6 Ways to be More Referable than Edward Scissorhands at a Lawn & Garden Convention
This post is a special Make a Referral Week guest post featuring education on the subject of referrals and word of mouth marketing and making 1000 referrals to 1000 small businesses – check it out at Make a Referral Week 2010
1. Circumvent people’s suspicions. Recognize that you’re beginning with negative balance with most people. Sad but true. It’s just the posture of the masses. People have been sold, scammed and screwed; conned, played and hustled; manipulated, used and marketed to for too long and their TIRED of it.
Your mission is to exert comfortable confidence. To lower the threat level. To prove to people that they aren’t going to be the first person to trust you. Otherwise they’ll show up plagued by an underlying unease. And that’s a brick wall you don’t have the time, energy or equipment to climb. How will you disarm people’s immediate preoccupations before entering your orbit?
2. Resort (not) to artificiality. People who do come off like terminal try-hards. And their gnawing sense of inferiority fills the room like a garlic fart. Not exactly the type of orbit admirers are drawn into.
The secret is making the conscious choice to reassemble your posture. To assume a different pose. And to stand up in front of the world and put yourself at risk. That’s what authenticity is all about: Flirting with the possibility of people not liking who you are, accepting the reality when they don’t.
As I learned from The Velveteen Rabbit, “Once you are real, you can’t be ugly – except to people who don’t understand.” How will you authentically extend yourself this week?
3. Be a source of infinite opportunity. “Become a platform.” Those three words alone were worth paying twenty bucks for Jeff Jarvis’s bestselling What Would Google Do? Here’s how it works: You give customers, users and fans the control to create and improve your online content. You aggregate information and services.
Then, you enable your admirers to build communities, networks – even products and businesses – of their own, under the umbrella of your platform. Think Twitter. Think Facebook. Think Linked In. All platforms. All raking it in. Lesson learned: When you make a platform, you make an indispensible contribution. What are YOU a platform for?
4. Jump at every chance to declare the unspoken truth. Follow the advice of Dilbert creator Scott Adams: “Be completely and radically honest where most people would say nothing.” Simple, yes. Easy, no. The secret is to plant the seeds of love where fear grows.
In my experience, here’s the best practice for doing so: Speak the unspeakables to compel people to think the unthinkables so they’re disturbed into doing the undoables. How are you branding your honesty?
5. Increase your agency. I love this concept. Just learned it myself a few weeks ago. Increase your agency. Now, it’s got nothing to do with the FBI or Leo Burnett. Agency is about the state of being necessary for exerting power. The cool part is, agency is relative. It all depends on where your power generator resides.
HOW to specifically increase your agency is up to you. The only advice I can offer to support your process is: Don’t make despair your default setting. It’s timelessly unattractive and will slowly nibble your power away like a school of baby piranhas. Where are you unintentionally giving your power away?
6. Be willing to be crucified. I think it’s fair to say that Jesus Christ had a knack for drawing admirers into his orbit. And, among his long list of approachable attributes, I think it’s also fair to say that his willingness to be crucified – literally – served his purpose well.
Now, the odds of you, as a Thought Leader, being nailed to an actual cross and left for dead are highly unlikely. (Then again, I don’t know you that well.) The point is: Crucifixion isn’t about wood and nails – it’s about criticism and persecution. It’s about passion, which comes from the Latin passio, which means, “to suffer.”
The two-fold question is: What do you do that you are willing to suffer for? And what do you do that – if you did NOT do it – would cause you suffering as a result? Find the answers to those questions and you’ll find admirers drawing into your orbit immediately. No messianic complex needed. Have you taken up your cross today?
Scott Ginsberg is the only person in the world who wears a nametag 24-7-365 to encourage people to become friendlier and more approachable. He is the author of four books including “HELLO, my name is Scott,” “The Power of Approachability,” “How To Be That Guy” and “Make a Name for Yourself.”