Referral Institute: Was It A Good Investment For Me?
Let's look at the evidence ...
POSTED BY JACKY SHERMAN ON 02/09/2015 @ 8:00AM
Someone asked me this week why I joined the Referral Institute. A more interesting question to me is what makes me stay in it! Has it lived up to its billing? Does it deliver for me what I want it from it?
The Referral Institute was founded by Dr Ivan Misner to apply his extensive research and knowledge of business networking, referrals and building communities.
The Referral Institute is a franchise, and it is fair to say that many franchises do not deliver for their franchisees what they promise. Equally, some franchisees have unrealistic expectations on what their contribution needs to be.
"Like all business what you get out depends on what you put in!"
Most people buy into a franchise as a proven business model to deliver particular goods and services. It is particularly popular with people who do not have previous business experience so want the structure and process of running a small company given to them.
Franchises attract people who want a product or service that they can deliver 'off the shelf' rather than design their own. It is also a way of punching above their weight as the brand is bigger than each individual small business, and that makes marketing so much easier.
So last, but not least, it gives them an accessible, ready-made group of like-minded individuals available to support them. The Referral Institute delivers these fundamental requirements for me and quite a bit more! It's that 'more' that inspired me to join, and it is the same more that keeps me engaged.
"We practice what we preach!"
Everyone in the organisation, from the President based in California to every trainer in every franchise around the world gets their clients using the methodology we sell.
When I first joined, I had to learn how it works, not as a trainer, but as a client. It has given me tremendous insight into the benefits of the Referral Institute's programmes, some of the wrinkles, what I found personally difficult and how to overcome that.
We talk a lot about 'immersion', which is the need to go over and over the material to gain mastery. Using it day in day out gives me real empathy with my clients.
However going to the USA and experiencing the leaders applying it to their own business was a real eye opener. It all appeared so effortless, so natural, though you could easily see the theory and skills that we teach coming through. It all made sense to me. It was superb experiential training in the field.
"The Academic evidence supports
I'm someone who likes to understand the theory behind what I'm doing. To be honest, I can be quite pig-headed about just applying something someone says, simply because they say I should. It usually applies when it's something I find hard or uncomfortable. It would have been so much easier to say "that doesn't work for me" and then stop doing it.
Now I knew that all the methods in the Referral Institute are evidence based. The material was built up over the years by the research and study undertaken by founder, Ivan Misner, and the personal development of the leaders and original Referral Institute members. Also, much of the psychology around relationships was in accord my own studies.
However, niggling in the back of my mind was a little voice saying "well they would say that wouldn't they? After all they are selling me this method!"
The application of behavioural styles using DISC was something I already knew and it was re-assuring to know that the Referral Institute had developed their take on this with Dr. Tony Alessandro who is a well respected social psychologist in this field and coined the phrase 'The Platinum Rule' to get across the message to treat others the way they like to be treated.
More importantly to me I recently read Adam Grant’s book on Give and Take with great interest. I talked about this book in my blog a few weeks ago. His book is a distillation of his own research and that of a whole range of other academic studies in economics, management and psychology on what makes some givers the most successful in their chosen business lives. I read this with a critical eye looking for agreement and disagreement with our philosophy of Givers Gain®. As he has no hidden agenda with our organisation, his evidence would be a highly credible endorsement or criticism of what we train. Whilst I was not expecting a large difference I was surprised how closely his findings were congruent with our methods including many of the subtler points.
"Our business material is adaptable!"
Our International community of franchisees includes a very wide range of business people who service an even broader range of clients.
While the methodology remains constant, how we deliver it and to whom varies enormously. It means each franchisee can build a business that suits their own lifestyle and personal needs.
Three examples reflect this:
One long-standing franchisee in the USA simply delivers the Certified Networker as a public series of workshops to large groups of small businesses three times a year and achieves a considerable income from this.
Another European franchisee has added the programme into his business development consultancy practice with large IT companies and achieves the same type of results.
My own practice is less ambitious as it reflects what I am trying to achieve. I like working with small groups or individuals and am not looking for high numbers of clients.
What drives me is making a difference in my local business community in Northamptonshire, working with trainers, consultants and professional firms that support other businesses.
"We share a passion to add knowledge and support to other companies, so we all thrive and succeed together!"
What's next for me? Now we've come out of the Summer holiday period, I am planning for the next 12 months. I intend to do more of the same and alongside that, I want to attract some other trainers and business people who would like to join me, or the wider Referral Institute community.
They will be coming into in an organisation that lives and breathes what we deliver to others, backed up with scientific evidence that it really does work and can be delivered in a way that works for them personally.
So if you know someone who might be interested in this type of opportunity, why not share this blog post with them by way of an introduction? They can also visit my website to find out more about me, then call me on 07970 638857 to arrange to meet up.
Until next time ...
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