HOW TO:  REFERRALS = REMEMBERED  The most effective, and most cost-effective (ahem, cheapest), way to generate new

business is through word-of-mouth marketing. Networking is one way; that is, developing relationships yourself. This is child’s play; it’s also time consuming. Take your networking to the next level: Encourage your customers & colleagues to recommend you... when you’re not in the room. There is a basic marketing formula that leads to more clients: More Remembered  More Referrals. Obviously, if people forget your name, forget who you are, what you do, and for whom, there is no way they will be able to recommend you! So how can you super-charge this formula for more referrals? Remember the meetings you had yesterday? Remember the new folks at that last networking event? Who do you remember? Perhaps they were funny, loud, late, talked too much, or did something else that made them memorable. How can you help those new contacts? Haven’t thought about it much? Maybe they didn’t brand their expertise into your mind. They may be thinking the same thing about you! In order to brand ourselves into other people’s minds, we need to create a 3-dimensional connection: Our Competency, our Character, and our Charisma are all essential in communicating our professional persona. Miss one of ‘em – and while they may like you, they won’t remember what makes your expertise special. Or how to refer you. Competency Ever been recognized (by face, name, or business card), but your new friend doesn’t quite remember what you do? Whose fault is it? Well, we can’t control them. But as leaders, we can win friends and influence people! If they can’t remember what we want them to remember, then we’re not communicating effectively: Are you talking about your competency the right way? Perhaps you’re confusing

people with your esoteric jargon. differentiate our personal brands. Character

Maybe you sound like everybody else with a boring

description. Some folks just rattle off the letters after their last name. But there’s a better way to

Branding, especially personal branding, leverages your emotional connections. “Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.” We want to know your inner character: your values, hobbies, and family life. If we have something in common (hate wearing ties?), we’ll immediately connect on this level. When we meet strangers for the first time, we tend to be “professionally superficial.” That’s what etiquette encourages. How’s your style? What are your “white wires”? How do you look, walk and talk? What’s your nickname? Can we easily caricature you? As we break social conventions with our unique character, we may graze past the normal etiquette. So what? Just don’t offend your interlocutor. Be different. “Be,” as Cosmo Kramer says, “more you than you’ve ever been.” Don’t pull a Michael Richards, but be remembered as you embroider your character. Charisma Charisma is the “irrational” connection we develop with others; it’s emotional beyond reason. It’s your charm, your magnetic personality, your je ne sais quoi. Normally we can explain why we like the other person: their character complements ours. But when somebody wields their charismatic qualities, we just feel a connection... and it’s hard to pinpoint why. In fact, when we do, we sound silly: It’s not literally what we can point out. Think about the last attraction you felt: There was chemistry. The best charisma is a spiritual connection. There are ways we can enhance our charisma. Who do you feel is “naturally” charismatic? Role-play their characteristics. “Fake it, ‘til you make it.”

We truly don’t have to be fake: Rather, we should build on our talents (natural or nurtured). Gallup’s study on our 37 talents is detailed in the best-seller, “Now, Discover your Strengths.” Leveraging your talents, self-confidence, and spiritual relationships will help you exude charisma. The behavioral science of neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) can help you develop the skills of interpersonal persuasion. But I have found that charisma really goes deeper than people skills: While we can act charismatically, it is better to base our charisma on our personalities. Furthermore, charisma naturally exudes as a by-product of our spiritual development. Max Weber was the pioneering sociologist who first popularized the study of charisma. He explains that while we all have charism, the divine spark, Charisma describes our relationships, not our personal brand. I have found that we can lead many different kinds of charismatic relationships. We’ll cover this in another article. Charismatic leaders are visionaries. They help us believe we can achieve. They bring out in us what we didn’t know was there: It may be our best... Though at times in history, charismatic leaders have brought out the worst in their devotees. exaggerated, and extremist traits. charismatic qualities? Take out 3 pieces of paper. And jot down key phrases that describe your personal brand Competency, your personal brand Character, and your personal brand Charisma. Start to define your 3-dimensional personal brand. Focus not on how you are, but how you will be. Affirm your new and improved personal brand. You may already exhibit and fulfill many of the characteristics you write; great! Who do you know who already showcases the qualities you’re in the process of developing? They can be your role models. Remind yourself every day, throughout the day, of your new and improved personal brand. Charismatics exhibit eccentric, How can you nurture They are excited & emotional.

The next step is to help other people remind themselves of your personal brand. focus on your competency and your target market community:


professionals, our main value to others is based on our competency. It’s what they pay us for. So

In less than 10 words, craft the Catchphrase that communicates your personal brand appeal. Yes, it’s easier said than done. (That’s why I have a thriving personal brand marketing practice for lawyers, accountants, financial planners, real estate, and health professionals.) Believe it or not, we no longer have time for the proverbial 30-second “elevator pitch.” And nobody wants your pitch anyway: Give us a memorable Catchphrase; and be memorable yourself. Trust that we’ll only repeat your Catchphrases half as often as you do: Why do politicians stick to their sound-bites in their interviews? At the risk of being repetitive, “say what you’re gonna say, say it, and then say what you’ve said.” Here’s a short-cut to start out with: Give us an example of when you’ve challenged common sense, disagreed with your peers, or done something curiously counter-intuitive with a client. What’s your own ‘freakonomics’ anecdote? What’s your clever sound-bite? Keep it short and snappy; KISS your Catchphrase over and over again. As you do, your customers & colleagues will remember you (your verbal – and non-verbal – Catchphrases). They will remember what you do, and for whom. As you brand yourself as an excellent expert, you will get more referrals. So now grab those pieces of paper and get started. Feel free to e-mail me with your draft, let’s enjoy a Chat. © 2007 Vikram Rajan, partner of CoGrow Systems, Inc. Vik is a personal brand marketing advisor for lawyers, accountants, financial planners, real estate, and health experts. Every week, you can read 3 new personal brand marketing tips on his podBlog. E-mail with questions about this and other articles.