Monthly Archives: September 2018

Keep Those Referrals Rolling In!

Did you know that a tiny part of the brain called the hypothalamus helps regulate things like thirst, hunger, parental behaviour, pain and pleasure?  It’s true and the hypothalamus likes validation, it registers pleasure in helping others and being rewarded for helping others.  In fact it’s the place for us to recognize we need to belong to something bigger than just ourselves.

So what you ask…

Well what are Christmas and the holiday break all about?  Helping and rewarding others by giving gifts and recognition to those we have worked with during the year.  We can satisfy the urge of the hypothalamus by giving all year around in fact!

In fact for good referrers it’s Christmas all year!

As human beings we are actually naturally wired to make referrals and it is a satisfying urge, which can and should be satisfied all year around.  Just because Christmas is around the corner doesn’t mean that business stops and that referrals stop as well.

In order to maintain that good feeling and keep out hypothalamus humming all year follow these five simple points.

  1. 1. Refer to Build Your Business

It’s true and we know that the more referrals we give, the more we get, so give referrals and watch your business grow.  Referrals build our social currency and bring us to the forefront of other business owner’s minds.  By providing a referral we make a little deposit into their referral bank account.  Eventually we will either be able to withdraw or be given deposits of our own.

  1. 2. Making Referrals Involves Some Risk

Again the hypothalamus monitors fear, so make sure that you have confidence in the person you are referring.  More importantly make sure that they trust you so they will be confident to refer you in return.  Trust underpins all referrals and business will evaporate if no trust exists.

  1. 3. Boring Businesses Miss out on Referrals

Back to that hypothalamus again, remember it registers pain and pleasure.  Make sure your business is a pleasure to deal with, make it easy for others to refer you.  Take the time to educate your contact sphere about the exciting aspects of your business that will make you or your product more saleable.

  1. 4. Be Committed, Turn Up, Participate

Consistency builds more and more trust.  If you consistently turn up at your local networking group meeting, participate fully, give referrals and do 1-2-1 meetings, other group members know that you are serious and will work harder to support you in return.

  1. 5. Follow the System

A fully functioning business is simply put a set of systems or processes put into place to reach a desired outcome.  Generating referrals is about following a system. Having a Relationship Marketing Plan is the key to a successful system this includes a referral marketing vision, clear goals and an action plan to make your system work.

Remember a happy hypothalamus is a referring hypothalamus!

© Lindsay Adams 2018.  All rights reserved.

Lindsay Adams is a relationship management specialist, he works with leaders who want to leverage the power of relationships, to lead better, sell more and build better teams.

www.lindsayadams.com

Lindsay@lindsayadams.com

Innovation Can Come From Within

As business owners we constantly need to be innovative in our approach to networking, referrals and relationships.  Heraclitus, the Greek Philosopher is credited with being one of the earliest creative thinkers.  Little is known about his early life and education, however he is regarded as self-taught, he was also known as the weeping philosopher.

He often said that delving into our own knowledge and intuition was a perfect way to gain insight.  If you compare this with our modern education system, there is little opportunity for reflection or insight gained from within yourself.  Our schools and universities are based on the “Gulp and Vomit” system.  That is you gulp down a lot of information and vomit it back out onto paper at the exam in the exact same words if possible.

As a result of this process we come to believe that the best ideas are those provided to us from within someone else’s head, rather than our own unique thoughts and musings.  Heraclitus would like us to remember that there are many good ideas in our own heads, of course if we are willing to delve into the recesses of our brain.

We can with practice, develop our own innovation style.

Here are six ways that you can delve into your inner recesses to access your creativity and innovation skills.

  1. 1. Pay Attention to the Details

Have you ever got up early on a crisp winters morning and noticed the beauty of a spider’s web as it glistens in the early morning sun.  Or what about the precision with which ants leave their nest and return carrying a load of plunder from their day or hours of foraging outside the ant nest.  How do they know where to go to find the food and then how do they remember to get back, often precisely retracing their steps back to the nest.

I used to do this from natural wonder, now I ponder the detail and use this talent to observe detail in problems or challenges I face.

  1. 2. Become Detached

The best way to free up ideas is to let the best ones go.  That’s right, often times we come up with a good idea, which we want to use no matter what.  We literally fall in love with it.  Sometimes the pathway to enlightenment is rocky and we have to let go of love!  Leave that beloved idea to one side and explore other ideas.  Only after we let go, do we sometimes find exactly what we had been searching for all along.

  1. 3. Find Your Blind Spot

The creators of the Johari Window, Joseph Luft and Harrington Ingham created a four-quadrant model about relationship awareness.  In one of the quadrants the Blind Spot, the two descriptors include that which is known to others, but not to ourselves.

Sometimes we are looking at a challenge or problem and we just can’t see a solution.  It’s at times like these that we may need to think of the Johari Window and ask someone else what is it that they can see that we can’t.  Looking at someone else’s challenge with fresh eyes is often enlightening and the blinding obvious stands out so clearly.

  1. 4. The Pressure Cooker Approach

The quickest way to cook vegetables on a kitchen stovetop is to use a pressure cooker.  It gets them cooked in half the time and makes the job easy.  If you are faced with a problem or challenge perhaps applying the pressure cooker theory may work.  That is set a short deadline and work hard and fast toward creating the perfect solution by the looming deadline.

This process works well with a group of people and the challenge to perform is often met.

  1. 5. Handle Rejection

Depending on the creative process being used, your ideas may be rejected out of hand by your work colleagues.  Be brave and let your ideas be tested, challenged and even rejected by others.  As part of the creative process, ideas need to be challenged, remember the best ideas often come out of a rejected idea.

  1. 6. Harness Your Ego

One of the worst errors we can make when we are searching for creative or innovative ideas is to let our ego interfere.  It’s our idea, so it must be good, it’s our idea, so of course it will work.  It’s our idea, so of course I’ve considered all the alternatives!  I’m sure you can relate to what I’m saying.

Let go of your ego, remain calm and go with the flow, you may be amazed at what happens next!

© Lindsay Adams 2018.  All rights reserved.

Lindsay Adams is a relationship management specialist, he works with leaders who want to leverage the power of relationships, to lead better, sell more and build better teams.

www.lindsayadams.com

Lindsay@lindsayadams.com

Identify Your Market, the Secret Ingredient for Relationship Marketing Success

Good marketing starts with a clear definition of your target market.  In fact, any good marketing text will tell you that it is crucial to identify your target market if you want to be successful in business.  You must know who your target is so that you can craft the best marketing message to convey the value you offer to any potential buyer.  Understanding your target market enables you to design the features or services that you will take to market.  This could include things like price, packaging, distribution and a range of other issues that impact on market share.

Put simply it comes down to three basic facts:

  • • Who wants my product or service?
  • • Where will they find them?
  • • How will I reach these potential buyers with such a compelling message that they will buy what I have to offer?

Doing business by referral revolves around generating referrals that result in closed sales.  In referral marketing the marketing message is always the same.  It all starts with a clearly defined target market.

Why is target market so important?

There are many reasons why target market is so important.  A clearly defined market will enable you to create word of mouth marketing within a specific buying group so that business comes to you.  How do you become known and get people to refer to you?

You could join a business group, trade Association or Club and build relationships with people within that target market.  You could write articles for that target market or offer to serve in a leadership capacity within the Association or Club.  As people in that target market begin to get to know you either personally or by your reputation and they hear good things about the services you provide, they may seek you out and buy from you.

OK, so you understand the power of word of mouth advertising, how do you use that to generate more business?  If you have the luxury of a small target market you can simply create a positive relationship based business by doing a great job and relying on the satisfied customers you have to spread the word about you among the rest of that target market.  Sadly, we don’t always have small and concentrated target markets like this.

Two very different people attended one of my sessions on relationship marketing recently, both wanted to learn how to get more business by relationship.  Both worked in the financial planning industry and understood the importance of doing business by relationship.  We’ll call them Planner A and Planner B.  We focussed in on target market.  It was easy to identify which financial planner was going to be more successful.

Planner A said their target market was anyone with money to invest and wanted a secure financial future.  Planner B had a very different perspective.  Planner B said they wanted to work with young professionals between the ages of 25 and 35 years of age, preferably couples with no children and clear financial goals.

Planner B wanted to work with people who were clear about their future and because they were in the same age bracket understood the issues and challenges they faced.  Not only that they knew that young professionals often had a habit of spending up big and not saving for the future.  This planner had lived a very basic upbringing and wanted to secure a sound financial future for themselves and was passionate about spreading the word to other young professionals in the same age bracket.  They were very clear on their target market.

Both financial planners were competent however Planner B had targeted young professionals, was more passionate and it literally oozed out of their pores.  Combine that with a clear target market and it was obvious that Planner B was destined for success.  This planner only had to work with a few young professional couples and I predict word would spread fast among the target market, bringing more and more referrals and of course closed business.

Planner A would have to pitch their services to clients everywhere hoping to find someone who will work with them.  They will not have the ability to get referrals from a clearly refined target market like Planner B.  Other than being competent they have little extra to offer to potential clients other than they are a generalist, rather than a specialist financial planner.

The message for business owners and sales people is clear, if you don’t have a clearly defined target market, you must spend time defining one.  With a clearly defined target market you will create a steady stream of referral business.

Lets get one thing straight, just because someone gives you a business referral, doesn’t mean you automatically have a sale.  This referral is simply an opportunity to do business with someone who you have been recommended to.  If you can provide the expected products or services that the prospect is seeking and they are satisfied with the process, then you may have the privilege of doing business again.  If you can’t get this first sale across the line your referral source will most probably dry up.

The issue here revolves around your ability to sell.  Anyone who has experience in relationship marketing will tell you unequivocally that sales skills are essential as well as relationship marketing skills.  In fact sales skills are needed in every part of the process, not just closing the sale.

Dr Ivan Misner the father of modern networking researched referrals versus sales in the early 90’s.  He found that thirty four percent of referrals made between business’ owners resulted in recorded sales.  An interesting statistic, not amazingly high, though significant for business owners in terms of the power of referrals versus sales.

Subsequent research by a university student replicating Misner’s original research conducted around ten years later revealed some more interesting facts.  Thirty four percent of referrals made between business owners resulted in a recorded sale.  Yes you are suffering from déjà vu.  The exact same result as ten years before!

What does this mean for business people?  Sales skills are important and some people are better at closing sales rather than others.  However one does not exist without the other.  You are thirty four percent more likely to make a sale if you get a referral and sales skills are an essential ingredient of that process.  There are countless avenues available today to learn the art of sales

The worst thing that you can do after you receive a referral is to be aggressive, indecisive or evasive.  The prospect wants and expects a high level of respect, service and professionalism.  Remember this is a win-win situation and the better you come across at this stage, the better it will be for both parties.  You get the business, they get the goods or service.

Once you meet your prospect, you have to persuade them to bring the sale to a close.  This is what people think of when you suggest the term sale.

Third, once you’ve made the appointment, persuade the prospect to buy your product or service.  This is the part that usually comes to mind when one hears the word “sale.” Integrity is paramount at this stage.  The prospect should know exactly what to expect: no hidden charges, no unexpected exceptions and no bait-and-switch.  If you’ve created a highly efficient system of generating referrals for your business, you’ll see a steady stream of referrals.  This doesn’t guarantee that you’ll be capable of closing any of them.  It takes sales skills to turn prospects into new clients or customers.

The message about sales in referral marketing is this: If you’re not comfortable in sales or if you haven’t been professionally trained, sales training is a worthwhile investment.  Keep this message in mind and it’ll serve you well in every aspect of relationship marketing.

© Lindsay Adams 2018.  All rights reserved.

Lindsay Adams is a relationship management specialist, he works with leaders who want to leverage the power of relationships, to lead better, sell more and build better teams.

www.lindsayadams.com

Lindsay@lindsayadams.com

I Get Lots of Referrals, I Don’t Need to Sell as Well Do I?

Lets get one thing straight, just because someone gives you a business referral, doesn’t mean you automatically have a sale.  This referral is simply an opportunity to do business with someone who you have been recommended to.  If you can provide the expected products or services that the prospect is seeking and they are satisfied with the process, then you may have the privilege of doing business again.  If you can’t get this first sale across the line your referral source will most probably dry up.

The issue here revolves around your ability to sell.  Anyone who has experience in relationship marketing will tell you unequivocally that sales skills are essential as well as relationship marketing skills.  In fact sales skills are needed in every part of the process, not just closing the sale.

Dr Ivan Misner the father of modern networking researched referrals versus sales in the early 90’s.  He found that thirty four percent of referrals made between business’ owners resulted in recorded sales.  An interesting statistic, not amazingly high, though significant for business owners in terms of the power of referrals versus sales.

Subsequent research by a university student replicating Misner’s original research conducted around ten years later revealed some more interesting facts.  Thirty four percent of referrals made between business owners resulted in a recorded sale.  Yes you are suffering from déjà vu.  The exact same result as ten years before!

What does this mean for business people?  Sales skills are important and some people are better at closing sales rather than others.  However one does not exist without the other.  You are thirty four percent more likely to make a sale if you get a referral and sales skills are an essential ingredient of that process.  There are countless avenues available today to learn the art of sales

The worst thing that you can do after you receive a referral is to be aggressive, indecisive or evasive.  The prospect wants and expects a high level of respect, service and professionalism.  Remember this is a win-win situation and the better you come across at this stage, the better it will be for both parties.  You get the business, they get the goods or service.

Once you meet your prospect, you have to persuade them to bring the sale to a close.  This is what people think of when you suggest the term sale.

Third, once you’ve made the appointment, persuade the prospect to buy your product or service.  This is the part that usually comes to mind when one hears the word “sale.” Integrity is paramount at this stage.  The prospect should know exactly what to expect: no hidden charges, no unexpected exceptions and no bait-and-switch.  If you’ve created a highly efficient system of generating referrals for your business, you’ll see a steady stream of referrals.  This doesn’t guarantee that you’ll be capable of closing any of them.  It takes sales skills to turn prospects into new clients or customers.

The message about sales in referral marketing is this: If you’re not comfortable in sales or if you haven’t been professionally trained, sales training is a worthwhile investment.  Keep this message in mind and it’ll serve you well in every aspect of relationship marketing.

© Lindsay Adams 2018.  All rights reserved.

Lindsay Adams is a relationship management specialist, he works with leaders who want to leverage the power of relationships, to lead better, sell more and build better teams.

www.lindsayadams.com

Lindsay@lindsayadams.com

Do You Feel Nervous?

Do you feel nervous, even anxious at the thought of attending yet another networking function.  Some people relish the opportunity to meet and greet a bunch of prospects that they have never met before, while others pale at the thought.

Having a strategy about what to do when you go networking is essential.  If you follow this three step process it will surely help

Step 1. – Meeting People for the First Time

The first thing to do is be brave, say hello and greet people warmly.  Hold out your hand and be prepared to give a good handshake, not too firm, not too limp.  Most importantly…Smile!!  No need to rush this part, take your time and repeat the person’s name, so that you remember it.

Next move is to start a conversation.  The easy bit is the “What do you do question”, it’s what comes next that a lot of people struggle with.

Here’s some suggestions on where to go next.  Ask:

  • • Tell me about you’re your latest project
  • • What is the best part about working in that field?
  • • How did you come to work in that industry?
  • • How did that idea emerge?

Once you have the conversation rolling, remember to use the other person’s name.  Hearing your name is music to your ears, make sure you use theirs and get it right!

Think about the audience who will be attending the function and prepare some questions beforehand, so that you aren’t stuck on the day for something to ask or say.

Step 2.  Keep That Conversation Rolling

The best thing you can do to keep a conversation rolling is to be a good listener.  Listen with your ears and your eyes, maintain eyes contact, show the other person that you are hanging on their every word.  The worst thing you can do whilst someone else is speaking is to be scanning the room to see who else is about that you may want to talk to.

It’s OK to ask clarifying questions and in fact the more questions you ask (within reason) the easier the conversation will flow between you and your new best friend.  Remember though not to dominate the conversation and don’t make your questioning appear like the Spanish Inquisition!

Remember to avoid controversial topics and above all respect other people’s opinions.  Personally I will never discuss sex, religion or politics in a public forum, it’s too dangerous and can lead to polarising opinion and souring of relationships.

Step 3.  Finishing the Conversation

Be careful to move about at a networking function, never stay talking with one person or group for more than 10 minutes.  Have a prepared conversation completer and then move on.  You could say:

  • • Lovely to talk with you, I think I will go and freshen up my coffee
  • • Lovely to talk with you, I see someone I must speak to, please excuse me
  • • Lovely to spend time with you, this is a networking function, I think I will go and do some more networking

Make the most of your networking opportunities.  Avoid hiding in the corner or propping yourself up against the bar or food table.  Move around, be brave and use the three-step process.

© Lindsay Adams 2018.  All rights reserved.

Lindsay Adams is a relationship management specialist, he works with leaders who want to leverage the power of relationships, to lead better, sell more and build better teams.

www.lindsayadams.com

Lindsay@lindsayadams.com

Communication is the Key to Networking

Are you interested in achieving more sales in your business?  Communication is the key to building key contacts in your in networking activities.  Networking is the key to building business relationships that bring those all important sales.  Now the most important lesson…”Networking is always about building relationships, never about selling.”

If you know what your business is about, you can easily build up a group of contacts from your networking activities.  People take notice of experts who know their “stuff” and don’t try to sell it on the first meeting or connection.  Demonstrating that you know your “stuff” works and people will want to hang around you to connect with you and do business with you..

People take notice of experts, people who clearly know what they are talking about and are willing to help others.  The beauty of this is that over time people will notice you and you’ll soon find that your network starts to work for you and your network will increase and you will make even more useful contacts.

Remember that networking is a two-way street and be prepared to share ideas and information which may help others achieve their goal and aspirations.  The amazing thing is that some of your most important relationships will often begin through casual conversations.

So where do you meet these people to make these casual conversations??

Go to meetings, events, training days or events where you think you will meet the people you could connect with.  It may seem for a moment that you are only meeting people just like you, however remember, they may be on the same journey as you, and may be able to engage you.

If you aren’t comfortable about networking alone, take a networking buddy, someone who you can promote, whilst they promote you.  There are a myriad of events that you can attend together.  Things like:

  • • Your industry Association events
  • • Your Industry Conferences
  • • Your Industry training or professional development events
  • • Your Industry Monthly Meetings

When you get to this event, think about your approach and what you will say and do. When engaging with other people at the event be open to suggestions and opportunities.  Remember to introduce yourself and your buddy to other people, exchange business cards, and of even more importantly, make a record of what you talked about and follow up afterwards.

There is no need to be fearful attending an industry event, amazingly a lot of other people there may feel apprehensive also about attending the event to network.  Never underestimate the power of a casual conversation and never make a nuisance of yourself, in fact it’s best to talk with people for no longer than ten minutes and then move on.  Finally, be careful about what you eat and drink, doing both to excess never works and will surely turn off your prospects.

Remember, your outcome is to have a meaningful conversation with someone and then meet them later for coffee, lunch or whatever to discuss how you can help each other in business.

© Lindsay Adams 2018.  All rights reserved.

Lindsay Adams is a relationship management specialist, he works with leaders who want to leverage the power of relationships, to lead better, sell more and build better teams.

www.lindsayadams.com

Lindsay@lindsayadams.com