Last week the topic of this blog’s posting was “Schmooze, Don’t Sell”. I received several emails and telephone calls from readers asking me to expand on this subject. I also heard stories, some good, some bad, and some embarrassing to at least one of the parties involved. This week I thought that I would add some thoughts regarding this subject.
We learn from exchanging information and gathering facts. We develop our opinion of others from asking questions of them, listening to their replies, and observing their actions. When we first meet someone who may become a networking partner with us, we need to meet that person more often and begin the process of establishing some common ground for the continuing relationship. We need to ask probing, informational questions that allow us to get to know the other person. We need to gather facts and process what we learn.
From our information gathering, we learn about the other person and develop either a liking or dislike for them. I don’t know about you, but I have a difficult time doing business with someone whom I do not like. I have an even more difficult time if I develop a mistrust of them. I certainly will never refer someone else to anyone whom I do not trust. I value my reputation too much for that to ever occur. You must be able to trust all parties that you involve in a referral relationship. They will remember who put them together.
People do business with others that they know, like, and trust. The same rule holds true for when someone refers business to anyone. They must know the person, more that a casual hello at a one-time meeting. Do you really “know” the person to whom you are referring someone else? This should also be true about the person that you are referring to someone. You must know that each party to a referral will treat the other party with respect and honesty. Otherwise at least one of the parties will learn that you are someone with whom they should not do business, someone whom they cannot trust to think of their best interests.
Must you like someone to do business with them, to refer business to them, or refer them to someone else? I say that you must, after all you are putting money into their pockets. How can you dislike someone and still help them to succeed? Maybe the reason for your dislike should come into a discussion. Why do you dislike them? Are they dishonest, do they practice bad customer service or do they not honor their promises? Do they fail to correct their mistakes, take responsibility for errors, or make the customer whole? If these are the reasons for not liking someone, I agree and would not refer anyone to them.
If you like someone, do you trust them? Do they practice trustworthy business practices? Do they conduct their personal lives in a trustworthy manner? You must trust someone to do business with them unless you take extreme measures to protect yourself. I do not want to do business that way, nor do I want to recommend someone do business with anyone where those protective measures need to be in place. My reputation is very valuable to me, and it is what precedes me everywhere that I go. It also is what I leave behind when I leave somewhere. Yours is the same.
When you meet someone, get to know them, learn whether you like them, and then decide if you can trust them. Also, learn the “why” behind each of these steps. Knowing “why” allows you to believe in what you have done and helps you teach others to build their businesses in a similar manner. Leave your comments here to share, or email me at Jim@SOC4Now.com, or call me at 360-314-8691. Then get on with learning, liking, and trusting, if possible.