Are You Referable?

What is the best source for business growth – yesterday, today and tomorrow?  Well, I did not pull any specific research on this, but feel pretty confident in the answer.  Word of mouth is the true winner in new business development – fed mostly through service and level of experience rendered.  The question is what are people saying about you, and, ultimately, are you referable? 

I heard this question of “referability” while listening to a Success CD.  It was an interview with Dan Kennedy, entrepreneur, speaker, author and marketing guru, who mentioned the four keys to “referability”.  I usually don’t reference research and other things, just life-based, common-sense, but not-so-commonly applied ideas.  Though, this list is so simple and yet, so profound I had to write about it!

There is no magic bullet to being referable. And yet, even after you read these, many will go back to the norm and look for those “wow” tactics for “referability”.  Don’t get me wrong, the “wow” can be the tipping point or differentiator – assuming you are applying these four principles consistently.  So let’s get these down first.

1.    Be on time. A friend and highly successful entrepreneur often said, “If you can’t be on time, be early.” I’m usually on time, always call if not, but definitely have room for improvement here.  This will go on my accountability plan immediately.

2.    Finish what you start. There are many great starters out there, but few strong finishers. Finish strong, and then start something new. Be complete.

3.    Follow through.  Wow, how many clients have I spoken to who have need for more business, yet the leads are there.  The problem is NOT following through. If you say you’ll call or email or do whatever, do it; no excuses. Be predictable; boring as it sounds, people like that.

4.    Say “please” and “thank you”. Manners. Simple, obvious, but remarkably inconsistent in today’s, hurried communication. Slow down, appreciate, and be sincerely courteous.

Common sense for sure; just not so commonly applied in today’s marketplace.  It’s unfortunate that these can be differentiators (applied consistently). 

Funny that we all learned what a world-renowned marketing genius has identified as the keys to great “referability” – in Kindergarten!