I was asked recently to speak to a group of dual-credit high school/college students. The class that I was going to be speaking in was mainly teaching them the importance of networking. The instructor is married to a girlfriend of mine, knew I was a small business owner who rocked networking and wanted me to share with his classes the importance of networking.
The students weren’t given any introduction to me other than I was brought in to engage with them and help them understand about networking and relationships. They were required to ask me questions to get to know me. I tried to make it fun for the kids and called on them randomly picking on them a little, but in a fun and non-threatening manner.
So, to my point – a week or so later I received an envelope from the college professor with a whole bunch of thank you cards from the students thanking me for the time that I spent at their school and what they took from our interaction. It reminded me of teaching my children the importance of thanking others for taking the time to buy them gifts for birthdays, Christmas, graduation and etc.
If word of mouth equals success, what are you doing to keep those referrals coming? Hmm! #appreciateClick to tweet
Build appreciation into your business model
I have built this into my business model by making a point to say thank you to those who give me referrals so they know that I appreciate them. Regardless of whether that referral creates new business or not, the point is that I was thought of and they remembered me when the opportunity came about. Further, they took the time to make the introduction to myself and the other party. Additionally, I like to appreciate people who consider me for business or referrals by sending them a note, small gift card or gift as a gesture to appreciate them again for thinking of me and trusting me with that other business owner knowing that my response to that referral can be a direct reflection of them and their business.
If you referred someone a big client and they ‘rewarded’ you for that, you might be more likely to refer to them. Even if it isn’t a big referral or a big reward, I’m sure you would be more inclined to refer to someone who took the extra time to thank you for the referral. Think about it… wouldn’t you?
Just remember, it’s not about you but it is about the consumer or your fellow business owner. If everyone in the world were to constantly think about themselves, we would have a very selfish place and sadly a lot of people still think that way. However, I refuse to fit in this mold and I will continue to appreciate other people in various ways.
I encourage you to appreciate those who think of you, appreciate those who refer business to you, and acknowledge those that do the right thing. I was thankful for the thank you cards from the students but quite honestly surprised to receive it from them due to the age of the students. I appreciate the fact that there is somebody out there teaching younger people about how to pay it forward, how to appreciate what is given to you (often for free) and that my time was valuable. They appreciated my time and it wasn’t just thank you for coming but almost every single student took extra time to pull something out from the activity which showed that they paid attention, and they cared.
I’m going to leave you with this parting thought – Do unto others as you would want done unto you!
Should you have any questions about me speaking about marketing, social media or search engine optimization to a group near and dear to you, please let me know as I would be happy to discuss my consulting services with you.