Who is Your Charlotte?

who is your charlotteCharlotte’s Web, (non-affiliate link) the childrens classic by E.B. Webb, teaches us about friendship, loyalty, trust as well as survival. Wilbur, the runt of the litter is set for slaughter until the farmers’ daughter, Fern, convinces him that she can care for him and nurse him back to health. From the start, Wilbur is struggling but with the love and care from Fern he is able to grow big and strong enough to go and live at the Zuckerman’s farm with the the other animals.

When we launch a business, it is in the infantile stage and needs a lot of our attention to get it off the ground. Regardless if services or products are for sale, the business needs to grow through word-of-mouth, traditional and social media marketing. In the first few weeks of the launch, we are well received as it is new and friends/family as well as colleagues jump on board to be our Fern to help get us in front of people within their network. It is the jump start that every business needs to gain some confidence and momentum. After we have exhausted that set of contacts, we are set free to explore and promote the business on our own. Our friends still try and help, check in as Fern did when Wilbur was at Zuckerberg’s farm but it is not the same as it was at the launch.

Building Your Network

When starting a new business or almost at anytime of the life cycle of  a business we are building our network. The people in our network come from different areas in our life where some are family, friends and others are those that we have met either on or offline. While they serve different roles, they all have one common denominator. Trust.  We trust them and they trust us as who allows someone into their network that they do not trust?  The level of the trust is somewhat open to being scalable as there are some people who are in your network that for some reason you are apprehensive to refer them. While this begs the question as to why are they in your network, we have to consider the value they bring to us vs the area of where we lack that element of trust with them.  Building your network is a very important part of running your business as having people around you to support emotionally and physically helps the business to run better.  We cannot do it all ourselves.

Identifying Your Charlotte

Charlotte, a little gray spider that saved Wilbur’s life by extolling his excellence through her webs. Charlotte not only saves Wilbur’s life she makes him famous and famous enough to win the top prize at the county fair. Think about the people who are in your network as well as your customers, who praises you? Who is willing to praise you and help grow your business? Charlotte as wise as she was enlisted the  help of the other animals as she could not do this alone. Templeton the self serving and absorbed rat lends a hand, though always with a “what is in it for me.” Thinking along those lines, who within your networks network could be or is your Charlotte and who is your Templeton?

Your Referral Bank

Referrals, the way that we have done business for years is done a bit differently now. Social media marketing has opened the doors of opportunity to be more connected than we ever were before.  We are able to build an expanded network that we can tap into to grow our referral bank. A bank in the common usage of the word is a place where we deposit, withdrawl, apply/receive loans. When we think about growing our network it is similar to a bank. When we do a great and honest job, people talk and through that talking we can look at and for our Charlotte. There are some that will be our Charlotte’s (withdrawls), some we will be their Charlotte (deposits) and some that we take out on loan as they do refer but not over and over but expect a pay back (a loan). Your referral bank evolves as some people move on, change networks or lose value to us.

As we grow our network, we should think of it as a marketing strategy, which is outlined in John Jantschs’ Referral Engine, that encompasses lead generation, customer service, competitive management, financial and connections to people. The Referral Engine (non-affiliate link) shows how to employ the right tools to not only build your referral bank but to also how to differentiate from your competitors and be the only choice through the entire customer experience.  Expand this to your network – be the only one they refer due to the interaction that they have with you.

Show Your Passion

Passion. People see it and feel it and use that energy from you and thus refer you. We are passionate about things we really care about and are willing to let just about anyone know about it. Being passionate lends itself to happiness as we do not put a price tag or a time complaint about things we believe in. Ask me about my son, Andrew, and his reading or bike riding or the countless things he has learned over the past few months and see my face light up and then wish you had a muzzle.  I am incredibly passionate about the time I spend with him teaching him but also what I learn from him. At the age of 5 he has an amazing mind and way of thinking and expressing himself.

Finding your Charlotte or even sometimes your Templeton all revolve around trust, value and passion. We refer people we trust and believe are the right person for the job. In this sense we look at people and refer those who are worthy of the referral. An experience that exceeds our expectations we talk about, an experience that is way below our expectations and is just bad but what about the mediocre. We do not always talk about that.  Don’t be mediocre, create your Charlotte’s.

Do you have a Charlotte?

photo credit: km6xo

  • I know I said this the last time I was here but I wanted to say it again… Love the new look!

    One thing I always like to tell people is build your network before you need it. Do it without expectation of something in return and always approach things with the mindset of “how can I be helpful” and you'll get so much more in return than you ever expected to begin with.

  • Ricardo

    Thank you as I will not get tired of hearing praise about the new look,

    Yes, build the network before you need it but yet also I was going deeper (as I do in thought) about building the network before you need it but really thinking about who is there. Getting away from what is in it for me in the overall network but the identifying of the select few who are your Charlotte. Charlotte did not do it alone, she had the self serving but eager to please Templeton – those are the people in the network that you want to have. Sure the cheerleader but who is a part of the cheerleader's network,.

    Thanks so much for reading and sharing your thoughts. Always a pleasure and it never gets old seeing you jump in here,

  • I love the idea of Facebook as “Zuckerberg's Farm” LOL! Nice one.

  • I love the idea of Facebook as “Zuckerberg's Farm” LOL! Nice one.