Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Do you know how much people in your network understand about your business? I mean really understand?

It's all too easy to fall into the trap of speaking in our own language when describing our business to outsiders and not thinking about how well those people understand that language. We all do it. After all, it's difficult to know which of the everyday words and terms we use are jargon to other people.

What's worse, when others are describing their businesses to us, many of us tend to nod politely rather than admitting we don't truly understand.

A couple of weeks ago I was on my way to run a workshop for Charteris plc. Despite our meetings and my preparation, I still didn't feel confident that I fully understood their business.

I then found a series of case studies that brought their work to life. Previously Charteris's work had been described to me in theoretical terms...."we do this, we do that". That's how most businesses tend to describe their operations to others. Now I had stories; examples of work they had done with clients and how those clients had benefited.

All of the case studies follow a simple format that forms the foundation of a strong referral message. They outline the problems the customer faced, the solutions that Charteris implemented and the benefits enjoyed by their client as a result.

This type of message is the key to the understanding needed to generate effective referrals. Make life simple for people in your network by breaking your message down into problems, solutions and benefits. When you then wrap those in a case study you bring your business to life and make it much easier for people to understand.

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