“Don’t Make the #1 Mistake that Kills Most Referral Relationships and Power Teams Before They Ever Start!

January 22, 2013

By Lee Abraham

We’ve all heard the cliché, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions!”

deal with the devilWhether we like them or not, a cliché stands the test of time because it is an expression of truth.  Sometimes the truth is obvious, other times it is elusive and counter-intuitive.

In business networking, the “good intentions” cliché applies to referral relationships, and is particularly meaningful in the formation of a Power Team.

Typically, Power Teams are formed by a group of people, usually from the same industry group, who have the best of intentions. After all, they like and trust and each other, and want to help build each other’s business. Based on the idea that they often work for clients who could be cooperatively passed back and forth as non-competing referrals, the Power Team partners get together to brainstorm and make a commitment to help each other make more money.

What could be wrong with that?

In the beginning, there’s nothing wrong in gathering with like-minded individuals who want to help each other. The problem arises when the initial excitement wears off and the commitments made fail to materialize into results because there is no plan in place to transform the group’s good intentions into action.

Two Critical Steps

In their eagerness to pass business back and forth, Power Teams invariably repeat the #1 mistake that kills most referral relationships before they ever start by skipping over two critical steps in what my research has shown to be the “4 Stages of Power Team Development.”

money stairsI’ll cut to the chase. The first step to building successful referral relationships is to prepare yourself to go out and train your referral partners, or “Bragging Buddies,” to create high quality referrals for you.

During this first stage of Power Team “Boot Camp,” you should have two goals: to simplify the description of your targeted prospects, making it easier for your Bragging Buddy to recognize referral opportunities for you, and to clarify your message of why you and your product or service are special, which empowers your Bragging Buddy give more compelling testimonials about you.

Once you’ve completed boot camp, you’re ready for stage two, training your Bragging Buddy to recognize opportunity and give compelling testimonials. After all, what good is a referral partner who is excited and full of good intentions, but doesn’t know what to look for or what to say?

The Rest of the Story

With steps one and two in place, a group of properly trained Bragging Buddies are now ready for stage 3, getting together as Power Team Pioneers, excited and prepared to transform their collective good intentions into action as Power Team.

Makes sense, right? Lacking a clear roadmap to follow, the vast majority of Power Teams not only skip over stage one and two, they fumble through stage three as Power Team Pioneers and sadly, have no idea about stage four as an Advanced Power Team.

In the end, even the best of intentions unfortunately fade away, leaving only frustration, disappointment, unfulfilled hopes and dreams, and worst of all, a huge stack of money on the table.

Want to fulfill your hopes and dreams? Visit www.moneyonthetablebook.com and learn how to claim your money on the table with an easy-to-follow Power Team Roadmap™!


Wag More, Bark Less & Refer Often: The Pet Lovers Power Team!

September 2, 2012

by Lee Abraham

People who love pets are a special breed. For many animal lovers, their dog, cat, bird, fish or horse is like a child, something very near and dear to their heart to be nurtured, protected and appreciated.

As a result, pet lovers are often:  

  • Purchasing products and services from pet themed specialty vendors
  • Attending pet themed events
  • Reading pet themed websites and magazines
  • Easily recognized in public

Animal House

A huge market of “animal lover” consumers with motherly or fatherly emotions and spending habits toward their pets and a vast assortment of products and services from pet themed specialty vendors create a huge opportunity to leverage a Pet Lovers Power Team!

Dog & Pony Show

Here are 10 business categories with relevant products and services for pet lovers:

  1. Pet Sitter
  2. Pet Groomer
  3. Pet Trainer
  4. Pet Food
  5. Veterinarian
  6. Pet Supplements & Medications
  7. Pet Supplies
  8. Pet Therapy/Chiropractic
  9. Pet Boarding
  10. Pet Portraits

Beyond Pet Products: Share the Love

As a group, the 10 businesses listed have multiple opportunities to systematically promote each other’s pet themed products and services to create an ongoing stream of referrals.

Further, the Pet Lovers Power Team can also promote networking partners in non-related business categories but who also love pets, such as a realtor, personal trainer, event planner, business coach, or automobile mechanic. With systematic and relevant promotion by a trusted vendor from the Pet Lovers Power Team, these non-related, but pet friendly businesses will also enjoy an ongoing stream of referrals. 

Do you love animals? Learn to wag more, bark less and refer often with the Pet Lovers Power Team! 

 


Bragging Buddy Selection and the 5 Deal Breakers

August 7, 2012

by Lee Abraham

As a Bragging Buddy it’s your job to help a prospect like, trust and want to do business with your Power Team. And in turn, it’s your Power Team partners’ job to be your Bragging Buddy.

Bragging Buddies don’t just magically appear. Successfully creating an ongoing stream of high quality referrals is the result of learning about each other as a person, as well as a business, and systematically implementing proactive referral creation activities that work.

Relationship Marketing

Regardless of the system or strategy, the driving force in any referral relationship is the relationship itself. With Bragging Buddies, the relationship must go beyond a solid foundation of someone you like, trust and whose product or service you feel good about promoting, to whether or not your networking partner is teachable and ultimately going to proactively and systematically reciprocate your referral creation activities.

All of these elements are deal breakers. Miss one and your results will suffer.

5 Deal Breakers

Being teachable and accountable for reciprocating your referral creation activity expands the scope of a Bragging Buddy relationship beyond typical expectations of a networking partner.

Your results depend on choosing the right person before investing your time and energy into building a Bragging Buddy relationship. To simplify the process of reviewing whether or not to approach a potential Bragging Buddy, ask yourself the following 5 questions.

  1. Like? Do I like this person and enjoy being around them?
  2. Trust? Do I trust this person and believe they will make me look good in the eyes of the consumer?
  3. Consumer Value? Do I believe this person’s product or service delivers a good value to the consumer?
  4. Teachable? Is this person teachable and interested in learning new tools and systems to take the guesswork out of referrals?
  5. Reciprocate? Will this person be accountable to reciprocate my efforts and take action by following a structured word-of-mouth referral system to proactively promote my business?

All answers must be “yes” before you can reasonably expect to maximize your Bragging Buddy success and Power Team networking!


Target Market Clarity – Why the Six Key Situations Make it Easier to Give Referrals

May 30, 2011

Most transactions, regardless of industry or business category are the result of a consumer experiencing a life cycle event which requires the products or services of various vendors.

Successful business networkers are always on the lookout for these life cycle events to create referrals for their networking partners.

The problem however, at least on the surface, is the variety of life cycle events driving the economy seems enormous. How can anyone possibly remember all the connections between the products and services of their networking partners and the endless variety of challenges people experience in their daily lives?

Just think of all the different industries and business categories focusing on their slice of the marketing pie. From selling insurance or repairing automobiles to healing an aching back or remodeling a kitchen, it seems that every business is looking for its own, unique target market.

Six Key Situations = Six Easy Target Markets

In Money on the Table, we simplify the universe of potential target markets into “Six Key Situations” or life cycle events that are the underlying cause of the vast majority of referral opportunities in a structured business networking group.

  1. Business Builder
  2. Getting Healthy
  3. Getting Married
  4. Relocation
  5. New Baby
  6. Real Estate Construction, Remodel & Maintenance

By focusing on how each of your networking partners offers a product or service to a consumer experiencing one of the Six Key Situations, you will not only recognize more opportunities to create referrals, you will give stronger, relevant and more compelling testimonials that result in closed business for your networking partners.

Start with Your Product or Service

Many of the products and services from your networking partners will be obvious, others less clear but nonetheless powerful. For example, a Business Builder may know she needs the services of a promotional products person to build her brand but may be unaware of how an event planner can create a successful product launch, how the personal chef can save her money with healthy home-cooked food or the cleaning service can save time doing the housework, so she can spend more time building her business!

Understanding how different business categories from different industries provide a relevant product or service to each of the Six Key Situations starts with a review of your own business category and which of the Six Key Situations are the most productive referral circumstances for your business. More on this next time, when our adventure in networking continues…


Retrospective Significance – Got Yours?

March 13, 2010


“Retrospective Significance” is the notion that some things you choose to do today potentially create an impact on your life that grows over time.

Here are a few examples of potentially positive retrospective significance: 

  • meeting new people
  • engaging in meaningful conversation with someone who needs help
  • writing a book or a blog post
  • having a baby
  • starting a new business

 “Retrospective Insignificance” is the opposite, doing things today that have NO impact on the rest of your life: 

  • watching TV
  • complaining about the economy, or anything else
  • playing video games
  • wandering around the shopping mall
  • listening to the radio while driving, rather than instructional CD’s or Audio Books

What are you choosing to do today? Will your actions today have any impact on tomorrow, next week or next year? If so, will the impact be positive and productive?


Race to Keep Pace – Business Networking Jump Start

March 6, 2010

 

The race to keep pace with society’s limited attention span is impacting more than just the book publishing industry.

Business networking is a perfect example. On a local level, go to a “Speed Networking” event where you have just a few short minutes to connect fact-to-face with a rapid fire parade of new prospects and potential referral partners. On the internet, the opportunity to build a personal brand with social media in virtually any industry has every hot blooded entrepreneur racing to create visibility online with more people in less time and as a result, make more money.  

As a business networker, our goal is to create referrals for our networking partners, in turn, they find business for us. Clearly, the most effective way to motivate someone to become a “Bragging Buddy” who tells other people why they should like, trust and do business with you, is to first send money making referrals to them.

But as the world spins faster and we seem to have less time to do more and more, being efficient is just as important as being effective. Got a pen and paper? Here is a powerful, yet deceptively simple tool to create business for someone you’ve just met, as well as your network of referral partners,  in less than a minute. Ask the following Trigger Question at networking events, chamber mixers, online messaging or anywhere else you interact with other business people: “How can I help find the type of customers you are looking for?”

This is a simple twist on the age old, direct question “How can I help you?” that cuts to the core of referral networking. The payoff is a result of active listening and recognizing which people and business categories in your network also serve the desired Target Market. Whenever there is a Target Market match, your networking partner is a potential Golden Goose referral source for this new contact, and vice versa. 

Proceed with caution. This Trigger Question is a powerful tool that will jump start your business networking results and create new referral opportunities. Pause for a moment once you’ve found a Target Market match. Take time to learn more about your new contact before sending business in their direction. Protecting your good name is a priority that cannot fall victim to the limited attention span syndrome.


Society’s Limited Attention Span – Blame Seth Godin!

February 22, 2010

 

Video didn’t kill the radio star. Neither did TV. And digital media hasn’t buried ink and paper books. Never will. Sure, the latest and greatest digital delivery systems like Kindle, the IPad and whatever’s next, continue to morph the publishing industry with mind melting speed. But regardless of where change takes our old friend the book, ink and paper will always have a role to play in the marketplace of ideas. 

Standing firm in my belief that ink and paper survives, changes are fast and furious. Not only the vehicle of delivery, but content itself. Face it, society is suffering an intellectual crisis and publishers are scrambling to adapt to our increasingly limited attention span. 

Blame it on Seth Godin. Godin’s brilliant series of short, smart and wildly popular best selling books like “Tribes” and his current gem, “Linchpin,” have set the standard for every aspiring New Times best selling author and thought leader wannabe.    

Got something to say? Say it clearly and quickly. Be authentic, clever and lead a tribe of passionate, like minded people who resonate with you and your message. Become irreplaceable by being as much of you as you can be. Of course, it helps to be a genius with valuable insight and a meaningful perspective, but there’s only one Seth Godin. That would make him a “Linchpin” of media transition and trusted tour guide on our collective adventure to whatever’s next.

Be a Linchpin yourself! Just don’t take too long to show us what you’ve got! Right? Write!