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Fire up your referral marketing plan

Longevity is a Key to Referral Marketing Success and Personal Branding.

I often run into people who are frustrated because they are not getting very many referrals. I then ask, “What line of work are you in?”  They tell me what they do and then I usually ask, “How long have  you been doing it?”  Sometimes it’s not very long.  I also run into people whom I’ve met many times in the past and I ask them the same questions.  They might tell me that they are currently selling mortgages, but the last time they were selling greeting cards, and the time before that they were selling security systems etc.

I have thought about this for a while.

Long term, effective referral marketing requires you to stick to it. 

I’ve been doing what I do for over 15 years.  I have run and built BNI networking groups in 7 states.  I have built a training company in five states.  I am currently the Chief Networking Officer and a partner in High Achievers and we are going global.  That’s just to name a few.  All the above professions have helped me to become a knowledgeable expert in referral marketing because they are all concentrated in the same industry.  Slowly, but surely, people in my network realize that I’m here to help people get more referrals and become more effective networkers.

Can you imagine the work required to retrain my network on something different?  I have over 50,000 people in my database and close to 20,000 in social networks that know me for what I do now.  Generally, my phone rings off the hook; I no longer have to look for business; it finds me.  This is huge!  (By the way, I do still actively look, but to maintain the status quo I wouldn’t really have to.)  Every time I think about starting that landscaping business, I reconsider.

I know the reasons why you want to change jobs or change careers. You don’t like what you do; you’re not passionate about it now;  times are tough; the industry has changed etc.  Pick something you love (even like will do) and stick to it.  Here is the bad news with whatever you choose: you will have bad days, bad months, bad years, and you will want to quit one hundred times but stick to it. To build a personal brand people have to continuously and consistently know to want you to do and trust that you are a  knowledgeable expert in your field. Malcolm Gladwell, in his book, OUTLIERS, states that it takes 10,000 hours of time before you truly master what you do.  If you are keeping count, that’s about 10 years. Ten years of training everyone around you on what you do.  WOW!

During those ten years, you develop your personal brand.  People will come to understand the area in which you are an expert.  Every time you change jobs, you have to retrain your entire network about your new job and that takes a lot of work, time and money.  Think about how many meetings you have had in the course of any career.  Now, add up the time to re-meet with all those people to retrain them on what you do now.  You basically have to do this every time you make a change.  So, find something you love and stick it out for ten years. In that ten years, you should provide great service, you should be good at your profession, and you should strive to be a leader in your field.  People want to do business with leaders. If all of these things are put into place, many quality referrals will follow.

So, when the going gets tough, stick to it and get more referrals!

See you in ten,

P.S. What do you do when you do want to explore other options?  Do it but let someone else be the public face.  You can have some fun exploring other opportunities while not diluting your personal brand.  Who knows you might just see me cutting grass one day.