Use Your Head to Get Your Foot in the Door

My friend Harvey Mackay, bestselling author of Swim With The Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive, has a new book out called Use Your Head to Get Your Foot in the Door: Job Search Secrets No One Else Will Tell You

In light of the current economy, many people are searching for new jobs, and Harvey is determined to empower people to land jobs that they love and change the job market.  Harvey is a huge proponent of the idea that if you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life. He also knows that the process of getting a job is a job in itself.  Use Your Head to Get Your Foot in the Door is the ultimate career resource book, and it guides you through the job search/career advancement process from A to Z.  Actually, I heard Larry King say recently that he believes it’s the most important book out right now.

I’ve always respected Harvey’s sales and networking tips and advice, and I think this book is a crucial resource for anyone who is embarking on a job search or planning for career advancement.

If you want to find out how to use state-of the-art researching skills and networking strategies, create a daily recovery program and job-search plan, and learn the best questions to ask in interviews and how to get the job, Click here or visit www.HarveyMackay.com to learn more about the book.  You’ll also get access to great tips and ideas that are only available on Harvey’s website.

Come back tomorrow to read a blog containing a sample of the kind of content you’ll find in Harvey’s book!

 

The Really Good Stuff!–Referral Levels 7-10

One thing we know about referrals is that it’s easier for your referral source to close the deal than it is for you because your source already has a relationship of trust with your prospect.  A referral where your referral source has already closed the deal for you before you even contact your prospect is the absolute best kind of referral you can get; it’s considered a level 10 referral.

Last week and the week before, I wrote blogs explaining the differences between referral levels 1 through 3 and referral levels 4 through 6. I promised all of that was leading up to “the really good stuff” so . . . Ahem! . . . Drumroll please! . . . here comes the really good stuff–referral levels 7 through 10!!

7.  Arranged a meeting. When your referral source arranges a meeting, she moves beyond the role of a promoter to that of a facilitator, taking the responsibility of working out the details of getting you and the prospect together.  This is a big-time referral effort.

8.  In-person introduction and promotion. At this level, your referral source is making a serious commitment of time and energy in support of your business.  By agreeing to serve as an intermediary in a face-to-face introduction, your source becomes an active business agent.  This demonstration of deep trust in and approval of your product or service substantially raises the referral’s effectiveness with the prospect.  Adding promotion further enhances its power, because your source is then actively engaged in selling your product or service instead of just facilitating a meeting.

9.  Assessment of need and interest. In this level, your referral source has done the work of assessing the need a prospect may have for your product or service and has gauged the prospect’s interest in learning more about it.  This enables you to focus your selling effort on needs you know the prospect has an intention to fill, and it allows you to select or tailor your products or services to provide specific benefits.

10.  Closed deal. At the top level, the sale has been closed before you even contact the prospect, soley on the strength of your referral source’s efforts.  Nothing else is required from you except to deliver the product or service and collect payment.

Greatest Strengths in Networking

According to a recent survey that I conducted of more than 12,000 business professionals from all over the world, these are the “greatest strengths” that people identified as having in networking.

  1. Developing quality relationships
  2. Connecting other people
  3. Meeting new people
  4. Good at following up
  5. Turning relationships into business opportunities

What are your greatest strengths?  Do agree with this list?

 

If you’d like to see what people said were the greatest weaknesses, take a look at my March 4 blog on this topic.

Referrals Are Not Equal

Last week I wrote a blog explaining that all referrals are not equal and that there are different levels of referrals.

The more time and effort your source puts into qualifying, educating and encouraging the prospect before you become involved, the higher the quality and level of that referral.  In level 4 through level 6 referrals, the quality of the referral is higher than level 1 through level 3 referrals.  Here’s why . . .

Level 4: General testimonial or letter of recommendation. Getting a referral source to say or write nice things about you is a major accomplishment.  His willingness to communicate positively about you and your business shows that you’ve built a moderate level of trust with him.  Of course, testimonials and letters of recommendation are fairly common in the business world, so their impact on the average person is limited.

Level 5: Letter of introduction and promotion. This is the first level of referral that truly involves a modicum of effort on the part of your referral source.  Unlike the letter of recommendation, which requires little more than a written endorsement, the note or letter of introduction implies a more substantive relationship between you and the referral source, and it usually includes background information and a description of your product or service as filtered through the lens of the author.  It also implies that the prospect will be hearing from you.

Adding the element of promotion increases the effectiveness of your referral source’s effort on your behalf.  Promotion is advocacy–an outright recommendation of your product or service with a description of its features and benefits.

Level 6: Introductory call and promotion. Another level up in terms of effort is the referral source who makes a personal phone call on your behalf.  It takes preparation and effort, but a telephone call from your source is more effective than a letter for paving your way to communicate with the prospect.  Including a promotion makes it even more favorable.

If you’re given a level 1 referral, you still have to do 95 percent of the work to close (which is not much better than a cold call) so the referral levels listed above are definitely more desirable than the referral levels I wrote about last week.  However, what you really want to get is a level 9 or 10 referral because with those, the person giving you the referral has already done most of the work for you.

Come back next week to find out the difference between referral levels 7, 8, 9 and 10–as I promised last week, this is where it gets good!

A Referral Is a Referral, Right? Wrong

A referral is better than a cold call because you have the name of the prospect and, if you’re fortunate, you can use the name of the referral source to open the door. What more could you hope for? Actually, there’s quite a bit more you can expect from referrals that have been properly developed by their sources.

You see, all referrals are not equal.  Referrals come in many different grades and they vary in quality according to how much involvement your referral source has invested in preparing the referral for you.

Here are the first three levels of referrals:

1.  Name and contact information only. This isn’t much better than having just a name to call.  It only indicates that your referral source has done just enough work to provide you with a phone number, address or some other way of contacting the prospect.

2.  Literature, biography and company information. When a referral source offers to give a contact your marketing literature or other information about your business, all you can be certain of is that the prospect will see the materials.  The prospect’s interest in your product or service will depend solely on the impact of your marketing message.

3.  Authorization to use name. Once a referral source has authorized you to use her name, you can feel fairly certain that you’ve established a good level of credibility with her.  By allowing you to say that she endorses your product or service, your source has given you valuable leverage with the prospect; however, the problem with this level of referral is that the burden of developing the prospect still rests on you.  Once you’ve conveyed that your referral source recommends you and your business, the task of selling really begins.

Think about the referrals you’ve gotten over the past couple of months.  Now, think about which referrals fall into each of the three categories above.  I’d love to hear your comments about the different results you’ve gotten from level 1, level 2 and level 3 referrals, so I encourage you to post your experiences below.

I’ll tell you more about level 4 through level 6 referrals next week; and in two weeks, I’ll get to the really good stuff . . . level 7 through level 10 referrals!

Speaking on Networking Like a Pro

If you are in Southern California on April 27th, you are invited to hear me speak at the University of La Verne at 10am.  It is open to the public and it is FREE!  To RSVP, call ULV at 909-593-3511 ext. 4202.

They invited me even after my last blog!!!!!  🙂

I will be doing material from my latest book; Networking Like a Pro!

Businesses Say Networking Helps Them Succeed; Professors Have to Look up the Term Networking!

My recently completed Referral Institute study of more than 12,000 business professionals from all around the world has ended, and I’ve been going through mountains of statistics and data (oh joy).  I thought I might share an important one with my readers.  This statistic will not surprise anyone in the real world (yes professors, I’m saying you live in a fantasy world):  91.4 percent of all respondents claimed that networking played a role in their success.  Only 6 percent said it did not, and I’m guessing that the 2.7 percent that said networking wasn’t applicable were the professors I just outed as being clueless about the real world.  If you think I’m being harsh, read my blog about my experience with the dean of a local California University who said that networking would never be taught in his school!

OK, so the rest of us aren’t surprised about this result, but here’s why I posted it: Finally, we have some empirical data as to how important business networking is to the success of a business! Maybe now that we are starting to have something boring–like  hard data– more professors in business schools will start to teach this content.  Oh well, it’s good to have goals.

The No. 1 Question to Ask as a Networker–‘How Can I Help?’

No matter who you are or what part of the world you live in, Givers Gain is the No. 1 rule to remember when networking. You should always be thinking, “How can I help this person?” After all, networking is about building relationships; and helping others is the absolute best way to begin the relationship-building process. Put simply, helping equals opportunity.

At a social event, you usually ask somebody, “How’s it going?”  What’s the typical reply?  Probably something like, “Great; things couldn’t be better.”  That’s a canned response that people give because they want to be polite and because they know nobody really wants to hear their troubles. But it’s not usually the whole truth.

Things can always be better–that is, there are surely ways you can help–but most people aren’t inclined to go into detail or let others know what’s going on, especially at social events. The best way to find out is to avoid generalities like, “How are things?”  Ask more specific questions.

For example, if somebody tells you that things are going great, their company is expanding, and business is better than they expected, ask a specific question like, “Are you hitting all of your goals?”  Even if they say yes, this is still a big opportunity to help. Think about it: A company that is expanding faster than the owner had projected. What kind of help might it need? You may be able to make some introductions that this individual would be very grateful for, but you can only figure out what introductions to make after getting past the generalities and finding out a person’s specific needs.

Many consider networking just another way to get clients, but when you think in terms of building relationships, a chance to help is a big opportunity. That help can be provided in many forms, each as valuable as the next.

Are You Paying ‘Attention’ to Your ‘Intention?’

Today’s blog posting is from Betty Jo Waxman of Productive Learning and Leisure. I saw a presentation she did recently and really liked her material, which she has allowed me to share here:

You always have an intention –and it’s always working.  If you haven’t set one consciously, then your unconscious intention is in play!

Project yourself ahead, to some point in the future. Then, looking back, what would you like to come away with and how do you want to feel about it?  Answer = your intention.

What to Use It for:

  1. Long Term–where you’re going and who you’re becoming.
  2. Any situation that has some level of importance to you where you have some level of doubt about how it will turn out–really, doubt about how you will do/perform/feel. One “helpful” step:
    Commit it to paper!

Five “critical” factors:

  1. State it in the present or the past. The future never comes!
  2. State it in the positive; what you want, not what you don’t want.
  3. Identify what you want to achieve, not how you will achieve it.
  4. Make it believable . . . to you! You always believe something: Either you believe your intention is possible, or you believe it can’t happen–which becomes your intention!
  5. Your Attention must be in alignment with your Intention. What you give your attention to is what you’ll find, and in turn it’s what you will have the opportunity to engage in.

We have to master both Intention and Attention to take ourselves to the level of consciously creating our own success.

Greatest Weaknesses in Networking

Based on a survey that I just completed of more than 12,000 business professionals from all over the world, “being unable to turn relationships into business opportunities” and “using a follow-up system” are the two greatest weaknesses that people identified relating to networking (see the graph below).

This tracks well with what I’ve seen over the past several decades relating to the concerns that businesspeople have regarding their networking efforts.

Turning relationships into business and follow-up are important networking skills that most people have concerns about.  One of the best database management systems and follow-up tools I’ve seen in years is the Relate2Profit.com program. It’s a great tool for creating “touch points” with people to turn relationships into business opportunities, and it provides an excellent follow-up system that is “referral-centric.”

Take a look at the system.  Mike Zinni, the developer of the program, has kindly offered to give all my readers a lifetime discount of 50 percent for the program.  Just use the code: Ask-Ivan for the discount.

I think it’s well worth trying out, and I’d love to hear what you think of it!

Xerox, A Love Story

I love a company that takes care of its employees.  When times are tough, you hear one story after another about companies callously letting go of the very people who drive the business.  Well, here’s a story that I think every company should emulate.

A number of years ago, Xerox had some big cutbacks.  A large government contract had not been renewed and Xerox was forced to close down work being done in one of its large plants in Southern California.  Unfortunately, three buildings had to be shut down, and virtually all the employees working in those buildings had to be let go.  My dad was one of those employees.  He was 62 years old and had worked for the company as an electrician for nine years and 8 months.  He was, unfortunately, only four months short of vesting in his retirement and medical benefits.  When management discovered this, officials worked with him to change his classification and to allow him to help clear out, board up and shut down the three buildings.

When my dad finished the job early, Xerox found other work for him to do.  The company ended up laying off every employee in those buildings, including my father’s supervisors.  However, it kept my dad on until he hit 10 years and one week of employment.  Then the company laid him off with all his fellow employees.  However, he was now fully vested in his retirement and medical benefits, which completely changed his lifestyle for the better during his retirement years.

Most companies, under these circumstances, would have let an employee go without blinking.  Most companies would not have cared that an employee was only four months short of retirement.   Xerox cared.  I love that about the company, and I love its product. This happened more than a decade ago.  I promised myself that I would only buy Xerox copiers from then on.  The latest one is in my office today.

I love a company that cares about its people this much because it speaks volumes about the company’s ethics and loyalty–it shows me that it does what’s right even if it doesn’t necessarily benefit the company.  A company that cares about doing what’s right is a company you can trust; you don’t have to constantly look over your shoulder and wonder if it’s going to take advantage of you or rip you off.  To this day, I have great confidence in Xerox as a company and I am more than glad to give it my business.

If you have had a great experience with a specific company, why not pay them a little lip service?  I, for one, would love to find out about great companies that probably deserve my business.  Leave a comment here and tell me what company you love and what it is about them that makes you love it.

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