Spending the better part of a career in an industry that involved managing brands and products and then moving to a service industry—management consulting– is a significant change.
One moves from a business or industry that focuses on creating brands, establishing brand position and then driving home brand awareness to a world that is heavily dependent on a personal brand and the subsequent business referrals created by that personal brand.
As I have discovered, the process and approach in many respects are amazingly different. You yourself become the product and you create your awareness through building relationships.
Early on in my journey along a new career track, I was fortunate (ironically, through a referral) to learn of an innovative business that helps teach professionals the science—yes, science– and the art of developing, managing, reciprocating and respecting the referral-based economy.
They actually offer a course in this art/science. And, I readily admit it, I was at first skeptical. But, nothing ventured, nothing gained.
I signed up for and took the course presented by SalezWorks. The course is led by Breandan Filbert and Joyce Laymen, two master networkers who refer to themselves as connectors. And that they are.
This course is intensive. It meets once per week for five weeks. Each session is 3.5 to 4 hours. It is interactive, small group in format and follows a strict course outline with a well-prepared and organized workbook. The course is called “9 Steps to Productive Prospecting.”
Plus, there’s homework. Lots of homework. Primarily practical, hands-on versus theoretical.
The end result is a very thought-provoking course with substantial upside. It’s a course that invokes a new and different perspective. There’s something really quite refreshing about that. And, to top it off, the course organizers are very strategic and intentional about the profile and makeup of the class participants. Everyone comes away from the program with valuable new business contacts and friends. Win/win.
6 key things I’ve learned in this course in exchange for my time and the program fee:
- Even in the referral process, setting goals is imperative.
- There’s a huge difference between being a business resource and being a referral partner.
- There are actual mathematic formulas to be used that can quantify the value of referrals, referral sources and, therefore, the amount of time to be devoted to the referral process as part of business development.
- In identifying a critical referral partner, it is every bit as important that you understand your partner’s business as well as they understand yours.
- Your partner needs to know exactly what you expect from them and what your primary client/prospect profile looks like.
- There’s a well-defined system and process for developing and leveraging a referral network.
The knowledge and tactics I gained during this course will have a material effect on how I build my practice.
So much for the iconic saying that “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”
Note: If you have an interesting and/or educational CEO story of Head Noise caliber, write to me at email@example.com. I’d love to speak with you and share your story in my Head Noise blog. You can tell your story either on the record or, without attribution.
Cameron Bishop is a partner with The Capitus Group. The firm provides comprehensive business value enhancement and transition strategy solutions. Partners and Advisory Directors comprise an experienced team of business professionals who have successfully owned, run, grown and sold companies. Capitus utilizes proven value enhancement and risk reduction techniques to enable superior transition options.