For myself, whenever I get “stuck” at a certain income, I have to believe more is possible before I act in a way that makes that belief come true.
Because my expertise is in the area of client acquisition through referrals, I’m going to address specifically how limiting thinking and beliefs may be sabotaging your ability to create an abundant flow of high-quality clients through referrals.
Management consultant Zemira Jones says, “A team with the right beliefs will almost always excel over a team without the right beliefs. Even the most elegant strategies are doomed when not supported by the right beliefs.”
Skill Set or Mindset?
If you are not producing the results you want in a certain area of your life, ask yourself this question: “Is this a skill set or a mindset problem?” I suggest that these two go hand-in-hand and must always be addressed together. You could possess all the knowledge possible in a certain area, but your application of that knowledge – the development of skill – will always be affected by what you believe to be possible.
To change your results, you must first change your beliefs.
To put it another way, a limited mindset (belief system) yields limited awareness, which stifles results-producing action.
Jones says, “Whatever you do, think, and believe your brain perpetuates.” You think, “Asking for referrals isn’t safe. I might look needy or hurt the relationship.” Your brain says, “Okay. If that’s what you want. I’ll play along.”
What Are Your Limiting Beliefs?
So, relating this to referrals, let’s see if I can help you shed some light on areas where you may be sabotaging your results.
1. I believe that my clients love me and I’m referable. Are you 100% sure? Are you getting a lot of referrals without asking for them? When you ask for referrals, are about 50% of your clients willing to talk to you about introductions to others? Unsolicited referrals is a barometer of your referability.
2. I believe that asking for referrals is an extension of how I serve my clients. This goes to the heart of your belief in the work that you do for your clients.
3. I believe that approaching clients for referrals is a safe thing to do. Most people believe that approaching clients for referrals is risky. That’s why they don’t ask – or if they do ask, they do it in a very weak way. They fear they will come across as pushy or needy or both. The truth is – with the right approach, neither will happen. When the switch inside the brain moves from “risky” to “safe,” this limiting belief becomes an expansive belief.
4. I believe that using a process to approach clients for referrals will yield better results than winging it. Most people – usually because they were never taught a good process – wing it when asking clients for referrals. Their approach lacks confidence and clarity, so their request is usually ineffective.
The Good News and the Bad News
As recently as about twenty years ago, physicians and scientists believed that an adult’s brain was static. Once all the neuropathways were set, they stayed that way. Brain cells could be destroyed, but not created. The science of neuroplasticity has disproven that thinking many times over. Our patterns of emotion, thought, and action can – over time – change the structure and wiring of the brain.
The bad news is this: our habits are truly hardwired into our brain. When someone says, “I’m wired that way.” He/she is telling the truth. The good news is this: we can change our wiring. We can change our habits. Old dogs can be taught new tricks.
So whenever someone tells you, “That’s the way I am!”, your response can be, “For the time being.”
Changing Beliefs Is Difficult
It’s not easy to change beliefs. In fact, with beliefs that have become “hard wired” it’s downright hard – but NOT IMPOSSIBLE.
To change a belief, and the corresponding actions, we need to create what Zemira Jones (All American Management Group) calls a “Pattern Interrupt.” He says, “When the Navy wants their Seals to acquire a new skill, they don’t spend a lot of time talking about it. They throw the Seal into the turbulent water. The Seal learns how to survive. Through his/her own actions, the Seal then believes he/she can survive. Now the Seal owns that belief and the corresponding confidence.”
I find this fascinating. Beliefs dictate our actions. But to change our beliefs, we have to act. So we can’t change our beliefs from the level of belief. We have to ACT.
To change your results, change your beliefs. To change your beliefs, be willing to try new behavior that will – over time – rewire your brain to establish new habits.
Bill Cates is the author of Get More Referrals Now! and Beyond Referrals. To receive Bill’s complimentary tips and to learn more about how he might help you acquire more and better clients through referrals, go to www.ReferralCoach.com (301-497-2200)