Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Over-Booked By Referrals

It's about 3:30 in the afternoon. I was just visiting with my husband Todd, the National Director of Gold Star Referral Clubs. I kicked back in the over-stuffed chair across from his desk and said,

"Honey... How's your day going?"

Naturally, the conversation gravitated toward the three different networking meetings that we went to today.

Todd commented that Jerry, with Banker Heating and Air, just got $7000 in referred business last week and about another $6000 this week.

"Didn't we refer him to someone this morning with two houses that needed heat and air service?"  I asked.

Todd replied, "He's getting over-booked with referrals."

"WOW! That is so cool - I've got to blog about that!"  So, here I am sharing this with you. Can you believe that some people actually get over-booked by referrals?

Yesterday, I spoke at a networking event in front of about a hundred people. I told a story about a Realtor that receives at least 90% of his business from referrals. When I finished with the story, a Gold Star member, who owns a company that does background checks, raised his hand and said, "Me too!"

I said all that to say this...

It's not just pie-in-the-sky or big talk. You can develop a referral system where people will gladly and continually refer business to you. It's not some far-fetched unattainable business ideal.

Does it take some work and strategy? Yes, it does. However, with a little guidance and some determination you can build your business on referrals.

Monday, September 15, 2014

5 Things Jealousy Won't Do

Recently my cousin, Suzie, who I haven't seen in about ten years, called to say that she and her daughters were at a Tulsa hotel due to an emergency landing. Their private plane blew out a window at 21,000 feet causing Suzie to have to dive 4,000 feet a minute in order to get down to air with oxygen so they wouldn't fall asleep, crash and burn.

But as interesting as that is... that is not what this is about.

The real reason I'm writing this is because after two glasses of Chardonnay, I finally confessed to Suzie, that growing up, I was jealous of her and that it had caused me to distance myself from her and her family.

Here's the kicker, it wasn't because she married a millionaire, has three airplanes, and used to be Mayor of  El Paso. Although, some could be jealous of all her success, I thought that was pretty cool on her part. (Way to go, Suzie!)

I was jealous because I thought my Dad, (Uncle Oscar to Suzie), loved her more. He loved to brag about Suzie, tease her and she even moved in with us for awhile. You know what Suzie said?

"You have to be kidding, I was jealous of YOU! I thought my dad, (who was Uncle Johnny to me), loved you more." You could have blown me over with a feather. Who knew?

We forgave, laughed, and hugged and then reminisced about all the good times we had with our fathers. However, I realized that we both had missed a lot of good times because of our stupid jealousies.

Known as the "ugly green-eyed monster", jealousy will steal your good times and even harm your business.

5 Things Jealousy Won't Do for you:
  1. It won't bring joy or value. 
  2. It won't allow you to serve that person in love or kindness.
  3. It won't allow you to live abundantly with that person or to place their interests first.
  4. It won't allow you to be authentic because you hide yourself from them.
  5. It won't allow you to stay open to graciously receiving from that person.
I look forward to getting together with Suzie again real soon and I hope that this confession will help you take a look at any area in your life where jealousy is stealing love and prosperity.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Are You Ready to Become a Referral Magnet?

Every business person's dream is to have an army of walking ambassadors eager to refer to them. We yearn for committed, reliable and consistent business partners that will recommend us to clients.

Yet, for most business people, there is no one in line - eagerly waiting to send them new leads. 

Referrals come as a free will offering; they aren't something that you can demand or manipulate from people. Although, you may be able to bribe a few clients with rewards. But for the most part, referral sources give you new business because they like you, like what you're selling and they want someone else to benefit from it.

Are you ready to become a referral magnet? Ask yourself these 6 questions: 

1. What is my level of commitment to giving every client tremendous value? 
This is extremely important, because if you aren't committed to excellence, you are defeating yourself before you even start. Discover the Go-Giver way to unleash value and profit.
2. Do you believe in your product / service?
Do you believe in what you're selling? This is one of the first steps in referral marketing. If you don't believe it, why should they? However, when you are absolutely sure that what you offer has great value than much of your hesitation about asking for and receiving referrals will disappear.
3. What is my system for giving and receiving referrals?
It's like putting out a rain barrel. How can you expect to collect referral partners and catch a downpour of referrals if you don't have anything in place? It's critical that you take some time to develop a plan. 
4. Am I willing to work at giving and getting referrals?
There is a misguided notion that referral marketing is easy. A good referral marketing system needs goals and action. You will have to apply yourself. Are you willing to do that? To go to meetings? To network? To learn the skills?
5. Am I aware of the opportunities around me?
You are always standing in the middle of a referral opportunity; either to give one or to receive one. It is necessary to become more aware of what is around you all day long. Become more aware of how you can form relationships, what events are happening this week and how to connect with your clients. 
6. Am I willing to take the initiative?
Arthur Ashe, a world renowned professional tennis player said, "Start where you are at. Use what you have. Do what you can." You can become the person who is eager to help others around you and to give referrals. When you take the initiative, others will duplicate your actions.
Most people don't realize that they have untapped potential to grow their business with referrals. 

Start today by becoming fully engaged. Lean into action, not away from it. When you embrace responsibility for your own referral system and don't avoid it, I promise that you will see amazing results.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Your Unforgettable 60 Seconds

Make your sixty seconds count.

As a business person, you will have many opportunities to introduce people to your business with a sixty second presentation.  You may be at a networking event, in a referral meeting or at a Chamber luncheon. It’s a great time to create a solid connection.

A good sixty second presentation may be remembered for days, weeks, months and even years. An unforgettable tagline or story can make the difference between getting a referral and not getting a referral.

Inspire them with a story about a successful solution or happy client. People will remember the stories you tell long after they have forgotten everything else you said.

Sixty second presentations, when geared toward increasing your business with referrals, are NOT commercials for your business. Turn your 60 seconds into a friendly presentation.

A referral-specific sixty second presentation will:

  • Introduce the speaker’s business in a memorable way.
  • Give a concise description of the business and/or service, when not self-explanatory.
  • Specifically identify what kind of client they have a solution for.
  • Stimulate, motivate and educate with memorable stories.
  • Will train the listener how to refer you. 
Here is an example of what to say when someone shakes your hand at an event and says, "So what do you do?"
 "I’m Suzie Smith with Virtual Office, your Assistance from a distance, offering office support for everything you need.
In fact, yesterday, a customer of mine called and said, “Suzie, I hated my desk! But since you've been doing my newsletter, email campaigns and balancing my checkbook, I’m spending more time in front of clients… where I should be.”

So that is what I do. I help business people who are slumped over their desk in frustration or overwhelmed with work. Please feel free to give them my card and ask if I can call them. Then, call, text or email me their information so I can contact them right away. I’m available to help."
In this example, Suzie used the story about an existing client to show what she does and how it solved a problem.

Then she helped us visualize what to look for; someone slumped over their desk in frustration. That’s was our cue. When we see that, we can approach them and give them Suzie’s card.

Here is another example.

David represented a non-profit hospice care organization. He struggled with the part of the meeting where he had to give a sixty second presentation. He never knew what to say and bumbled through it by listing the services that the hospice offered. He asked me to help. I suggested that he seek to lift the listener with inspirational stories.

The next week he told a short story during his 60 second presentation time in his networking group.
“I helped an end-of-life patient record all her family recipes.” He said.  “At her funeral, everyone received a copy and the family expressed that working on that book filled her last months with happiness and joy.”
It was an unusual presentation, but I’ll never forget it, nor will I ever forget what a wonderful thing he did for that patient. In my mind, I decided that David was an alright kind of guy.

After that, David continued to tell us stories about inspiring patient experiences and those stories brought him referrals.

Practice telling a thirty second story where your business, service or product is the star.

Then, request the referral by saying:

"When you see                   (situation/problem/condition), please give them my card and ask if I may call them because my                     can solve this problem."


“The next time you hear                            . Ask if we can call them to set up a consultation.”

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Sportsmanship... and why it Matters Even in Business

In business, we have to have survival skills. We all can learn from the rules of sportsmanship. The life skills that you developed while playing sports will serve you well as you build referral relationships. It's all about understanding the principles of how to be a good team player.

My friend, Gary Ryan Blair, author of Everything Counts, does a suburb job of showing how sportsmanship should be a part of our everyday life. I liked this blog so much, I just reprinted it.

Sportsmanship…and why it matters

Education is incomplete without sports, and sports are incomplete without a true education of sportsmanship.
As millions head back for another year of school, I wanted to use this post to share an insight for all students athletes, parents, coaches and fans.
The choice made by athletes to engage in sportsmanlike behavior depends in large part, on how the sport is structured by coaches, parents, and fans.
Good sportsmanship begins with an understanding that the principle nature of athletics, sports, and physical education are an integral part of the educational process, presenting innumerable opportunities to learn skills that last a lifetime.
The teaching of good sportsmanship offers an ideal opportunity for any athlete to develop life skills such as character, teamwork, honor and fair play, excellence and hard work, discipline, overcoming adversity and failure, resiliency and perseverance, joy and humility, respect, maturity, unselfishness, responsibility, goal setting, planning, citizenship and the importance of developing a competitive spirit.
These are all success and survival skills, and they are all the direct benefits of teaching good sportsmanship.
Sports are an extension of our societal mores. If and athlete chooses to engage in unsportsmanlike behavior, we must pause and consider exactly where do athletes learn unsportsmanlike behaviors.
Poor sportsmanship is a learned behavior as is good sportsmanship. We all learn moral behavior from engaging with others, watching the behaviors of others, or by being taught ethical behavior. Therefore, teaching and modeling appropriate behaviors can enhance sportsmanlike behaviors.
Being involved in sport alone is not sufficient to ensure that athletes will learn sportsmanlike attitudes and behaviors. Rather it is the social interactions that are fostered by the sport experience that will determine the benefit of sport to athletes.
Achieving that benefit requires that the designated leaders within the sport take action to teach ethical and moral behavior in that respective sport.
Restoring sportsmanship and civility to athletics must become a shared concern. Good sportsmanship dictates:
Respect – Athletes should display proper respect and courtesy, and maintain civility toward opposing coaches and athletes, game officials and spectators at all contests. Most importantly, athletes must respect the game and uphold its virtues.
Listening – A player with good sportsmanship listens to and follows the directions of the coach, realizing that each player’s decisions affect the rest of the team.
Communication – If a player has disagreements with the coach, the player discusses the disagreements privately in a civil manner, away from the public eye.
Responsibility – Designated leaders bear the responsibility of teaching the value of sporting conduct in both word and deed to their athletes. The use of foul or vulgar language is inconsistent with this responsibility.
Discipline – There is no place in athletics for taunting, embarrassing or humiliating an opponent or game official. Everyone must be made aware of the consequences when failing to abide by the acceptable code of conduct.
Humility – Sportsmanship understands that failure is part of the game. The player with good sportsmanship does not use the occasion to make excuses or blame. They maintain composure, learn from their mistakes and prepare for the next competition.
Self-Control – Sportsmanship exercises self-control with game officials during competition and refrains from approaching officials to address them in a disrespectful manner. Part of the human condition is making mistakes.
Joy – Maintaining a “Fun is Number 1″ attitude. If everyone is having fun, it’ll make learning all aspects of the game more enjoyable and rewarding. A good sport has fun because they enjoy playing the game more than the final outcome.
Rules – Part of good sportsmanship is knowing the rules of the game and playing by them. It is the athlete’s responsibility to learn not only how to play but how to play according to the rules to allow competitive games to be played in an orderly fashion.
Accountability – Coaches and athletes must live up to their own highest personal standard of sportsmanship, even when their opponents may not. Personal accountability and respect for one’s own standards must be your first priority.
Honor – The responsibility to demonstrate and develop character and sportsmanship should never be subordinated to the desire to win. The vital lessons and intrinsic value of sports are acquired through the competition and honorable pursuit of victory, rather than the outcome itself.
Excellence – Personal mastery, increased skill development, as well as performing to the best of your abilities are the hallmarks of good sportsmanship. Everyone can be a success because success relates to the effort put into realizing one’s personal potential.
Teamwork – Good sportsmanship implies that the player on a team is a team player. In other words, the player understands that his or her behavior reflects on the team in general. Moreover, a team player does not condone unsportsmanlike conduct from teammates.
Encouragement – Sportsmanship praises teammates when they do well and comforts and encourages them when they make mistakes. Criticizing teammates in the heat of battle simply distracts from the focus of working together and gives the advantage to the opponent who develops a sense of confidence when seeing signs of weakness or a lack of unity in the midst of the competition.
Gratitude – Coaches and athletes must understand that competing in athletics is a privilege, not a right. Be grateful for the opportunity to compete, be grateful for challenging opposition, be grateful for your skills and talents and never take any part of the game for granted.
Role Modeling – Modeling sportsmanlike behaviors within the sporting environment increases an athlete’s demonstration of sportsmanlike behaviors. Thus, what coaches do on the playing field or in the gym sends a message about appropriate behaviors to their athletes.
Rewards – Any behavior (good or bad) that gets rewarded gets repeated. It crucial that we recommit ourselves to guiding our athletes, reminding them what sportsmanship is all about, rewarding them for showing good sportsmanship and showing, by our example, that sportsmanship is still alive and valued in sports today.
Sportsmanship is everybody’s business. Everybody from the coaches and players to the parents and fans – we can all learn or relearn the principles of sportsmanship.
If young athletes are not exposed to the essentials of sportsmanship, and if we don’t guide them in developing a sense of good sportsmanship, we can all but guarantee that they will fall prey to the uncivilized conduct, which they see, modeled and reinforced by so many poor examples.
Sportsmanship is an action verb – it is something we must actively seek to teach and reinforce through our words and our actions at every opportunity because sportsmanship counts.
To learn more on this subject and many other lessons that count…be sure check out Everything Counts!