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How to win friends and influence people in the 21 century

Social Media CafeImage by Cristiano Betta via FlickrEvery business I know love referrals. In fact, they all say that word of mouth is the best type of advertising you can get. Wouldn't it be great if you could produce that kind of word of mouth advertising on a regular and consistent basis? You bet it would be. What would you do if I could show you a formula that will produce, recommendations, referrals and testimonials 95 percent of the times it's used. Does that sound interesting? Well here's how to create recommendations, testimonials and referral on a regular basis without lying, cheating, or having to give away the farm. Read on and learn "how you to win friends and influence people in the 21st century.

Discovering the Magic Formula

Word of Mouth - VisualizedImage by mvellandi via Flickr
As a businessperson, and 25-year veteran of word of mouth marketing, I live and breathe the concept of "Givers Gain". That's right, I believe what goes around comes around. This principle is also known as the law of reciprocity. This principle is the magic that makes my formula work. When I say my formula, I am really referring to the use of this principle. Every chance I get, I go out of my way to provide, you guessed it, recommendations, referrals and testimonials to as many like-minded business people as I can.

It wasn't but a few years ago that most of my testimonials were in the form of letters, emails, verbal recommendations, thank you cards and short blurbs on business website. I even occasionally rated products reviews so that others could see how I felt about those products.

However, in the last three years I have discovered that using social media is like magic for helping others. The converse of that is also true. It is also magic when the law of reciprocity works in kind for you.

Were to use the Magic Formula

LinkedinAnswersImage via Wikipedia
Most social media sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Ecademy and Foursquare offer some kind of mechanism for you to easily thank your fellow referral partners. There are literally hundreds of social media venues available to you. If the person you're looking to help uses Merchant Circle or Angies List, make sure you post your recommendation there.

I don't limit my recommendations to just my referral partners. I also go out of my way to recommend and thank, business associates, clients, family members and the companies I like using. Most social media sites have a mechanism for you to do this, without you having to jump through lots of hoops.

For example, in Face book you can just post a thank you, a recommendation or even a testimonial. You can upload a picture of you letter of recommendation. Provide a link to a testimonial letter etc... You can also do this for a business Fan Page, as well.

In Twitter, you can just Tweet your recommendation. You can re-tweet someone's post as a way to thank them. It's also easy to include a link to your testimonial letter or to their website in your tweet. You can also tweet about how great a referral was, all without breaking a sweat.

facebookImage by sitmonkeysupreme via FlickrFoursquare is almost made for recommendations. However, I sometimes see it used as a double edge sword where people dining out do the opposite of recommending the restaurant or it's food. Here, a second principle is at working. The principle I am referring to is the law that states that bad news travels much faster than good news. Bad news use to travel fast. With the advent of the internet, it now travels at the speed of light! Anyway, I digress, back to Givers Gain.

Ecademy, LinkedIn and some others social media sites actually have a recommendation function built-in them. I use LinkedIn quite a bit. It's built-in recommendation function is designed like a reciprocating tool. When you recommend someone, it in turns ask your recipient, if they will return the favor and recommend you.

Increasing the Magic Formulas Effectiveness

Social Media CafeImage by Cristiano Betta via FlickrMy recommendations and testimonials are usually specific, providing examples of why I am making my recommendations. The same is true when providing a testimonial or when provide a referral. I always mention specific reason why I am recommending that person or business. Being specific carries more weight for the reader than being general. This is because general recommendations don’t risk any ones reputation. They don’t really say any thing about you as a person.

I also don't qualify or limited my recommendations. I either endorse them fully or not at all. Obviously, you cannot recommend everyone equally nor should you try. Strive to be honest, positive, specific and unequivocal in your recommendation. Finish by providing your contact information if you feel strongly about the value they provided. This sends a very clear "Thanks you" message to your recipient and it makes your gift even more powerful. If you really can't recommend someone, be honest and share with them your reservations. Don't compromise your integrity but also don't try to insult someone who ask for your help. Find a way to help them to fix their issue, so you can then recommend them.

A few last notes on providing testimonials, recommendations and referrals

Pacejka Magic Formula CurveImage via WikipediaMake sure your writing is proof read several times and that the spelling and grammar are clean and professional. Nothing dilutes your gift more than bad spelling or grammar. Last but not least, make sure their names are spelled correctly. This kind of mistake will all but make your recommendation null and void, (ask me how I know).

I have been using the law of reciprocity to help others for a long time now. In turn, this principle has provided me with more recommendation, testimonials and referral than I though possible. I now know that the law of reciprocity is alive and well in the 21 century and that you should use it as part of your formula for success. As a businessperson, it makes sense to follow business principles. Following this principle will increase the number of recommendations, referrals and testimonials you receive and it will help you grow your business.

That's my opinion, what's your.

Hector Cisneros is an entrepreneur with over 25-year experience. He is a 18-year veteran of BNI, and was BNI Director for six years. He is a firm believer in the BNI philosophy of "Giver Gain". Currently, he manages three businesses, writes and coach's business people in the art of Word of Mouth, Social Media and internet marketing. He has several intl. published articles covering word of mouth, social media marketing and how to improve your 60-second presentations. His new book "60 Seconds to Success" is aimed at helping business people make great first impressions and make more money through referral and word of mouth marketing campaigns. To learn more about Hector Cisneros, Social Media, Internet Marketing and Word of Mouth Marketing visit or the Networkers Apprentice Workshop at To contact Hector, write him at
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You will learn how to use powerful words that compel and motivate people to action. You will learn my methodology on how to construct your messages so that your referral partners will be able to repeat and pass your message on for you.

You will also learn how to keep your message fresh so that your listeners will be compelled to hear your message, even after hearing it many times.

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