we do for a living. However, can you communicate what it is that you do in your business to your potential referral sources in a clear and concise manner? You might find that when you try, it is not so easy to do. If your potential sources are unclear about what you do or what you sell, how can they be expected to give you any good referrals?
Before you jump into networking in the hopes of getting quality referrals, pause and get a clear picture of where your business stands today.

Four simple questions to answer about you and your business are:

1.    Why are you in business?
You got into the business you are in for a reason. The more clear you are about this, the more attracted others will be to your cause.

2.    What do you sell?
Be specific. What are your specialties in your business? It is not just a product or service that you sell, but yourself as well. How do you want others to see you?

3.    Who are your customers?
Consider the defining characteristics of some of your best or favorite customers including such things as gender, age group, financial position, or, if a business, the size of the business, type of business and what they make or sell. How do they like to work with you?

4.    How well do you compete?
Regardless of the amount of competition in your field, differentiating yourself will make it easier for others to refer business to you. A quality referral may not be as sensitive to price. What is seen as your perceived value?

Armed with this information, prepared in a simple and concise format, you will have the start of a referral marketing plan, and it will help you tell others what your business is about.

Effective One-to-One Networking

(As published in the Oakland Business Review, Oct 2013)

Have you ever had a one-to-one networking meeting with someone that you’ve met through the chamber or other networking group? The purpose of a one-to-one is to find out if there is a good connection for your business such referring business, supporting each other in marketing efforts, or in other ways.
The first one-to-one is often about getting to know each other. Finding out where we connect on a personal level is very important. If there is no affinity, the relationship will likely be unproductive. There will be a discussion of what each person does in their business, and within an hour or less, you’ve got a feeling for whether you would want to continue the relationship with that person.

The difficulty comes with the follow-up one-to-ones. How do you maintain focus so that as you get to know each other there are measurable results from the growing relationship? People often avoid further one-to-one meetings as they appear unproductive. This hurts the chances of developing profitable, long term business relationships. With the proper preparation and intention, regular one-to-ones with the right people will lead to getting more business done.

The first step to preparing for a one-to-one is to determine the topic. Is it to be learning about your businesses? Is it how to recognize what is a good referral? Is it strategizing on introductions? Is it determining ways that you might collaborate on projects?  Having a focus will help you stay on topic with during the meeting.

My top five tips for effective one-to-ones are as follows:

1.       Meet in a professional environment. Busy locations are distracting. The noise may make it difficult to hear what the other person has to say. Notes can’t be taken easily if the space is cramped or messy.

2.       Be on time and come prepared. Honoring the time of your partner is invaluable. How you show up for a meeting reflects how you show up for your clients. Be on time, bring the appropriate materials, and be dressed appropriately, and cleanly, for your profession.

3.       Have an agenda. If you find that you are talking about something other than what is on the agenda, and that’s not as productive as you intended, go back to it. This honors their time and your time. A simple agenda might be:
a.       20 minutes getting to know each other or catching up socially.
b.      20 minutes of talking about them and how you can help them.
c.       20 minutes of talking about you and how they can help you.

4.       Commit to the follow up. If you’ve agreed to do something, like make a contact or an introduction, put it in your calendar. Include a time to follow up with your one-to-one partner.

5.       LISTEN.  You have two ears and one mouth. Use them proportionately.
Effective one-to-one meetings will take your business networking to the next level. You will get more results in less time, and you will be helping others in the process.

Use LinkedIn to Expand Your Referral Network

If you are like many professionals, you have a lot of connections on LinkedIn. Many of them you know, many of them you may have met in passing and they wanted to connect with you.

The benefits of being on LinkedIn are growing, and one of those benefits is the possibility of growing your referral network through it.

Expanding Your Referral Network

Do you have gaps in your contact sphere?
Does your Top 12 feel like a a Top 5?
Are you unable to invite visitors to your networking group because you’ve “run out” of people to invite?

Figure out some professions you want to connect with, and then search in LinkedIn to find people in your area in those professions. (Hint: use the ‘Advanced’ search feature with keywords and locations.)

When you find someone who has a profile that interests you and may be a potential referral source, find out who is connected to them and ask for an introduction.  Even better, call your mutual contact and ask for the introduction rather than waiting and hoping they check their LinkedIn messages.

When you get that introduction, invite the person to coffee or to a networking event to get to know them and start your new possible referral relationship.