Machen MacDonald: Open your container of awareness |

Machen MacDonald: Open your container of awareness

Awareness is the key to initiating the change you desire. Let’s face it, unless we have an awareness that something needs to be different we won’t seek out solutions to bring about the change we seek.

Most people only complain about what they think should be different but are not willing to take the risk to make it so. So, don’t complain. Make it so. The first step is having an awareness of what the possibilities are.

Let’s dive deeper into this piece we refer to as … Awareness.

Throughout our entire day or even our life for that matter, we are at varying degrees of consciousness or of being awake. I.e., not on auto pilot letting our patterns and habits drive the bus, which is not a bad thing if we have developed the right habits and patterns. Most people simply have not.

To illustrate how this shows draw a circle. That circle represents everything there is to know about a certain something. For the sake of this article, let’s just say it represents everything there is to know about getting favorably introduced to ideal prospects. I’m sure anybody who owns their own business or is in sales could stand to step up their game of getting more favorable introductions, right?

Now, I want you to slice out about 10 percent of that circle. That slice represents what you know you know about getting referrals. Things like having a comfortable script. When is the best time to ask. Maybe providing a feeder list. Assuring confidentiality and things like that.

Now, carve out another slice next to the first slice that represents another 10 percent of the entire circle. That slice represents what we know we don’t know about getting solid referrals to prospective ideal clients. It might be things like a proven script that actually works and isn’t uncomfortable for either you or the referrer. Right?

Do you imagine that a script like that could possibly exist and that if you practiced enough you could master it and be at ease getting more referrals? Get this piece, we may know of something but not know how to do that something. That’s part of the “we know what we don’t know slice.”

Here is the mind bind trap. Most people think the combined 20 percent of the two slices is the entire universe of that particular subject. So, they dance back and forth between the two slices only to effectively rearrange the deck furniture on a sinking Titanic.

One of my favorite sayings come from a legend in the insurance industry. His name was Tom Wolfe and he use to say, “When you know and you know you know confidence replaces fear.”

I am sure we would all agree with that. That’s basically saying if we can bring the slice of knowing what we don’t know into the slice of what we know we will be fine. And therein lies the trap.

It’s not about moving what we know we don’t know into the slice of what we know. Our real power is in letting go of what we think we know. The solutions we seek to having our breakthrough lies in the larger 80 percent of the circle … It’s in the area of what we don’t even know we don’t know. And that’s, a very scary place to go.

As Joseph Campbell is known for saying when talking about the hero’s journey, “The dark cave you fear most to enter has the treasure you seek.” So often, it is just a willingness to look at something a little differently or from a new perspective. But we can easily freak ourselves out and avoid exploring or trying something new.

Let me give you an example.

Sticking with the theme of getting referrals, I’m going to assume you have had some kind of training or exposure to the importance of getting referrals and how to go about acquiring them to grow their business. At the very least, you have heard that word of mouth is the best form of advertising.

I’m going to make another assumption and that is … only a few of you, if any have made it part of your process … meaning you do it 100 percent of the time. If you do it 80 percent or 90 percent of the time that’s better than most and … it is not a successful process.

A process is 100 percent.

To eat food successfully, a part of the process that must happen 100 percent of the time to be effective is you must open your mouth to get the food in. You miss that step of the process and you risk going hungry.

With an effective referral process don’t ask if your client knows anybody. That’s making them do the mental work. Never make your clients work on your behalf. Remember, your job is to make their life better and easier.

Tell your client who you will be contacting so you can help them. Provide your current client an opportunity to feel important by asking them if they would be willing to be a character reference for you. Think back to the last time you were asked to be a character reference for someone you respected and liked.

It was an honor of sorts to be asked that. It probably made you feel good. Right? Client relationship management is just as much about creating and stringing together many memorable moments that feel good between you and your clients as it is tracking the analytics of the plans and transactions.

I shared this perspective with you to get you to become aware of a different possibility of how to view referrals and the process of getting them in a more favorable and pleasing way. If something is pleasing we will be more likely to do it than if we imagine it to be awkward or … excruciating.

There are as many ways to ask and get referrals as there are professional sales people. I invite you to find your way in developing the best way for you. What’s the process and the steps within the process? You will need the answers to these five questions:

What about me makes me uniquely qualified to succeed at being referable and getting favorable introductions to ideal clients?

How do I promote those qualities without shame so my clients get the importance of helping those they care about by introducing me to them?

How can I use the law of reciprocity to condition my clients to want and need to provide me introductions to prospective clients so they can feel good?

How do I describe who my ideal client is and what makes them tick?

How will I supportively and respectfully ask for what I need?

Once you have the answers to these five questions you have all you need to formulate your process for creating a wave of ongoing favorable introductions to more ideal clients in a pleasing and comfortable way.

If you can’t answer these, you will continue to struggle by avoiding asking and when you do ask you’ll get back the names of people that are not a good fit for you. That’s not my idea of fun. It gets to be fun.

I want to point out, this is not about referrals it’s about awareness. I’m just using referrals as an example.

What is one new useful awareness you have picked up from this article? It doesn’t have to be something you read. Most likely it’s something different that popped into your mind while your were reading. It could be a game-changing thought for you. Write it down so you can continue to shine the light on your new awareness and bring it to life.

I want you to write something else down.

I invite you to write down one to three areas you feel stuck in or don’t know how to do something as effective as you think you need to grow and enjoy your business.

What is something, that if you could figure it out or crack the code, then your business would take off and life would be much more easy and enjoyable? Write it down.

For right now we are just opening the container into which new awareness may land so you can direct your energy and focus to derive a solution. This is how you make yourself available to discovering what exists in the 80 percent of what you don’t know you don’t know.

Make it up, make it fun, and get it done!

#1 bestselling author Machen P. MacDonald, CPCC, CCSC is a certified life and business coach with ProBrilliance Leadership Institute in Grass Valley. He helps business people gain more confidence and clarity to live their ideal life. He can be reached at and 530-273-8000

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