One sunny day when my son was about 4 years old, I unobtrusively watched him play acting with his shadow on the living room wall. He waved his arms about, stamped his foot and then started to wag his finger ...
Suddenly I went hot and cold all over as I recognised who he was practising to be. You guessed it: "Mummy, when she's cross!" When we are children, we learn a whole repertoire of behaviours from others around us and we carry on learning this way throughout our lives.
So now my son is nineteen and I hear my words and see my gesticulations whenever he's cross about something. He learnt well. And his mother learnt something that day too: That children learn from our behaviours what we're not teaching them.
There is a whole literature around this theory of social learning, but three points stand out for me:
- Model the behaviours that we want others to copy on a consistent basis.
- The behaviours we are most likely to copy are those that hold our attention as we have to be consciously watching and perfecting the skill.
- To motivate ourselves, we have to perceive the outcome to be effective. It doesn't matter whether we have experienced it ourselves or seen it experienced by the others.
I suspect my son saw some real value in the outcome that I got in making him behave by telling him off. That day he certainly put an awful lot of effort into perfecting the 'telling off' skills I had modelled for him!
Now one of the many reasons I joined the Referral Institute is that this style of learning is embedded in the way we work with our clients. It is central to help my clients achieve mastery in referral marketing through our programme called 'Referrals for Life®'.
We model the behaviours we want our clients to adopt. This starts with us as trainers. We model best practice in referral marketing to generate our own clients, which means our clients get constant opportunities to observe the skills we teach.
We apply the philosophy of 'Givers Gain®' throughout our training. The emphasis is always on giving high-quality referrals. That way our clients' referral sources are habitually exposed to referral giving and, as they are the recipients of these great business opportunities, they are motivated to copy that behaviour back.
We surround our clients with others who have undertaken our programmes and are successful networkers.
The more each person witnesses good referral behaviours, the more they are likely to try it themselves. As a bonus, peer learning adds variety, as each person adapts the techniques to their own circumstances which others can then try out.
We hold their attention to ensure learning. An awful lot of what we teach is simple social behaviours. What one of my clients called "the blindingly obvious I haven't been doing".
So we work with our clients over an extended period of time, coaching them to be aware of the impact their behaviours are having on others and to be consciously observing and practising effective skills. We call it immersion.
Our clients have access to a range of workshops, events and one to one coaching over the time they work with us. This enables them to learn in the style and at the pace that suits them. Then the behaviours become "the blindingly obvious I am doing!"
We also measure behaviours and success to keep our clients motivated. It isn't easy to switch your time from promoting your own services to promoting the services of others on a regular basis. However, success is a great motivator, so we measure our clients' victories by working out who is referring them high-quality prospects.
We have a system called the Referral Scorecard that tracks our clients' giving activities against their own results and the results of their referral partners. Once they have learnt what works for them, they gain confidence and are inspired to develop those skills further.
My referral tip for you this week is to invest in learning the right skills to give high-level referrals and model these consistently to encourage others to copy your behaviours and refer back to you.
If you'd like to learn more about referral marketing then do give me a call on 07970 638857 and let's have a chat and see how I can help you.