Lose the bad apple

The bad apple. When it comes to referral some of us are our own worst enemies, don’t you think?

I’m writing in business context here, my young friend Ben had told me about a referral that sounded promising. Naturally Ben was upbeat about the connection and as is good practice, he followed up right away.

It turns out, this referral wasn’t picking up the telephone, made excuses via email and over the course of a couple of days the opportunity petered-out.

Seen it before folks? Here was another example of fast-track to oblivion in terms of referral marketing. Who was going to refer such a person after speaking with Ben? It’s true, bad news does indeed travel fast via word of mouth.

I did my best to reassure Ben that not all of his networking efforts are deemed to go the same way although I could see he was disappointed.

Trust is so important, Ben knows this, he had already made some great contacts so he could move on.

It’s six months now since I began working with Ben and his family as they establish the ‘new generation’ and over that time we’ve managed to avoid the unreliable ‘apple,’ determined the USP, covered ‘The Plan’ and worked on our ‘top ten’ attributes developing the dependable referral network … how do they compare with your own?

Attitude Do you have one? Ensure that it’s the positive kind.

Enthusiasm. Just like attitude, it’s contagious and brings out the best during networking.

Good Listener. Be sincere, how do you know what others want unless you listen?

Sharing. Share the knowledge, the good news and more, develop the relationship.

Trustworthy. Build trust by trusting others, sit down and listen to those new contacts.

Showing Gratitude. If someone helps out – that’s a great reason to say ‘thank you.’

Enjoy Helping Others. Some don’t ask it, so make sure you do: “How can I help you?”

Work Their Network …be on hand to support your colleagues.

Recommend others. Then ask them to recommend you.

Follow Up On The Referral. Nothing poisons the relationship faster than not following up on your promises. (Just ask Ben.)

Hey Charlie, that guy doesn’t bother me. He’s his own worst enemy and as far as I’m concerned, I cannot afford to be associated with him.”

That’s understood Ben just like your colleagues in your referral network.

Less trauma, less stress

Most in business understand that reaching out to new customers is key to growing the business and certainly contributes to our own personal development.

Some though, find that engagement through networking can be stressful, traumatic and in some cases, less than profitable.

So we shall keep it simple. Let’s take the stress out of PTSD.

There are just the three essential ingredients in becoming successful when networking:

Preparation.

Know what it is you want, know your audience, understand what makes you different and be prepared to ask for referrals. Work on the USP before you start your network journey.

Timing.

Once you’ve prepared, be there. All the preparation comes to nothing if you are not prepared to step out and engage your potential next best customer. Be Miss (or Mr) Consistent. Sure ‘being there’ creates its own opportunity through luck … although remember, the practice is called netWORKing …

Delivery.

When the time comes to introduce yourself, do so with confidence in your abilities, boldly outline what it is you are looking for, people will love you for it, show sincerity, don’t forget to smile … and be willing to ask for the help you need.

That’s it, work on the fundamentals as you invest your time in people and others will start to invest their own time in you.

The outstanding multitude of magic ingredients? These become more obvious over time.

The moon and the stars

 

Aries 20th March -19th April

Mars your ruling planet has been making you look at the way you are leading your life. Are you happy? Have things not gone quite as you would have planned? Are the people you are spending your time with your kind of people. The truth is something must change and while that may indicate some endings which are sad to release, it also gives you the freedom to take up on some very interesting twists and turns in fate later in the month. So, have no time for regrets, onwards and upwards.

Thought for the Month ‘A life half lived is a life half lost’

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Taurus April 19th April – 20th May

This month for many is a month of self-questioning; am I happy? Are you the right one for me? Inevitably these are questions asked when there is some dissatisfaction, Still, if we don’t ask them then we are just shutting up and putting up and is that living? No, it is not! Still when we take these questions to the right place our bosses our spouses and lovers even our children and friends. Further, we brave asking the tough questions directly then there is an opportunity for positive change especially now!

Thought for the Month ‘Strike while the iron is hot!

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Gemini May 20th- June 20th

It is often said the darkest hour is just before the dawn and it is true that we also often leave the worst till last. Well, as much as it may not appeal to you it is time to clear out the last of the serious stuff. Why because when you do you will feel a sense of relief which will lighten your spirit. Better still the end of the month brings in some exciting opportunities and some fascinating people and you want to be free to enjoy that to the full. Not least because it is taking you in an altogether better direction!

Thought for the Month ‘Clear the decks’

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Cancer June 20th – July 22nd

Relationships are on the front burner this month. It seems in some ways you are finding it difficult to reconcile the behaviour of another. Your values are different. Still, there must be compromise, is there compromise? If you know things are not right do not sit on the fence now. If it’s not working let it go. This is a time of opportunity but strides must be taken, bridges must be crossed and boundaries drawn. While this sounds final all that is good will bend, and all that is dead will break. It’s for the best.

Thought for the Month ‘Look where you want to go’

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Leo July 22nd – August 22nd

The first part of the month should be ideally focused on pressing practical matters. It is a busy time where the pace is fast and, the load heavy. While it seems as if this is a progressive trend the good news is later in the month romance and fun beckon you. This should be an exciting time that enjoys your full focus. So, deal with the mundane jobs early month and you can just relax and enjoy life’s pleasures. These have the possibility of leading you in an entirely different refreshing direction.

Thought for the Month ‘Luck is preparation meeting opportunity’

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Virgo August 22nd – September 22nd

For a while now you have been jogging along, doing what you are supposed to do. On the face of it keeping up your end of the bargain. But have you? Have you done what was asked of you or what you thought was needed? Even when we act in the very best faith we may have miss read a situation. Tensions around this now actually offer you a chance to sever some ties. Shake off some negative influences and please yourself. The time has come to move on in many ways.

Thought for the month ‘A change is as good as a rest’

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Libra September 22nd – October 23rd

Tensions are unavoidable as are certain disruptive individuals. Still, if you play fair in the games of love and war and cover all your bases. More importantly, anticipate the could be problems it is very likely that you will get ahead of the game. Better still despite the tensions, it seems what is happening for you now is opening better opportunities and times ahead. The secret now is to keep eyes on goals and keep battling through. This month efforts will be rewarded and make up for all the stress.

Thought for the Month ‘If at first you don’t succeed try and try again’

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Scorpio October 23rd – November 21st

While others may have plans to squash your dreams, why let them? This should be your motto for the month! The thing with somebody else’s anger, rage, hate, sadness or bitterness is just that; It is theirs and not yours! While it may seem unfair let it go, turn your back on it and just keep doing what you are doing. It seems the heavens have aligned some successes for you this month if you just keep the faith and carry on there are some very pleasant surprises indeed. The stuff dreams are made of!

Thought for the Month ‘Click your heels three times and say there’s no place like home’

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Sagittarius November 21st – December 21st

With Saturn in your sign, the tempo has been serious and finances have been a niggling matter for some time. Still this month maybe you should challenge certain individuals. Once you have you can see more clearly some of the underlying problems and do something about it. So, trust your instincts, follow your hunches and do not be afraid to act on them. What’s even better is that others will be glad you did too. This paves the way for better mutual understanding even if ties are broken.

Thought for the Month ‘Time to call a spade a spade’

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Capricorn December 22nd – January 20th

With a Full Moon in your sign on the 9th, we can expect to see some Capricorn action. While feelings run high it’s time to take a stand and make yourself heard. Better still talk your worries through with others as there will be as support around you and the resulting discussions could lead to some much overdue change. You have for some time now been restless with one or two areas of your life. What at first seems disruptive will soon result in a greater sense of harmony and balance, so go with it!

Thought for the Month ‘Trust the process’

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Aquarius January 20th – February 19th

An Eclipse in your sign on August 7th heralds in some exciting new beginnings. For that reason, don’t be surprised if July is about endings. Better still ponder that thought. What are you sick of? What must go? Who is boring? Where are you wasting your time? Then decide to make July a Feng Shui month. Clear the clutter and make way for the possibility. Change is just around that corner and the heavens are promising some very fine things indeed.

Thought for the Month ‘Change is the result of true learning’

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Pisces February 19th – March 20th

You have invested a great deal of time and energy in keeping certain situations a float. You have been disrespected, ignored, overruled and even lied to and it has taken a great amount of tolerance and lip biting. This month when things don’t go your way again. Just let go, while it may not be easy it is for the best. Better still when new opportunities present themselves you will be glad your freer to just move on with your life. Some people can’t be helped and like to assume the suffering role.

Thought for the Month ‘Some things are just best left’

~ Amanda Corrick

follow up … follow up … follow up …

 

‘How is business, Ben?’

Great Charlie, had a couple of enquiries last week which sounds just about right for business.

Fantastic – take a donut! What kind of work was that?

Well, nothing has happened just yet, I need to follow up.

Now I know many of you reading this would have been in this situation, and I don’t wish to sound churlish … but please follow up …

I shall when I get the chance Charlie, I’m rather busy just now …

Ben, put yourself in your referrers shoes, look at it this way … if the roles were reversed … say you asked someone to provide services or quote for provision. Would you take kindly waiting days for a response? How do you think this impacts the opinion other prospects may have of you?

Perhaps they’re thinking – or worse, talking: maybe Ben is too busy for more business? Perhaps he can’t handle our kind of enquiry … or worse – our business may not be suitable …

‘Maybe Ben is too busy for more business? Perhaps he can’t handle our kind of enquiry … or worse – our business may not be suitable …’

Ben, do it.

Think about it, you are working for referrals, on the lookout for leads that just may turn into business, it takes time. Then – as if by miracle, you are lucky enough to be handed an introduction to what sounds like ideal business, what is the first thing you do?

Follow up.

Ben, put the donut down and do it now … follow up the enquiry before the opportunity is lost, otherwise, all the time, energy and groundwork you have spent promoting your personal service have gone to waste.

Nothing undermines the relationship, the potency of a network forum more quickly than neglect.

Networking works, it’s simple, we pitch our interests, we develop the understanding, the relationships which lead to partnerships and trust and when the time is right we earn the opportunity for more business.

Follow up the business Ben, do it quickly and show your potential new client how you intend to fulfil their faith in you, how you intend to carry on.

It’s the reputation we are building Ben …

Now, I understand

I know what he’s thinking, I understand now.

How often have you thought to yourself … I know, just by looking into their eyes, what he or she is thinking, by simply observing body language.

Have you ever said to yourself:

 ‘I wish I had the words?’

Only to find out that none were required, a simple action was enough. Whether that’s a nod or a shake of the head, we understand on an intimate level at times where words are simply not required.

This moment of telepathy usually occurs with those you know particularly well. It may be a partner, child or even a pet and more often than not this moment of instantaneous understanding between humans is overlooked as simply ‘co-incidence.’

Wouldn’t it be fabulous if world leaders could communicate, engage and mutually understand through telepathy? If people had the time and ability to express how they truly felt if the population could send messages straight to the top without the diatribe and red tape that confines the clarity of sanity…

Fleeting moments of profound communication are wonderful for the soul and are just as essential for the business to understand don’t you think?

So, Ben had been having troubles with his presentations. Or he thought he was having trouble … he felt the message just wasn’t coming out of his mouth.

‘So much to say and unable to say it.’

Take your time to deliver Ben, be specific when offering the message, presentation jitters come to all of us at some point and although we have not yet mastered the telepathic message as some have with text or email, once people understand that you are comfortable and wholly committed to your cause, your message will soon become clear.

It is then we find that people do business with who they understand, those they know, like and trust … almost telepathically.

Comfortable vs remarkable

‘Hey Charlie, I think I’m getting comfortable with this networking ‘thing’ now. I do understand when you say that it’s all about spending time, being familiar with the expectation, you’re right, it takes a while.’

Good things take time Ben …

the key is to stay the course and following through.

‘Well, I’m managing the routine now, gradually booking the appointments and I’m learning, so feeling happier.’

I can tell that Ben, just by you opening up and discussing the situation tends to show you are growing in confidence, understanding the process.

‘The process?’

The referral process. This is your ‘realisation,’ Ben, others are beginning to appreciate you as they see you grow, they come to understand your character, ask your advice and how you work. Just as you do with others.

Just now is the start of the process.

Continue with the visibility, book the meetings, the one to one and understand your marketplace. Learn from others and keep the antenna flying for possible introductions for others. The more you help, the better your ‘bizability.’

‘But I’m just getting comfortable Charlie, I’m happy where I am now.’

Where you are is great Ben. Not too comfortable now though because ‘comfortable’ brings stagnation and this is something that should never happen within your network.

Stay the course Ben, follow through, continue your path. If you are happy then the ‘process’ is working.

Next step is to begin to lose the comfort zone Ben… go the extra mile and actively pursue business on behalf of others – don’t just wait for it to happen, be the referral process you would like to see happening for you.

Nothing remarkable ever comes from being comfortable …