Working with the Referral Institute
What's in it for me?
POSTED BY JACKY SHERMAN ON 25/05/2016 @ 8:00AM
It was a big decision when, just over four years ago, I decided to buy a franchise in the Referral Institute, but I was already a client so knew that the material was first class ...
I've been working with the Referral Institute for over 4 years now!
copyright: vapi / 123rf stock photo
As one of my clients reminded me the other day, "It was one of my best decisions to come on your course Jacky as it resulted in more business".
"If that was all there was to it I could have just stayed a client!"
What appealed to me was that I'd be joining an international community of like-minded people, delivering top-drawer, gold standard programmes that really make a difference to people's lives which was my number one reason for why I am in business in the first place.
But has it lived up to those expectations? Well, my life has certainly changed for the better, as has most of my clients. In a nutshell, I think the biggest difference I make to a client, apart from the obvious one of making them more money, is eliminating the hassle and enabling people to run their business in a way that works for them.
Many franchise models in business development have a one size fits all approach. I am able to adapt the methods so that clients work at the pace and in the style that suits them.
So sometimes, I'm giving people quick fixes, and at other times, I'm working with them long term. Whatever the situation, together, we're eliminating time wasters and focussing on finding more of their ideal clients. The people they want to work with.
"For me personally, I love the fact that I get to play too!"
As the consultant and coach, I model the techniques we use. It has made finding business fun and I get to work with the sort of people I want to work with. I get to mix with loads of different people playing my favourite game: connecting people with people and watching relationships blossom.
One thing I love is when great coincidences happen through this. Recently, I Introduced someone (considering taking up business consultancy) with one of my clients who shared his journey in how he set up a successful consultancy practice.
Guess what? His brother used to work in the same firm with my new contact in America. Isn't it a small yet powerful world we live in? It truly is the global business network!
Now I will confess that I am a bit of a butterfly, always seeking out the latest and newest thing. It's easy to get caught up in the latest fad, what I used to call when I was in the public service, 'Initiativitis' which is about constantly moving on and never embedding anything. It really is easy to be a busy fool doing this.
The Referral Institute has helped me in two ways to stop this. Firstly it gave me structure, processes and boundaries to keep me on track, and it gave me the evidence to support it.
As anyone successful in sales will tell you, winning business is a process and referral marketing is no different. It is a systematic process of winning a continuous flow of new business through personal introductions. Our Referrals for Life programme takes our clients step by step through that process and I follow those steps myself.
Now many of my clients are winning business through their networks and we have a system for achieving this. I get deep satisfaction working with these people who already understand the concept. But what do I add? Often it is simply tightening up a step in their process. It usually comes out in a conversation or workshop when they have an "Aha Moment".
A recent example was a client from the financial industry who realised he was missing out a whole tranche of potential referral sources by focusing his networking only on other people in the financial sector. What about all the other people who also had access to his target market for completely other reasons?
"Aha! I know what to do next!"
In this Internet Age, we are awash with 'experts' and 'gurus' and even 'ninjas' selling us the latest fad for business, be it a webinar, an ebook or an actual seminar. Everyone is trying to be different from everyone else, present their Unique Selling Point and offer their magic bullet to business success.
Most of it completely unsubstantiated. I didn't want to be one of them, I wanted to deliver something that was backed up with independent evidence. Something where I have the confidence that this is not just one man or woman's personal theory.
I have yet to find something in our material that I cannot relate back to hard scientifically researched independent material, either in business writing or in the psychology of relationships.
A great example of this is our principle of 'Givers Gain®'. In essence, I give you actual business and that will motivate you to give business back to me, but with a twist: we build the trusting relationship first and identify that we can (and want) to help each other.
A good independent source for the research behind this is Adam Grant in his book Give and Take. In writing this I recognised that all these are great reasons to buy into the Referral Institute.
However, what made me take the final decision is the emphasis on developing deep and trusting relationships. This has been born out over the last few years and never more so than in the last 6 months.
Initially an outsider to the local business community, I now have people who I can turn to for help and who know they can turn to me in return. And I mean real trust and support, not just fair weather friends.
I've seen clients and other members of my network through sticky patches when they thought their business wouldn't survive and these same people were there for me last year when illness struck.
"The Referral Institute franchise community has also been incredibly supportive!"
To celebrate my four years in the franchise, and to thank all those wonderful people, clients and fellow networkers it was easy to get two of the National and International leaders in the Referral Institute to come and run a Master Class for my network this summer.
As I write this blog post, I have just started to promote this event and within the first 24 hours, six of my top referral partners said yes! They'll come and bring their top referral sources along too. That way our business community will go from strength to strength.
So what's in it for me? Well, The Referral Institute gave me a community that I can call upon to help me in business which is at the heart of the reason I am in the business. Behind it all, as Mike Macedonio (Referral Institute President) says, "it's not just a business, but a lifestyle".
That works for me.
Until next time ...
More about Jacky Sherman ...
I help people build and maintain productive working relationships both with their work colleagues and with a wider network to win more business. I do this by combining my skills in coaching, mediation and training with my extensive experience in senior management.
What I love most about my work is when my clients get those â€œahaâ€ moments because I know they have seen for themselves the way that they want to move forward. Then they will achieve their ambitions.
Helping people who are having challenges with their working relationships gives me enormous pleasure. It was my privilege when working in health care to see how people working together can make the impossible seem easy and accomplish miracles as a result.
So helping people build or restore strong relationship with their colleagues makes even the hardest work easier, alleviates distress for the individual and reduces problems for the whole organisation.
In all this work trust is an essential ingredient to winning business so most of my work comes through referrals. Referrals come through strong business relationships so it was a natural extension for me to work with Ascentiv and train others in how to get consistent and predictable referrals from their network.
What a fantastic way to earn a living!
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