Lead, or referral?

We’ve been there before haven’t we? You know, those situations when you say to yourself …

“I should really do that now – otherwise I’ll never get it done…”

My dear ‘other half ‘ reminisces daily … what Sue had forgotten today Sue was adding it to the mental list for tomorrow. I invariably chuckle at dear wife’s expense until recalling a story from a while ago …

Belonging to an active business community is a great resource. Especially so for the SME or self employed and for so many reasons. The instilled importance of supporting your like-minded colleagues takes a little while to sink-in for some although when it does, the ‘passion’ never leaves you.

Anyway, I too reminisce, I’d got to know Michael well through business and he was looking for a connection to ‘a local serviced office,’ it was a specific request for referral.

‘I know such a place that might be good for you Michael, here’s the address …it might be worth checking it out.’ I’d suggested.

My short journey from office to our network Forum was a weekly event, the same one I’d undertaken on numerous occasions. Same route, past the local recreation space, down the parade of traders, through the estate of industry, the local offices. I even had the same breakfast radio program playing on most occasions as I thought about breakfast itself. Absorbed.

It was the same journey for networking each week. The same deal, attend the meeting, meet up with the community, hear the requests and the pitch for business, engagement over a quick coffee and back to the car and back to the routine. Take some calls, windows up, radio on and route 1 to the office.

Then one morning – Michaels’ particular morning in fact, things were different.

Michael had requested a specific need.

My response … ‘here’s the address, check it out’ isn’t really what referrals are about. Is it?

Sure I had passed Michael a hint at business (lead) but to really help a friend out, I needed to go one step further and I now decided to do it. Not later, now. I’d take action today. So I found myself taking a minor diversion ‘en route to the routine’ and parked the car right outside that new office build I had mentioned to Michael.

I approached the reception. Asked for the proprietor and after introductions I passed him Michael’s card with brief details and suggested that Michael would be happy to help with any ambitions for growth some time whenever suits. Would he be happy to take a call from Michael?

On leaving our prospect I called Michael to confirm my action, suggesting ‘that it would be good to give our friend a call, as he was expecting to hear from him.’

Next week I’d heard Michael had indeed met up with the prospect and that business was soon to be happening. Here was a happy colleague, someone I’d consolidated as a referral partner, a guy who was working with me for the future.

I was happy also, I’d broken the routine and instigated change to make something happen.

“Working on the leads and turning them into referral is what so often transforms an ‘average’ networking experience into a mutually rewarding one.”

I’d gone that extra mile, how about you?

My best friend

“I’ve had enough.”

Many times I’d heard this from Alice and never really listened … now I couldn’t help but notice, as she uttered the words, the decibels were definitely a notch or two up on ‘the norm’ and I noticed also, she didn’t look particularly happy.

‘It’s too hard, they’re not listening to me, I’m not getting a return on my calls either.’

Alice is our sales lead, she is very good at her job, connects with people, emotive and knows when to ‘close.’ Alice is a valuable ally. Sales was something I was involved with some years ago so I could in part understand her frustration, although there was something else bugging her, I could tell, good at connecting yes, but I sense she’d lost the connection with herself.

Her ‘best friend’ was copping a verbal battering:
‘I don’t think I’m cut out for this, there is not enough consistency, I’m not getting the results and I feel like a failure. I’m just don’t think I’m good enough anymore…’

‘Take a breath, sit back, go for a walk and if you’re still not happy, change.’ I suggested.

Alice was not in a good frame of mind. Warily, I persisted.

‘If you are not happy, change … change something.’ I added.

Like most, Alice thrives in a ‘positive’ environment. If there is something in the way of our happiness then we need to consider change. So, we walked, we talked and agreed that we’d start from the beginning, realise the goal, understand she is successful, change the approach to match each individual day and monitor growth on a daily basis – if there was something that wasn’t working, we’d remove it and start again, we’d be pushing the limits for satisfaction, keep our ‘best friend happy.’

Why not try this test yourself?

Are you satisfied with where you are?
If not, what is ‘still’ the same – what needs quitting?
Consider the ‘next level’ of where you wish to be – and how you can get there.

Just like Alice … ‘Easy done!’ I hear you say.

Think of it this way … would you continue keeping all your money under the mattress if a trusted friend had found you a failsafe way of doubling your net worth?
Would you go to the gym and practice the same weights, day in, day out with the same routine and wonder why you are not getting the results you want?
Perhaps you are doing just what ‘you think’ needs doing to move ahead, although realising that you are staying in the same place?

We all have the opportunity for change at any given moment. To impact our ‘now’, our future outlook, our personal or professional goals for well-being and ultimately happiness.

Alice still berates herself (her own best friend) on occasion although she is now very much in control and even reminds me from time to time, being happy means to embrace change.

Blame it on the Greeks!

The Greeks certainly know a thing or two about life. After all, our entire civilisation was founded on Greek philosophy and teaching.

The following story goes back a way although not quite as far back as the early Greek philosophers (I’m not that senior) although it is thanks to the Greeks I now understand where this lesson came from.

Steve ‘wrote me a letter’ (did I mention this went back a way?) He was looking for a job in sales and wanted to break into my industry at the time – he fancied himself as a top-gun salesman and by the sounds of the letter he knew the business.

Out of courtesy I wrote him back and arranged an interview.

On the day we met it was evident Steve was not the picture of ‘traditional(?)’ suit wearing salesman. His stocky frame was draped in a jacket that was overly sized, the trousers were a tad short with unkempt shoes… and the tie – yes there was a tie somewhere.

There was a bead of perspiration over his brow that gave a hint of anticipation to our meeting. But hey, it was a warm day for the jacket(!) and Steve was here, he turned up on time, so we talked.

It seemed Steve had been out of work for a while, he was likeable, had some experience, he was locally focused and he was willing to prove himself.

Steve also had that most important ingredient we look for in any relationship, Steve displayed passion. Steve was so convinced that he could make a difference to our organisation and his own well-being that it didn’t take me long to offer him a trial working alongside one other, more ‘conventional’ sales-type … much to the dismay of ‘personnel.’

Ok, back to the Greek thing

Three ingredients make up any conversation according to our ancient teachers.

Ethos .. This is the character of the speaker, or person you are conversing with.

Pathos .. The emotional connection that you have during the dialogue

And

Logos .. The factual content that make up the conversation, the words.

The Greeks of old believed that to hear your message the listener first needed to positively connect on an emotional level before they even began to listen to what you had to say. If they don’t buy in to you, then the  message is lost.

Still with me?

OK, my experience working with Steve proved a most enjoyable (and profitable) time.

Although Steve wasn’t that archetypal salesperson from our kind of sector, (is there one?) he proved  passionate; he connected with the emotional. Steve is able to succeed by displaying an inbred passion for the job, passion for success.

The message has stayed with me. Everyone has a particular skill that may not be evident at first meeting, we simply need to give some time, don’t you think?

It’s about ‘people buying people,’  the Greeks taught us that one, Steve had simply reminded me.

shelly greece