… At least I have a dream that one day it will be (particularly when it comes to business networking).
This past week I had the opportunity to attend a number of networking events, as I do every week, and one meeting (a BNI Visitor’s Day) had over 60 attendees. In at least 50% of the 60-second introductions I heard something along the lines of “Anyone who needs ____, would be a great introduction for me” or “Everyone is a great referral for me.” – It makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck – Phrases like this absolutely work against you when it comes to earning referrals (fortunately, most of the BNI members in the room did not use these self-destructive phrases).
Be Specific, to be Terrific.
The simple reason this is such a critical point if you want to be successful in business networking, is that “anyone” is not referable, people can’t visualize “anyone” or “everyone,” and if I can see ’em, I can’t refer ’em.
We humans are primarily visual people. We think in pictures. Even people who are audible- or tactile-oriented in their thought processes first, will benefit by applying the strategy of being very specific when giving or asking for a referral. The reason being specific is so powerful is that it allows people to actually create an image around the details of what is being asked. This helps memory recall. It can trigger a referral when it presents itself.
The action of specificity brings about incredible results. It may be counter-intuitive for many people at first to speak this way when asking for a referral. However, observe it the next time you are in a networking situation, those who are the most successful (in giving and receiving referrals), are the most specific in precisely WHO they would like to meet – or at least specific in creating a PERSONA of precisely who they would like to meet. Taking one step to change how you ask for a referral can open up new doors and new opportunities from the very first time you apply this strategy.
Stepping out of your comfort zone to apply this time-tested, scientifically-proven, sure-fire strategy will only cause temporary discomfort. If you are asking for an introduction to “anyone” or “everyone” you will get no one – simply change your language and be very specific about WHO you would like to meet, and I guarantee you’ll get the best results you have ever received.