6 Ways to be More Referable than a Edward Scissorhands at Lawn & Garden Convention

This post is working in conjunction with Duct Tape Marketing’s annual Make a Referral Week!

1. Circumvent people’s suspicions. Recognize that you’re beginning with negative balance with most people. Sad but true. It’s just the posture of the masses. People have been sold, scammed and screwed; conned, played and hustled; manipulated, used and marketed to for too long and their TIRED of it.

Your mission is to exert comfortable confidence. To lower the threat level. To prove to people that they aren’t going to be the first person to trust you. Otherwise they’ll show up plagued by an underlying unease. And that’s a brick wall you don’t have the time, energy or equipment to climb. How will you disarm people’s immediate preoccupations before entering your orbit?

2. Resort (not) to artificiality. People who do this come off like terminal try-hards. And their gnawing sense of inferiority fills the room like a garlic fart. Not exactly the type of orbit admirers are drawn into.

The secret is making the conscious choice to reassemble your posture. To assume a different pose. And to stand up in front of the world and put yourself at risk. That’s what authenticity is all about: Flirting with the possibility of people not liking who you are, accepting the reality when they don’t.

As I learned from The Velveteen Rabbit, “Once you are real, you can’t be ugly – except to people who don’t understand.” How will you authentically extend yourself this week?

3. Be a source of infinite opportunity. “Become a platform.” Those three words alone were worth paying twenty bucks for Jeff Jarvis’s bestselling What Would Google Do? Here’s how it works: You give customers, users and fans the control to create and improve your online content. You aggregate information and services.

Then, you enable your admirers to build communities, networks – even products and businesses – of their own, under the umbrella of your platform. Think Twitter. Think Facebook. Think Linked In. All platforms. All raking it in. Lesson learned: When you make a platform, you make an indispensible contribution. What are YOU a platform for?

4. Jump at every chance to declare the unspoken truth. Follow the advice of Dilbert creator Scott Adams: “Be completely and radically honest where most people would say nothing.” Simple, yes. Easy, no. The secret is to plant the seeds of love where fear grows.

In my experience, here’s the best practice for doing so: Speak the unspeakables to compel people to think the unthinkables so they’re disturbed into doing the undoables. How are you branding your honesty?

5. Increase your agency. I love this concept. Just learned it myself a few weeks ago. Increase your agency. Now, it’s got nothing to do with the FBI or Leo Burnett. Agency is about the state of being necessary for exerting power. The cool part is, agency is relative. It all depends on where your power generator resides.

HOW to specifically increase your agency is up to you. The only advice I can offer to support your process is: Don’t make despair your default setting. It’s timelessly unattractive and will slowly nibble your power away like a school of baby piranhas. Where are you unintentionally giving your power away?

6. Be willing to be crucified. I think it’s fair to say that Jesus Christ had a knack for being “referable.” And, among his long list of approachable attributes, I think it’s also fair to say that his willingness to be crucified – literally – served his purpose well.

Now, the odds of you, as a Thought Leader, being nailed to an actual cross and left for dead are highly unlikely. (Then again, I don’t know you that well.) The point is: Crucifixion isn’t about wood and nails – it’s about criticism and persecution. It’s about passion, which comes from the Latin passio, which means, “to suffer.”

The two-fold question is: What do you do that you are willing to suffer for? And what do you do that – if you did NOT do it – would cause you suffering as a result? Find the answers to those questions and you’ll find admirers drawing into your orbit immediately. No messianic complex needed. Have you taken up your cross today?

How referable are you?

For the list called, “7 Ways to Radically Raise Receptivity of Those You Serve,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur

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8 Ways to become Ridiculously Referable without becoming a Pushy, Self-Promotional Putz

Here’s a quick summary of every book, article or blog post ever written on the topic of getting more referrals:

Just be really good … Have integrity … Show up on time … Do what you say you’re going to do … Become likable … Earn people’s trust … Identify your perfect customer … Give referrals first … Ask for referrals more frequently.

Good advice? Yes.
Actionable advice? Not really.

If you’re like me, you probably want something more concrete, tangible and doable. A strategy you can (actually) execute TODAY that will help you become more referable – without coming off like a pushy, self-promotional putz.

Not just some predictable, vague platitude like, “Have integrity.”

HERE’S THE REALITY: You can’t make people refer you.

All you can do is actively create situations that will increase the probability of being referred.

Here are five ways to do so:

1. Whom do YOU refer? During a recent speech, one audience member shared, “I always refer my chiropractor – she’s great looking and has strong hands!” Naturally, I made an appointment immediately. So, try this: Make a list of five people you’ve referred in the past month. Then, next to each name, note the various attributes that made that person referable.

Next, re-read your final list of attributes. Rate yourself from 1-10 on each one. Finally, if you’re not happy with your current referability, set a goal to raise each category by two points in the next six months. Or, if you REALLY want to blow your hair back, email ten customers and ask them to rate you on those same attributes. You may be amazed at the disparity. How referable are you perceived as being?

2. Find your pure audience. “Put yourself in front of people who can say yes to you and deliver value first.” That’s the mantra of world-renowned sales trainer, Jeffrey Gitomer. And you better believe he’s made millions adhering to it. So, here’s how you can adopt this same philosophy to your own business.

FIRST: Identify a concentrated pool of perfect prospects that meet regularly. Associations are a great place to start. There’s one for everything.

NEXT: Find out what it takes to position yourself in a visible Thought Leadership capacity. Speak at their meetings. Contribute to their publication. Leave value-driven comments on their blog.

FINALLY: Create a Call to Action. Combine outreach with attraction. Ask these people to email or call you to receive additional value. Lists work. Ebooks work. Complimentary fifteen-minute phone consultations work.

In six months, you’ll have so many referrals you’ll have to hire an intern. How will you deliver value in front of the people who can say YES to you?

3. Stop referring selfish jerks that don’t say thank you. First of all, you shouldn’t be hanging out with those kinds of people anyway. Secondly, if someone you refer doesn’t show you (at least SOME) gratitude for doing so, odds are they’re not a good commercial for your business anyway.

And third, referring “zero-burgers,” as my mother likes to say, violates the trust someone put in you to help them solve a problem. So, not only does the person your referred look stupid, but you look stupid as well. And people don’t refer stupid people. Are the people YOU’RE referring making you look referable?

4. Keep the beat going. Growing your permission asset is the single most important secret to generating ongoing demand and becoming more referable. No matter what your business card says, you work in the name accumulation business. Period. Followers become dollars. Period.

Your mission is to regularly deliver value TO and continuously re-earn the respect FROM the tribe of people who admire and support you and your ideas. Period. Remember: When you build a following, you build a bank account. How many people are anticipating your marketing?

5. Offer less. Speaking of periods. Specialists are easy to refer because there’s no mystery. As strategic planning thought leader Robert Bradford says, “Every time you add a comma to the description of what you do, you suck a little bit more. Commas get gigs, but not repeat gigs.”

Lesson learned: Put a period after your name. Stick a stake in the ground, let people gather around, then do everything you can to prove that the stake is sound. Remember: The less you offer, the easier it is for people to refer you. Have you picked a lane?

REMEMBER: You can’t make people refer you.

All you can do is actively create situations that will increase the probability of being referred.

Well, either that, or you could just “have integrity.”

But let’s not get carried away here.

How referable are you?

For the list called, “12 Dangerous Doozies to Avoid in 2009,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur

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