Endless Referals (Third edition) by Bob Burg
“All things being equal, people will do business with, and refer business to, people they know, like and trust.”Endless Referrals is all about getting people to know you, like you, and trust you, so that they’ll send endless referrals your way. Bob Burg wrote the preeminent guide to effective networking years ago, and this most recent version has been updated to help entrepreneurs, professionals and salespeople deal effectively with the new realities of doing business in the age of the Internet.
Regular readers of this blog will remember a book I reviewed a few issues ago, Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi. I declared that it was ‘the definitive guide to Networking 2.0.’ In the same sense, Endless Referrals is the definitive guide to Networking.
Burg goes through how to effectively work a crowd at a typical business event – he uses the example of a Chamber of Commerce’s ‘Business After 5’ events, but the system for working any gathering of people is the same – from what you need to do before the event, to how to follow up with people after the event. Having successfully implemented many of his teachings last week at my local Chamber of Commerce, I can say that the system works.
While I have never had a chance to ask all ten of them, Burg has provided a list of questions you should ask anyone you meet. These are ‘feel good questions,’ designed to get your new acquaintance talking about themselves and what they do. I mention that I’ve never been able to ask all 10, because they’re the type of questions that people will spend a half hour answering! Here is a sampling of them:
‘How did you get started in the Widget business?’
‘What do you see as the coming trends in the Widget business’
‘What sets you or your company apart from your competition?’
When you ask these questions (rather than answer their polite questions about what you do) people will go on and on. Ask how they get started, and prepare to listen for the next 45 minutes about their undergraduate experience, no matter their age. Who doesn’t love to write and direct their life story?
When you ask what sets them apart from their competition, you’ve given them permission to brag. Who else let’s them do that? The positive emotions they feel while recounting their stories to you will be associated with you, since you asked the ‘feel good questions.’ They will leave the conversation thinking about how charming you were, even though they spoke for most of it. Its not insignificant that you’ll also learn from their stories.
Burg also suggests that everyone design personalized note cards, which can be used as thank you cards or for any notes you might send prospects and peers. I designed my own, including my picture and my Enduring Purpose, and I always send them after an event, or whenever I meet a new prospect. I get an unbelievable response, because very few people ever take the time to send a handwritten note. To have a look at my card, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Endless Referrals is a must read for anyone who is in the service business, depends on referrals and word of mouth advertising, looking to build their network or for people who want to become better at listening to others.