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  • Personal Branding Weekly – Are You Blowing the Referral Process?

    No Business photo from ShutterstockYou don’t have to be a small business owner to value referrals. Individuals, professionals, executives and job seekers can also benefit from a referral. A referral is when someone lends their reputation and credibility to you by connecting you with someone who knows, likes and trusts them or by being a third party who validates your character and competence.

    That’s a lot.

    People would rather jump out of a perfectly good airplane than risk their reputation. Reputations take years to build coupled with countless interactions. They can be lost and torn down in minutes. And, once that “trust” is gone the process to rebuild it could take twice the time it took to build it in the first place.

    Why would anyone risk that much for you?

    I believe people, in general, genuinely want to help others.

    If people are not providing referrals and connections to you, then it’s time to stop being angry and blaming this on “them” and start looking at what you’re doing.

    How are you blowing it?

    1. Have you done anything to make them regret the connection?

    Have you posted embarrassing photos, said something embarrassing or off color, failed to live up to your commitments, or embarked on a rant that was uncomfortable to everyone around? I know there’s more scenarios like this – what have I missed? Share your story of when you stopped or regretted referring or connecting someone in the comment section below.

    2. Do you weaken your reputation or first impression with your posts/updates/tweets?

    Recently, someone who uses their Facebook profile for business (in fact they ask all new associates to “friend” them on Facebook so they can connect with their business group and communicate), went on a rant and said he would unfriend anyone who believes a certain something. Not a smart move when you use your profile for business. Who could refer business or new associates to someone who did that?

    3. Are you a taker?

    Rarely do people want to connect their friends with someone they feel will be an “energy or reputation vampire”.  Why would you want to subject a friend to that?

    Is it all about you? Are you always seeking things for you? When was the last time you did, gave, referred or connected someone else? That referral mind-set of giving and supporting goes a long way in people seeing value in connecting and referring you.

    4. Do you connect with anyone and refer anyone?

    If you’re not discerning with who you connect with or refer, then others around you will be extra cautious to not jeopardize themselves. You’ve heard of guilt by association? Try built by association because often reputations are developed through and by those you congregate with.

    The flip side of this is doing things that build or accelerate the referral process.

    Here are some other ways that we help you develop a stronger, better and more referable brand.

    Maria Elena Duron is a Marketing Coach and Strategist with Know, Like, + Ignite and @mariaduron on Twitter. Would you like practical tips to create and curate content and experiences worthy of being passed person-to-person? -Get exclusive access.

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