Jacky Sherman

The Consultant's Consultant

07970 638857


Referrals: It's Not Who You Know It's Who Knows You

Are you memorable enough?



Ever had this experience? You're at an event and someone comes up to you and says ''Hi (insert your name here) ...'' and then starts a conversation with you; and you haven't the faintest idea who they are ...

When it comes to referrals, it's about who knows you! Are you memorable enough?

When it comes to referrals, it's about who knows you! Are you memorable enough?

copyright: racorn / 123rf stock photo

It's an embarrassing moment, and usually, you try to glean something from the conversation to remind you who they are and how you know them. The longer you let that go on the harder it becomes to admit that you don't remember them.

"And the more embarrassed you become!"

I was talking to some fellow networkers at an event the other day about this very subject and how we take on board the responsibility for putting the other person at ease by remembering them and blame ourselves for our bad memory. Many people have memory tricks they apply to help them remember individuals.

I also have a particular problem recalling names, but that is different as I know I know the person, remember our previous conversations and can feel their name floating at the back of my brain; I just can't bring it to the fore. What I'm talking about here is people who just haven't imprinted on my memory at all.

I always like to look at things from the opposite perspective. It makes me examine the assumptions in my thinking. In this case, why should I be embarrassed because the other person didn't do anything that made them memorable to me?

What makes me remember I've met the person before is if the conversation that I had with them had relevance to me. Now I won't insult people by saying this to them, however, I no longer feel embarrassed and am willing to admit that I can't recall their name as I meet a lot of people and simply ask if they can remind me of who they are.

Usually, once they say their name and where we met, who they are comes to mind. Sometimes I need further clues to our previous conversation though. I'm seeking the connections in my brain to find the memory.

I'm also kind, so will endeavour to do so in a way that reduces their embarrassment and takes our conversation forwards. After all, it takes courage to go up to someone you obviously don't know well and pick up the conversation.

The art of networking is to form relationships for mutual support in business. If either side is feeling put out or embarrassed then the relationship won't even get off the ground.

So save yourself and your fellow networkers embarrassment and ensure they remember you the next time you meet. After all, if they don't even remember having a conversation with you, then they are most definitely not thinking of referring business your way.

So how do you increase the chances that they will remember you?"

Firstly, a reassuring note. To be memorable you do not have to be the life and soul of the party, dress outlandishly or be the loudest or most vocal person in the room. You want these other people to remember you for who you are. If you like to stand out in the room, then do so; if you prefer quiet conversations, that's OK too.

Whatever your style, I have just one tip for you to become memorable. Focus on the other person, find out what they do and what their passions are. It may seem counterintuitive, but if you make the conversation relevant to them, they will remember you.

Sure, learning about them may make them more memorable to you, but how does it make them remember you in return? Well, this is a conversation about getting to know someone, so you are looking for the common ground. It may or may not be related to their job, or yours so have conversations that flow naturally from what the other person says.

"Once you've found common ground, add your take on that subject!"

For instance, will I remember you because you provide business coaching or that you're a motorhead just like me? And does that shared passion make you more likely to remember me and recall our wider conversation? That came out of the typical English opening gambit with someone talking about the weather and a response about how wet they got at Silverstone at the week end.

Unless the common ground is really a passion, it may not be enough to get you remembered. If you want this person to know you when next they see you, don't just leave the conversation there. Do something for them to follow-up.

Returning to the coaching example, I'm not ready from just one conversation to refer you as a coach, but I want us to get to know each other first. I may offer to meet for a coffee, introduce you to other business people with similar interests or clients, invite you to an event you might be interested in, or maybe just send you a link to a funny clip on Youtube about women in motorsport. Remember the point is to have a second conversation and start to grow the relationship.

And finally, don't be embarrassed by those encounters with someone you cannot remember. Why not treat it as a second opportunity? They obviously remembered you and took the time to come over and speak to you.

"Maybe it's time to dig a bit deeper and see what the opportunities might be if you got to know this person better!"

If you'd like to know more about referral marketing, networking and relationship building to benefit your business, call me on 07970 638857 or click here to ping over an email and let's see how I can help you.

Until next time ...


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07970 638857