Jacky Sherman

The Consultant's Consultant

07970 638857


Referral Marketing Is Actually Really Simple

When it becomes just the way you do business ...



Last month, I finished training a group through my Certified Networker course. 12 half days of giving them the right information has resulted in each of them having a Strategic Referral Marketing Plan that they are already putting into practice ...

Immersion in the material is what moves you to Unconscious Competence.

Immersion in the material is what moves you to Unconscious Competence.

We met up for the first follow up session last week. Their observations prompted my blog post this week. All are saying "no more new information please. I need to get my head around what we've already done. I need to do it now". However one of them said "I find I'm beginning to just do it naturally".

So what's happening for these people? They are going through the four stages of learning a new skill that was first identified by Noel Burch at Gordon Training International in the 1970's.

It explains why so much training stays in the training room and never gets put into practice. Burch identified that you can look at this through two concepts - competence and consciousness. Let's walk up the arrow in my diagram to see how this resonates with my clients' experience.

  1. In the dark

    Before anyone will even attempt to learn a new skill, they need to acknowledge that they don't know what they don't know! Before that, they are (according to Burch) unconsciously incompetent.

    They do not understand or know how to do something and do not necessarily recognize the deficit. They may deny the usefulness of the skill. The individual must recognise their own incompetence and the value of the new skill, before moving on to the next stage. One of my clients put it beautifully when he said "I thought I knew about networking until I went on one of Jacky's introductory courses."

    This is, of course, why I write this blog and run a series of short introductory workshops - to help people move out of the dark and recognise that maybe they aren't getting the referrals they seek because they don't have the necessary knowledge and skills.

  2. The light has dawned

    Now, to quote Burch again, they are "conscious of their incompetence". Now they know what they don't know and they need to know what it is that they don't know. So the process is one of enlightenment that goes "Aha! so that's what I needed to know. How to plan a referral marketing strategy and what will work and what will not."

    This regular blog is designed to help give people some of that knowledge. Week by week, I give people tips on referral marketing. Again, my short workshops add to their knowledge and for some, this is sufficient to fill in the gaps in their knowledge.

    Others then acknowledge that they need to know more and come on my Certified Networker course. All of my clients have been on one of my short workshops and one said that reading this blog each week had persuaded him that there was still more to learn.

  3. The Plan is in place but ...

    My cohort of clients now have the right knowledge and have written their referral marketing plan. They are now competent in putting that into practice. They have discovered that Referral Marketing is actually quite simple.

    They have also discovered that it is not easy! They are still having to consciously think about applying it in their business. My clients often say at this point that they don't have time to do their referral marketing and find weeks go past when they have been distracted by other things that are going on in their business, so haven't applied any of it. Some even say "that was great, but it doesn't work for me!"

    These are features of 'conscious competence'. It takes effort, concentration and discipline to remember what you have to do. Hence the plea of "no more information please!" This is where the immersion comes in. The clients who stay on and join our Referral for Lifeā„¢ community sign up to keep coming back to more workshops, support groups and events, not necessarily to add new information, but to imbed what they have learnt and to practice, practice and practice it.

  4. So they can say...

    "It's just the way I do business." The knowledge and skills are now hard wired into their brains in the same way as they know how to drive a car or ride a bicycle without thinking about it.

    This is when our clients just naturally fit referral marketing into the day-to-day activities of running their business and they achieve a consistent - and persistent - flow of their ideal clients without seeming to try too hard.

My tip for this week is to have a Referral Marketing Plan that immerses you in the right knowledge and methods and allows you to refine your skills, so that referrals just become the way you do business too.

To learn how I can support you to achieve this, why not call me on 07970 638857 and let's have a conversation about referral marketing and how I can help make you unconsciously competent at it!

Until next time ...


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07970 638857