Hey you, Mr Referable!

Referable? No such word.

More ‘business-speak/jargon’ from Charlie I hear you say. Although, if you’re in business then being referable is absolutely essential. Let’s look at what makes you so while understanding why the fundamentals are so vital for success …

Beginning with treating people as you may expect to be treated …

not to mention:

Are you visible?

What? It’s true, there are those out there that expect the business, that new best client to simply come ‘a knock-in’ on the door, out of the blue … just because you’re you … Nope, we need to work on the bizabilty (more jargon!) After all, there is any number of ways to be seen, some simply DIY in the world of ‘social.’

Do you know your p’s from your q’s? Yes, remember them? Those mirror images, the p and the q. We get what we give right? So let’s understand that there is mileage in good old fashioned manners, respect and etiquette. Let’s just call it p and q.

Thinking of others. Of course, it’s second nature to you, right? If we’re looking for referrals, think of those with like-minded ambitions, offer help and support and you will soon find that it’s reciprocal. Think business underdog. That was you once, right?

Doing as you say you shall? Following up. Well, that’s a no-brainer … innit? We do though, still hear of those given the opportunity who simply don’t follow-up. Isn’t it true that more business is lost through procrastination than by making the wrong decision? We know this, but still, the lack of follow-up by those who say they shall remain one of the largest obstacles to ambition.

Are you communicating? Some don’t. It’s true, they don’t call you because they assume that you are a mind reader … We’re supposed to know that there is a delay or that they’ve cancelled the meeting or the one to one. Lack of communication does not help the bizability, the reputation.

So, how is your reliability? Ask yourself this. Can we count on you?

This is the nugget, friends, your reliability is what makes you referable. If you are not readily visible and you don’t have the courtesy of thinking of others when the business opportunity arises … if you don’t follow up on the enquiries by communicating, then you are simply not reliable.

Unreliable = unreferable.

The gift, share it.

Life is too short! 

Heard that one before? At some point in your career, there will come a morning when you’ll awake and ask yourself, “What am I really doing?” It’s at this point that earning money by making/selling ‘stuff’ will no longer be motivation enough. However, if your answer to that question reflects a specific, greater purpose, you’ll have the energy and inspiration to continue, it’s your purpose.

How about your employees? Those you work with, or your co-workers, are really no different than you. They also want to feel that they are contributing to a greater good, something more meaningful than putting in the hours and earning the money. What’s different with colleagues, though, is that unlike you, the business owner, they may not have that innate sense of what the business’s purpose is. It needs to be articulated, so the whole of the company is of one mind, moving in the same direction for the same reason. Driven by purpose.

Your customers, what’s it mean to them? Will people buy your products just because your business serves a greater purpose? Generally not. Most people need to realise some kind of specific, tangible benefit from their purchases. So given you are providing benefits, many customers, especially new customers, the millennials are keen to look beyond their bottom line to support organisations that are cause/purpose driven …

Purpose. It has impact. Your community may be the rural outpost or the large city in which your business operates. Increasingly, our communities, our local surroundings are our world, all of which needs a variety of help. In many ways, business represents the best way to bring about significant change to communities. Bringing value through change is where the purpose driven organisation can benefit, a purpose-driven business generates an influence that in many ways are profound, much more far-reaching and impactful.

Your own Purpose? You know your compelling reason. Whether faith, community, legacy or your own personal goals. Either way, purpose is a work in progress. Share your gift.

It’s on the nose!

I’ve had a great morning, just cleaned the wheely ‘garbo,’ the bin. Treated her to a …

disinfectant and hose, she’s a little on the nose.’

Working at home is like that, isn’t it? I mean, it’s the flexibility …. we get things done when we want, we schedule stuff in like a walk with the dog, a leisurely breakfast perhaps or a visit to the beach before the day even starts.

Routines are good although being accountable, working alone and the routine for self-preservation, planning to make a crust can take some doing. A little balance is needed so I tend to work well in advance and ensure my diary is up to date. How about you?

Mulling over forward plans the night before is good for me. I do have a tendency to revise my ‘stuff,’ including the plan for the following day and it’s just as I’m falling asleep, evening peace and clarity brings some surprisingly good results.

Holes in the net?

The regular meeting I was due to attend this morning had been planned months in advance. A dozen or more like-minded souls from the Weekly Business Network are looking to put down roots for new referral forum. It has shown great promise.

Today though I awoke early to find that a half of the regulars had other ‘things’ planned. One was a family welfare call (fair play) always family first! Another couldn’t face the walk(!) someone else had taken a last minute order she needed to fulfil while another suggested it was going to be impossible to stop the car between regular appointments.

Couldn’t stop the car? For our appointment?

So with a net that had so many holes it was a no-brainer that any messages I’d planned during introduction were going to be lost this time ’round, and so I made decided to contact our featured speaker, advising him of our postponement to his presentation, did the same with the caterer, the venue and followed-up with our intended guests …

It’s great to get up early’ I thought to myself.

Networking. The regular contact with like-minded business owners is a great way to show your colours, your intention … a great opportunity to enhance the reputation, don’t you think?

It’s our choice. We can come up smelling roses or if you’re not careful the scent may be a little more repugnant. Think wheely bin … you may need a spring clean.

Reputable, reliable, referable

Is he reliable Charlie? Ben asks.

Do you know him well enough to refer him??

Fair questions. I thought for a single moment and realised that this time, I just wasn’t sure of my answer…

All in business have had times of dilemma, finding the reliable trading partners, co-workers and suppliers are part of that conundrum. Yes, there is an abundance of reputable offerings … but are they reliable?

I consider myself lucky that I have made some fantastic, trusted long-time connections through networking. We seem to ‘sing from the same hymn sheet.’

Similar to what was being asked of me now, think yourself, what characteristics would a potential business partner or supplier need to possess? There’s a good chance you’ll come up with a list of attributes (nearly) similar to the following …

Is there evidence of:

Like-mindedness

Product knowledge

Empathy

Not forgetting, a reputable name?

Connections

Reliability

What makes them so referable, to you?

Personal recommendation. Reputations are built on them.

You may be given an introduction to a wholly reputable business, someone who fits the bill, an organisation that tick’s all the boxes, even drinks your brand of coffee, but if that connection is more a ‘maybe’ instead of a clear yes/no kind of outfit then chances are, you’re going to hesitate in referring them.

There are many reasons we buy into our professional network and each of us has our own prerequisite when choosing to work with someone.

Personally? It’s reliable. If we’re unable to count on our supporters to be with you when it matters, then they’re certainly not referable.

So in answer to Ben? Sit down, take a minute, share cake and get to know what works for you both.

All I’m looking for …

All I’m looking for is the same as everyone else Charlie. More business, I’m looking for more interest in what I have to offer.

So what are you doing about that Ben?

OK, I’m online, I’m so social it’s become anti-social! I’m taking pics with my right hand and posting with my left. Likes, retweets, mentions, the lot! I even go networking, just like you, on occasion, when I get the time …

Ever think ‘balance’ Ben?

Anyone in business is fishing to some extent. The look-out for the opportunity that may just influence our business prospects should, as you demonstrate, be a constant part of our psyche. But hold on for a minute, don’t you think you may be overcooking the (anti) social stuff, just a little? Perhaps think about changing your fishing lure, think balance, Ben.

Quality over quantity?

Exactly, let’s cut down on the ambidextrous stuff(!) and concentrate on the quality of the message. After all, if you can help people with differentiation and what makes you different while spending some time on specifics, you may just begin to attract like-minded souls who may be able to help refer your offer.

Make your offer scarce Ben. Be that difference. Encourage your next best customer to come to you.

How do I define my difference?

Just as I said Ben, try and cut down on the blanket media messages. Be selective, focus on the ideal introduction you are looking for. Spend time with face to face networks, encourage dialogue, build the familiarity and the relationships. Ask questions, find your fit. Bring your character to the fore, encourage the trust to create the future opportunity.

We cannot be all to all people Ben.

Embrace the Process

The trouble with the process?

Here’s the deal … a friend of mine has just found a certain amount of recognition with a rock band he is working with. See Nervus.

I’ve known him a while, since he was a youngster and when catching up recently I was pleasantly surprised to see the confident young fella he’d become. As a kid he wasn’t particularly keen on the company of people, he actually went out of his way to be less than social, preferring the association of just close friends. His bandmates.

Over recent years though, association and experience have contributed to this development. Now here before us is a fellow who has learned much from his fraternity/peers. Being in the company of those close friends and colleagues, being part of ‘a band’ of people with the same goals and following a given process have contributed to his success.

Not that success has been plain sailing … after all, it rarely is for those who become successful. There’s time spent failing, falling out, picking up again. Time developing the trust and intent among colleagues.

Similar can be said for the process of networking for the referral.

Most understand that networking is the process of engagement, developing relationships, trust and partnerships.

For some though, the net just doesn’t work for them.

Many of us in business find that a certain hiatus comes along in most strategic processes until any significant results are seen at all. Success is dependent on such things as product, service, clarity. Persistence. Trust. It depends on the message, the transparency and the “bizability” – the art of being on the spot, familiar to your audience and available for business.

What does it take to be successful at networking?

Understanding the process. The trouble with the process … is that not everyone embraces the process. Ask Nervus.