Referrals and word of mouth testimonials are the best way to gain new business, be considered for a new position or to grow your network. But just how easy are you to refer?
People will naturally associate others with an industry, product or skill. If you don’t purposefully let people know how you want to be known, they will just make it up for you.
A locally known business coach focuses on helping business women develop and grow a million dollar business, however, someone who clearly didn’t know her very well, endorsed her for event planning on LinkedIn. The coach was not pleased, but the truth is, if the world doesn’t know how you want to be known – they’ll make it up.
The first place to start is your LinkedIn profile under skills and experience. You can select up to 50 different areas of business, skills and areas of expertise to identify how you want to be known. Be thoughtful in how you select them.
If you are endorsed for an area of business you aren’t interested in – remove that endorsement from your profile so that people aren’t confused.
For example a CPA who wants to be known for financial planning might want to limit the number of referrals and testimonials she has on her profile for tax preparation.
If you are an administrative assistant who has started a gift basket business on the side; make sure people known which role you want to be referred as.
Answer these two questions:
Who do you help?
What do you help them achieve?
Your title isn’t really a clear indicator of how you want to be referred. If you are a manager or a director – what do you manage? However, if you let people know that you want to be referred as an operational management consultant who helps create consistent team performance and bottom line profits – people can then refer you more accurately.
So now memorize this statement with the answers to your questions above:
I help —— achieve —–.
Once you have a clear picture of how you want to be referred – start spreading the word. Introduce yourself at networking events that way. Change your summary on your LI profile to include that language. Tell friends, family and colleagues to use that referral description when they tell what you do for a living.
Make it easy for people to refer you so that you are known for the skill set you desire.