One of the most widely accepted forms of reaching others is through a referral, those personal contacts that can help you locate resources, build a business or become more successful. Referrals are the most credible way to get other people’s attention. You can either refer someone to another person, or they can refer someone to you. It is a powerful way to expand your network. The personal connection opens doors much faster. Beginning with today’s post, and continuing for the next five weeks, I will share with you the top tips on making referrals the right way.
Lesson One: Contact your associate first. When you try to put people together, or match them up for business or social reasons, call or email your main contact first, and ask permission if you can send this person to them. For instance, I met a business woman several years ago who was new to our city. She and her husband had two small children, and they lived in an eastern suburb. A friend of mine, also a business woman and married with three small children, lived just several blocks away from the newcomer. I called my friend first and asked if she minded that I put this other woman in contact with her. “Go ahead and send her my way,” she said. It’s a simple courtesy, and it shows the other person that you are considerate enough to think of his/her needs and desire for privacy.
Today, it is easy to call or send a quick email to contacts, telling them there is someone who you would like to refer to them. It saves them the embarrassment of being caught off-guard when they receive a telephone call from someone they do not know. It positions you as a considerate, caring person with concern for the other person. Before you make that next referral, call or email in advance. Your thoughtfulness will be greatly appreciated.
“What were they thinking?” we often ask ourselves as we read top news stories about public officials, celebrities, sports figures or highly visible leaders who thought no one would discover their bad behavior. At some point, they had a choice to make, and they made the wrong choice. If only they had done one thing differently: Think.
Think before you speak. Think before you act. Think before you behave badly. Think before you make advances. Think before you leave that voicemail. Think before you forward that email. Think before you take that photo. Think before you post that photo on social media. Thought guides our decision-making process. Our moral compass, our core values, assist us in making those decisions.
Clearly, these people knew what they were doing at the time. They just didn’t think they would get caught. Ego got in the way and they thought they could brush it aside. A cover-up or denial does greater damage and often ends careers and tarnishes reputations forever.
With respect to French philosopher René Descartes, let’s create an addendum to his well-known phrase. By adding the word “responsible,” we are all fully accountable for our actions. I think therefore I am responsible. What a concept.
Genuine. Authentic. The real deal. Isn’t that how you would like people to describe you? When you are in the presence of someone who is truly authentic, you feel a deeper sense of openness and trust. Let me share an experience I had while on vacation last week.
The innkeepers had recommended that my husband and I dine at a nearby farm-to-table restaurant featuring a limited, creative menu. Our server, Darren, had me at hello. He welcomed us with a smile that lit up the room and engaging eye contact. He was young and enthusiastic. Instead of the artificial, memorized meet-and-greet (“Hi, guys. Welcome to the ABC. My name is Darren. I’ll be your server tonight. Can I start you off with a cocktail or an appetizer?”), he spoke to us like we were engaged in a real conversation (because we were).
Throughout the meal, Darren would check in with us. He was very attentive to any requests. Since this was a Saturday night, my husband and I wondered if he had another “day job” during the week, so we asked him. His reply: “This is my full-time job. This is what I do.” He explained that he believes in the restaurant’s philosophy, that he has always been in the hospitality industry, working at restaurants or hotels, and that he loves serving people. I said, “It shows. It’s clear that you enjoy what you do. You were very attentive and made our dining experience very memorable.” He was genuinely grateful for our comments and thanked us.
What was different about Darren was that his passion for what he does for a living was crystal clear from the moment he greeted us. This was opposite of the experience we had two nights earlier with a server who flashed his artificial runway smile just to earn a bigger tip. The customer knows the difference between artificial and authentic…you can’t fake authenticity!
Thank you, Darren, for being the wonderful, authentic person you are. And thank you to all the authentic individuals out there who truly enrich our lives.