Tag Archives: small business

Do You Know Your Strengths? Does Your Network?

Do you know what your strengths are when it comes to your business and life? Does your network see and share these strengths with others? The Reflected Best Self™ exercise is a simple, structured process that helps you identify, and make the most of your strengths.

Step 1: Survey Others About Your Strengths

Identify around 10 people who are in a position to give you accurate feedback about your strengths. Include current colleagues, but also, ideally, former colleagues, friends and family members.Then, ask them to think about what your strengths are, and to give an example to back up every strength they identify.

Step 2: Identify Themes

Once you have all of the responses in from your survey group, start to group the responses together into themes. Some of the themes may reflect strengths you were aware of, but they may also identify things that you hadn’t realized were strengths because they come so naturally to you. Don’t focus soley on work – find the overall themes first – then , they will undoubtedly come full circle because how you show up in Life is how you show up at work.

Step 3: Write Your Strengths Profile

Next, draw together the key strengths that have emerged from your analysis, and tie them together in a few paragraphs that summarize what you’re really good at. Then, take a look at how these overlap and apply to your business. You’ll be able to use this in endless ways, to guide future actions and choices, to shore up your confidence, and while building your network.

Step 4: Identify How You Can Play to Your Strengths

With a clear idea of your strengths, take a long, hard look at how they interact within your business. In what ways are you playing to your strengths? If you’re not, can you adapt the focus and nature of your work to make more of your strengths?

** This “Reflected Best Self” Exercise is a copyrighted instrument of the Regents of the University of Michigan, USA.

Most People Don’t Know How to Properly Use Networking Events – Learn How to Get the Most Out of Your Next Event

Networking events can be an invaluable resource for your business, but nowadays, too many people don’t know how to maximise the networking event, and they just rely on the event to do the work.

The most important place to start is what YOU have to do at networking events, rather than relying on the event itself.

The problem starts when people simply don’t know how to get referrals and create opportunities with other people. The whole reason networking works is because when done right, you’re forming mutually beneficial relationships. Just consider what would happen if you would bring a small group of people together and connect all their opportunities. It would open a world of business for all of them!

The Basics:

Focus #1:  First and foremost, you need to have the right mindset and be willing to help others. You’re not there to just take for yourself. So be honest with yourself – can you walk into a networking event with a genuine desire and interest in helping other people?

So the first think to think of at the event is “How can I help others in the room?” Next, how do I create opportunities and get into networks with other people in the room. Just consider and do the maths: talking to one person, might bring one sale; however, those who understand referral marketing know that if I open the doors to your network, I could get hundreds of sales over the next months and much longer after. In every conversation you have, see if you can connect them to someone in your network so they gain access to your network and you open the doors to their networks.

Finally, after the event, the key here is follow up and follow through. Sometimes people will find someone who’s willing to help, and then they don’t follow up!! Don’t miss out on such an opportunity!

As I wrap up, because these simple mindset strategies are not built into most networking events, most people aren’t doing this. Most people are just thinking of the sales they want to make at the event, but the real value lies in the networks and opportunity the people you meet will bring.

So now that you’ve educated yourself on how to be a good networker, for your next event, remember these Key Strategies. Practice the right referral mindset and you will quickly dominate the room at events and walk out having gained the most from them.

Let’s Talk – Rapport is Critical not just in Business but in Life

The dictionary defines rapport as “relation characterized by harmony, conformity, accord, or affinity.”

When you have rapport with someone, it’s that feeling of flow, ease and comfort in a conversation when there is mutual liking and trust. You will recognize a lack of rapport when you encounter those conversations that feel forced, uncomfortable and rigid. Once you’ve established rapport with a person, he or she is much more likely to be open with you and share information, buy your product, recommend you to others, or support your ideas. Consider rapport as the foundation to and referral partnership.

So while building rapport is intuitive and natural to some people, it is an important skill that anyone can learn.

Here are some tips for building rapport.

Be Real. Fist and foremost, be genuine. If you’re not, the person will know. So be sincere in what you say; don’t make up an interest in something just to create rapport.

Establish artificial time constraints. Nobody wants to feel trapped in an awkward conversation with a stranger, so try beginning the conversation with something along the lines of “I’m on my way out but before I left I wanted to ask you…” When the other person knows that there is an end in sight that is close, and you’re not the person talking to them the rest of the event/flight/afternoon, then they can relax and engage with you more comfortably.

Ask good, open-ended questions. Open-ended questions are ones that don’t require a simple yes or no answer. People love to talk about themselves. Asking open-ended questions and paying attention to the answers helps you learn more about the other person and shows that you have a genuine interest in them. The key is in your follow-up. LISTEN and respond according to what they said. This is how they’ll know you are truly catching their details.

Find Common Ground. When you meet someone new, do your best to find something you have in common. Use open-ended questions to discover some personal information about the person: perhaps you attended the same school or university, have the same favorite vacation spot, grew up in the same city, know the same people, or root for the same sports team.

Be Empathic. Empathy is about understanding other people by seeing things from their perspective, and recognizing their emotions. Once you achieve this, it’s easier to get “on their level.”

Ask For Help. When a request is small (this is key), we naturally feel a connection to those who ask us for help. Think for a moment about the times in your life when you have either sought assistance or been asked to provide it. When the request is simple, of limited duration, and non-threatening, we are more inclined to accommodate the request. As human beings, we are biologically conditioned to accommodate requests for assistance.

Smile. Smiling is the most powerful nonverbal technique to let someone know you are non-threatening, friendly and trustworthy. Smiling makes you approachable.

Referral Partnerships are Relationships – Do You Know Your Communication Stumbling Blocks

Interpersonal communication skills are what help us to build good relationships with others. And the extent to which you can build effective referral partnerships depends a great deal on your interpersonal communication skills. These lay the foundations of a good partnership.

However, we all encounter barriers and sometimes it’s difficult to be aware of your own stumbling blocks. Here are a few of the most common communication stumbling blocks:

Message barriers

These occur when the person communicating fails to communicate clearly. If you find that you often confuse people, then a good starting point for fixing this is to figure out what you want to say.

When you identify the purpose of your communication clearly, it will largely determine what you say and how you say it. When speaking with your referral partners, be very clear on the purpose and it will help the other person understand you better and act on next steps.

Receiving barriers

These barriers occur on the receiver’s end of the communication, and they typically result from ineffective listening. We hear and understand faster than we speak, and this can lead to boredom and a wandering mind when on the listening end of communication.

To combat this, simply try to listen actively to what the speaker is saying. Active listening is a communication technique that requires the listener to concentrate on what’s being said, then formulate, reflect and respond accordingly. When you engage active listening you respond in a way that makes it clear that you understand the feelings and intent of the speaker.

When speaking with your referral partners, take the time for each of you to reflect back so you know you’re both clear on how you can help the other person and the type of referrals you’re both after.

Decoding barriers

With decoding barriers, the real message is not fully grasped or translated because of misperceptions, misinterpretations or missing information.

The most common problem here is with mismatched non-verbal communication. A lot of non-verbal communication is unconscious – meaning that the sender isn’t aware of the messages he or she is sending, yet these messages can reveal a great deal of someone’s true thoughts.

If you can learn to understand people’s non-verbal communication, you can improve your people skills significantly.

Knowing the most common types of communication stumbling blocks will help raise your own awareness on both the speaking and receiving end. Improve the effectiveness of your partnerships by combating the stumbling blocks you struggle with the most.

How to Host an Engaging Podcast Interview

Following up on our recent article, Cross Promotions: How to Use Interviews to Reach a New Audience.’ Use these quick tips to help you start creating engaging interviews.

Start slow, fun and personal

Begin with a questions to get to know the interviewee and introduce yourselves to each audience. Have fun with it and don’t be afraid to make it personal. This relaxes the atmosphere, starts the conversation on safe ground, and let’s you get a sense of the where your interviewee is coming from. You’ll have more fun and sometimes you get a surprisingly good story too.

Ask what you don’t know

There’s a lawyer’s tip that advises you to only ask witnesses questions that you already know the answers to. We recommend you try the opposite instead. Ask questions on topics where you don’t know what the answer will be. It will be a more interesting and engaging interview.

Make some questions open ended

All interviews require you to ask specific questions that get answered with narrow data points. But often, the most interesting responses come from open-ended questions, such as, “What is your vision for this industry in the next 5-10 years?”

Coax, don’t hammer

We recommend going for an up-close, but soft interview style that either coaxes or connects in a natural level to reveal useful answers. Most importantly through, be yourself, have fun with it and let your personality show through.

Be prepared

Do your research beforehand and know the topics you want to discuss. Be prepared and let your interviewee know what you want to cover then find out what topics she or he would like to discuss – remember, when doing cross-promotional interviews as previously discussed, you want to appeal to both audiences.

Cross Promotions: How to Use Interviews to Reach a New Audience

There are many ways to do cross promotions that will expand your audience and your network. One quick, simple and cost-effective way to tap into another network and double your exposure to another audience is through interviews.

If you follow our podcast (Listen to “Get More Referrals Today” podcast here), you’ll notice we’ve been doing interviews with experts across various industries. We’re doing this because it’s a great way to tap into a new audience and both parties can get great exposure. Here are a few quick tips to setting up your own interviews.


Reach out to someone who is an expert and thought leader in their industry and invite them to do an interview with you. The ideal person has a similar audience but isn’t a competitor. Just 10-15 minutes will do, but of course you can go longer too if you prefer. Generally, shorter and more focused interviews work better.


There are numerous apps and software systems that you can use to record or you can use one of many apps to record and upload.


Once you’ve finished the recording, you can share the video with both of your networks across various channels. Most people will automatically share it with their networks, especially if they understand the importance of the relationship, but it’s always a good idea to remind them. The reason being because it will help you to each get more exposure.

The Platform

Make sure you share the video across all your social media channels and any other platforms (i.e. youtube, facebook, a webinar or podcast. You’ll reach different audiences on the different channels so it’s important to hit them all.

Tagging and Engagement

Drive engagement and reach by tagging the interviewee when you upload and share. Engagement will flow if you invite comments and respond to them.

Consistency and Goals

This is one of the simplest, quickest and cost-effective forms of cross-promotions. Get into a routine and set some goals for yourself to keep going. You can record them in bunches and aim to release 2-3 each week or spread them out a bit. The important thing is just to start thinking how you can get more exposure by helping others and get going.


Aside from the benefits previously mentioned such as tapping into new audiences, cost effectiveness, reach, etc. this form of cross promotion will also raise your credibility in the eyes or your audience because you’ll be associated with other industry leaders and show each of your networks how connected you are to have access to all these amazing people. Keep doing this and you’ll be front of mind in your network and other networks will be talking about you.

Why You Should be the First to Help

One of the fundamentals of referral marketing is helping others, and the more people you help, the more people will help you.

Sometimes it’s easier to be the first to ask a potential referral partner, “How can I help you?” This puts you at an advantage for numerous reasons.

First of all, most people don’t usually go around offering help, so we’re often taken aback when someone takes a genuine interest in how they could help you and then even more so when they help.

Offering to help first does several important things. It catches the person off guard so they’re less likely to go into a defensive mode or power through on autopilot. They now see you in a different light and have a different perspective on who you are.

When someone takes a genuine interest and offers to help, then successfully follows through with helping, the relationship strengthens and grows. The person who you’ve helped now feels like they know you (if they didn’t already before), they feel like they can trust you (because you deliver on what you say you’ll do), and because you helped them, they probably like you too and view you as a positive influence.

So in summary, when you offer to help first, you place yourself in a position where the other person likes, knows and trusts you. Which is exactly the type of person we’re all geared towards working with.

By positioning yourself in this way, it will now be easier to ask the other person for a helpful favour in return, and increase the likelihood that they’ll help you. In the end, it’s a win-win for everyone. So go try it now… offer someone genuine help.

Why You Should Run Cross Promotions

If you’re not running any cross promotions, you should be. Cross Promotion is an extremely valuable marketing technique that involves promoting other product(s) targeted to the customers of a related product. It usually involves two or more parties.

It’s a great way of tapping into the network of another business or product and targeting that group of partners without investing very much. It’s a win-win situation for all of the parties involved.

Advantages of Cross Promotion

Nearly all of the top brands have included Cross Promotions in their marketing strategies.
Why is it a win-win? Take note of these features:

Customer Touch Points

Cross promotions involve the use of customer touch points. A customer interacts with a brand at various levels and at various times and these customer touch points can be used to promote partner brands as well. Cross-promotional partnerships typically engage parties who share the same audience. They might each sell related products or services but not competing products.


It’s a win-win situation for all the parties involved. In a cross promotion contact, everyone gets what they need, for example one party may look for money or customers while the other needs more exposure.

Less Cost More Reach

Running cross promotions is an easy and economical way for brands to reach more people.

Brand Equity

Sometimes, partnering with a big brand may result in increased brand equity of the brand concerned. It also positions your brand, service or product as valuable because the consumer is exposed to it via a product or brand they already know, like and trust.

Uncover Your Customers’ Pain Points and Share them with your Referral Partners

Do you know what your customers’ deepest pain points are? Equally important, do your referral partners know what they are?

You always want to know exactly what’s in the heart and mind of your customer so that you can better understand how to help them. But have you taken the time to train your referral partners in knowing what to listen for?

Your referral partners need to know what products or services you offer and they need to know how they can help you. But often we forget to educate them in understanding what to listen for so they can make the right referrals.

Here are some simple questions to ask your customers and reflect on. Keep in mind though that even if they seem simple, taking the time to really understanding your customers’ pain points is worth it.

Understanding your customer’s pain points…

  • Imagine a day in the life of your customer. What problem does your product or service address?
  • Ask current customers about their lifestyles and goals. How do they perceive themselves?
  • Ask customers what motivates them – and what doesn’t.
  • Find out what the customer really needs.
  • Uncover what is the true source of their pain. Sometimes, you’ll need to read between the lines and listen past the immediate requests.
  • Who sees the most value in having that pain removed? (Hint: these will be your best customers)
  • Who will ultimately pay for a solution? Remember that the end user of your product/service is not always the one who pays (i.e. child/parent or pet/owner)
  • For businesses, what’s your customer’s biggest inhibitor to company growth?
  • What does your customer obsess about?
  • What takes up the most time in their day?

You might do this on a regular basis, and we all should. So once you’ve spent some time uncovering and digging deeper into their pain points, your next step is to talk to your referral partners about these pain points and train them how to listen for them so they can make referrals when appropriate.

Finally, make sure you do the same for their customers’ pain points. Doing so will enable you to better help your partners and demonstrate your investment and commitment to the partnership.

Take a Break and Connect with Your Network

It may be nice to think that you can work for 8-10 hours straight, especially when you’re working to a deadline. And some people even take pride in their ability to work for hours on end. But there are many good reasons to give your brain a break to allow it to re-charge and you can even be productive while doing so.

Consider if catching up with your referral partners and the people in your network is a task that can energise you and give you a break from the work you’re doing.

Building and maintaining relationships doesn’t have to take a great deal of time and it doesn’t have to feel like work either. If you’ve chosen the right referral partners; ie people who you enjoy speaking with and hearing from, then it won’t feel like work.

Try this. The next time you take a break, rather than scrolling through your social media feed or going for a walk (ahem… while still checking your email), use the time for a quick catch up with a referral partner. Say hello, ask how they’re doing, find out what’s new or what you can help with and let them know the same for you. See how you feel after your chat, do you feel excited and energised? If so, keep it up every so often.

If it’s hard for you to stop working, then schedule these breaks for yourself, or set an alarm as a reminder. Go for a quick walk and make a call or grab a cup of coffee or lunch with someone. It’s best to take at least a five-minute break every hour or two.

Finally, know your limits and understand when you need a social break and when you need to completely tune out and re-charge for a few minutes.