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Thursday, May 05, 2005

How To Reign In Life As A Referral King (or.. Queen)!

You are a powerful person of influence and I should know who you are. If I am speaking to a CEO, then this is not a preposterous statement. However if I am speaking to a customer service representative of a small coffee shop, then you may think that I'm talking to the person behind you. Let me assure you that no matter your station in life, this statement holds true. You have in your ability to reign as a "referral king" (or "queen") and reap untold fortune by leveraging your network of important people. As such, you have at your disposal a goldmine of job leads to exploit. Is that a yawn I hear? Let me read into your mind. "Jim," you say to yourself, "What can you tell me about networking into a job that I don't already know?" I'm glad you asked that… If you would permit me, I would like to detail a formula (a secret sauce if you will) for becoming a magnet for job leads. This formula will work for the seasoned Harvard MBA professional and Car wash attendant alike. Sound incredible? It's not and I will prove it to you.
  • Set up a vanity domain name. Nothing too fancy, your name is enough (for example, www.jimstroud.com). You can also opt to go for something catchy like www.computerguy.com. I suggest using a name that people most commonly refer to when they think of you. Usually that is your name, but for some folks… its "Computer Guy." Do whichever you are most comfortable with.
  • Create a list of everyone you know socially, professionally and casually. Detail their professions, the last 3-5 companies they worked for and their hobbies or interests. Also find out what their dream job would be and the kind of people they would like to be.
  • Create a list of personal recommendations. Write down your favorite restaurant, favorite types of movies, music, celebrities you admire, et cetera. The more you can think of the better.

Now comes the fun part, add to your domain a webpage that advertises your professional background, say… a resume page for example. (It does not have to be fancy.) Now add a link to your resume page called "Personal Recommendations." On your personal recommendations page list:

  • The kinds of people you have contact with professionally, socially and casually.
  • Lend your opinion to hobby-related items. For example, if you are an avid runner mention that you know the best paths for running in Atlanta (or wherever you reside).
  • Mention that you are looking to refer people to your contacts all the time and as such, you are seeking those individuals with a background in X. Better yet, how about stating, "I have a contact in Atlanta looking for a lead into Telecom companies. He has 15 years experience in sales. Want to meet him? Let me know!"

What does this information do? It lets people know what leads you can offer. It gives people a way to possibly connect with you beyond business referrals. (How much more comfortable would you be with someone if you shared an interest?) Thirdly, it makes you attractive to other referees who see your genuine effort to help others.

Once all this is done, contact as many recruiters you can that service the industry that you excel in. Upon contacting them, advise them that you are not necessarily looking for a job. Rather you are offering to them your free referral services. As you have X number of years in a particular industry and as they (the recruiters) also serve that industry, knowing you is of immediate and future benefit to them. Now if you have sold your "referral service" adequately enough, you would be among the first to hear about unadvertised jobs in your industry. Why bother with advertising (and associated costs) when they can just call you? (You like that? Me too!)

Now consider this! This technique is a golden opportunity that helps YOU out in two other very important ways. First and foremost, everyone appreciates a good lead (business, job, restaurant recommendation, etc.) and it costs you nothing to give one. However if you recommend things long enough and people tend to appreciate your information, you become somewhat of a person everyone needs to know. Think about it, who do you call when considering a video rental? Everybody seems to know at least one movie-fanatic who has seen it all and loves to tell about it, right? Is that you? If so, then you have positioned yourself as an expert on movies and your opinion counts more than the occasional movie-goer. (If you were to brand yourself as a giver of job leads, particularly in a niche area, then I dare say that you will become quite popular very fast.)

Secondly, you are solidifying relationships with those in your network as you produce leads for them! Like I said, everyone wants to know who there is to know and where the best place to be is. As you give out that information, people will thank you for thinking of them. This also gives incentive for them to think more of you and the leads that you want to receive. (Pretty cool huh? Yeah, I thought so too…)

If you are someone who after gathering names and creating leads are less than happy with what you have to offer (although I can not emphasize enough the power of knowing people on every level), I suggest getting out there and meeting new people. If you are a social butterfly, then this is not a problem. If you start to sweat when trying to approach someone in public however, I would like to suggest a different strategy.

Online personals (such as One and Only) are a good way to meet people when you are shy. Think of it this way, you want to place yourself in the best possible situation. Everyone involved in personals are looking to meet other people and chances are, they know people who know people. Quite possibly the people they know are people that can benefit you and/or your network. There are no worries about immediate rejection as mostly you chat by email. If you are single, I highly recommend this approach. Its fun and you might even get a wife out of it. (I did!)

Are you feeling powerful yet? If not, you will once you realize the influence you presently have within your network of contacts and as people seek you out for referrals. Once this happens you will be eligible for crown, cape and signet ring. The knights of the round table would stand at your entrance. Horns will blow and rose petals would fall because his/her highness has arrived with generous referrals for those weary peasants who happen into their domain.

Comments: Post a Comment

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