Are you educating your network or just selling to them?

Educating your networking group’s members about the type of referrals you want (and even the names of the individuals with whom you want to meet and develop relationships) is much more important to the success of your networking in a closed contact network than selling to the members. This demands a shift in how you see your networking partners and educating them about your business. They are not the clients! They are, in effect, your sales force! In order for any sales force to get out there and sell you effectively, they have to know who to sell you to and how to sell you.

Read More

Decisions Aren’t Always Easy

I’ve been a member of the Transformational Leadership Council for the last 12 years.  It is a group of innovative and out-of-the-box leaders that meet twice a year from all around the world, and last week we met in Napa Valley, California.  I use this time to expand my mind, brainstorm new content for my blog and articles and most of, all learn from the incredible teachers around me.

One of the topics that really got my attention was the idea of “decision fatigue.”   

In decision making and social psychology, decision fatigue refers to the exhaustion that sets in when someone is presented with the need to make one decision after another, back to back, over and over again.  This can play out in several ways–for example, it can be as simple as going to a grocery store and being confronted with one bad choice for food after another. By the time you are checking out, your willpower becomes weak and you buy that candy on the way out of the check stand (that’s why they have it there!)

Photo courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Photo courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 It can also be related to a very long day of making many decisions. If you’re making tough calls all day long, the quality of the decisions will drastically diminish by days end.  Or it might play out over a very long period of time (weeks, months, or years) where you are confronted with one challenging decision after another.  Over an extended period of time, you feel exhausted and drained from having to make so many decisions about so many different issues that it is easy to experience “burnout” as a result.

In running a global organization with an incredible amount of competing demands, this last consideration really rang true for me.  I often felt that the serious nature of the ongoing decisions that needed to be made, could create a massive amount of long-term stress for me. One way I combated this stress was to schedule dedicated “mental health days” to reset my mindset and get in a better place.  

I spoke about this several years ago in my blog here. 

Decision fatigue is a real condition.  What, if anything, do you do to combat this feeling in your life?

Four Keys to Becoming a Networking Catalyst

ID-100227642I’ll be the first to admit that I’m no mechanic. In fact, when I was a kid, my father (who could fix just about anything) took me out to the garage one day and said, “Son, you’d better go to college because you’re never going to make a living with your hands.” Well, that was great advice, Dad. And I think things have worked out pretty well for me as a result of your suggestion.

Despite my lack of skills as a mechanic, I can, however, tell you how a catalytic converter relates to networking and your business. By definition, a catalyst is an agent that initiates a reaction. In networking, a catalyst is someone who makes things happen. Without a catalyst, there is no spark, and not much gets done. So what does it take for you to become a catalyst for your business and your network? Four things: initiative, intention, confidence, and motivation.

  1. Initiative. Catalytic people don’t sit still—they make things happen in all aspects of their lives. As networkers, they stay alert for a problem that needs solving and then spring into action, calling on someone from their network to solve the problem. They operate with a “get it done now” mentality.
  2. Intention. Catalytic people operate with intent and are goal-driven. As networkers, catalytic people have both business and networking goals. They learn the goals of others so they can help people achieve them.
  3. Confidence. Catalytic people have confidence in themselves and in the players on their team. This helps ensure that the task at hand will be accomplished with stellar results.
  4. Motivation. Catalytic people are not only motivated themselves, but they also spur others on to perform at their highest potential. These people encourage others to contribute, sharing their energy and excitement through their words and actions. They are motivated by personal and professional rewards that they can’t wait to share with others, and they desperately want to help others succeed.

To set your network in motion toward helping your business, make it your goal to become a catalytic person. Think of your network as a row of standing dominoes. Each domino will remain standing until you act on the first domino. As a catalyst, you must tap the first domino to watch the chain reaction of tumbling dominoes. Your network is standing in place, waiting for you to set the pieces in motion.

But what if you’re looking at your rows of dominos and realize that there are serious gaps that will disrupt the chain reaction? Or maybe you don’t have nearly as many dominos as you thought. Even if you are a catalytic person, you first need to have a well-rounded and sufficiently populated network.

Three Essential Questions to Ask When Looking for Networking Events

ID-100303851Attending enough and the right events for networking your business can be hard. How do you know which events will be a waste of your time, and which will benefit you in the long run?

Figuring out a plan to help you pick the right events is an important step to making sure you’re not wasting time. While you have to spend a few minutes up front, you’ll save hours in time that you won’t spend at events that won’t benefit you.

To develop this plan, you should ask yourself three questions:

  1. Who are my best prospects?
    Yes, you really do need to ask yourself this. Believe it or not, it is more common for people not to know. This is a prime reason why businesspeople waste their time attending every networking event under the sun – they just don’t know who they want to do business with. One you nail down your prospects and the types of people who tend to work well for you, you can move on to the next question.
  2. Where can I meet my best prospects – or people who will introduce me to my prospects?
    If your business is geared toward a specific type of person, some events will be more effective uses of your time than others. If your business is geared toward executives at large businesses, attending a Chamber mixer after-hours is a waste of time – these people probably won’t be there. Nail down where your ideal prospects go, and attend those types of meetings.
  3. Who, exactly, do I want to meet?
    You don’t know who other people know, and guessing would be a waste of your time. So, to best get in contact with the people you need, you need to know how to describe them. If you can tell your contacts what kind of consumer you’re looking for, in as much detail as possible, you’ll be able to get connected easier.

These three steps are detailed fully in “Avoiding the Networking Disconnect: The Three Rs to Reconnect,” my most-recent book with Brennan Scanlon.

Who are your best prospects? Where are you meeting them? Share your tips in the comments below!

Never Stop Educating Yourself

ID-10041080I’m a huge believer in the value of continued education. No one is ever at a point where they can stop educating themselves, and if you do stop, you’ll surely fall behind in your field.

We can’t always be enrolled in a higher education course, though, so what is the most logical way to continue educating yourself well into your professional life? While the best way to learn indefinitely depends on your lifestyle, your specific field, and your learning style, here are my three favorite ways to keep on top of new (and old!) developments in business.

Read articles and books. Thought leaders are always writing articles and books about their fields, sharing their perspectives on the ins and outs of their specialties. While these pieces will always have some degree of opinion in them, and you won’t always agree with everything you read, well written articles and books will get you thinking, get you interested, and leave you wanting to do your own follow up research.

Attend conferences. When you attend a conference and you listen to the keynote speaker, if those in charge of organizing the event did their job, the speaker not only taught you a little something, but got you fired up to go out and learn more. Not only is the keynote speaker a great source of continued education at conferences, smaller sessions and even other attendees can help get your gears turning, and teach you something you didn’t know before.

Practice practice practice. You probably haven’t reached the point where you can do anything perfectly every time, and even if you have, going without practice can cause you to lose your skill. How can you get better at something if you don’t do it? What’s more, talk to colleagues, people you respect in your field, or consult the internet for new techniques as you’re practicing. If you keep practicing something the wrong way, you’ll get really good at doing it wrong. If you practice something in new and different ways, you’ll be more likely to round out that skill level.

How do you continue your education? Let me know in the comments below!

What Networking Is Not

Photo courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Photo courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Misconceptions about networking abound.  I saw a newspaper editorial which implied that networkers were mercinaries who attacked a crowded room until no one was left untouched.  According to the editorial, people who networked cared only about themselves and not those to whom they were speaking.  The writer was basing her comments on several meetings where she had witnessed these so-called networkers in action.

There is a big difference, however, between good networking and bad networking, and what she undoubtedly saw were vivid examples of bad networking.  It sounded to me as if some of the people she described had had a charisma bypass and that their major contribution to the event was to leave it.  These people apparently were hawks who surrounded their quarry.

Implying that such people were typical of all networkers is a little like saying all salespeople are like Herb Tarlek, the obnoxious salesman on the TV series “WKRP in Cincinnati.”  Networking is as good or bad as the person who happens to be doing it at that moment.  The problem is that good networking is an acquired skill and one that not all people have acquired.

Most people have been left on their own to develop their networking abilities.  They have drawn upon management, sales, and social skills, and then applied them to a loosely defined notion of networking.  This is why I devote so much of my time to writing books, articles, and blog posts about networking.  People can achieve great things through networking, but first it’s necessary to gain an thorough understanding of the skills and techniques required for becoming an effective or Notable Networker.

Whether you’re a networking newbie or a seasoned networker, I highly encourage you to visit NetworkingNow.com to learn everything you can about how to continually improve your networking skills and get the highest return from your networking efforts.  There are literally hundreds of business and networking downloads available in the site’s online library and you can access all of them for FREE for six months by entering the free subscription code given below.

The free subscription is a gift from IvanMisner.com and all you have to do is enter the code (“freesixmonths”) on NetworkingNow.com to gain access to the entire library of content! Please note that you will be required to enter a credit card number on the site but you will not be billed for the free six month membership.  You will need to end your subscription if you don’t wish to be billed for the second six months.

Once you visit NetworkingNow.com, I’d love to hear what you think of it!  Please come back and share your thoughts in the comment forum below and, also, please let me know what type of downloadable content you most prefer to access on sites like NetworkingNow.com:

  • Video?
  • Audio?
  • PDF Articles?
  • Digital Books?
  • Something Else? If so, what specifically?

Classic Video: How to Invest Your Time and Money for the Highest Return

I have been doing video blogs for quite a few years now and a while back it occurred to me that some of the videos I’ve previously posted focus on timeless topics that deserve to be revisited and not buried way back in the video blog archive.  For this reason, I decided to occasionally feature a “classic” video blog from my blog archive and today I am sharing the fifth one–”How to Invest Your Time and Money for the Highest Return.” In this video, I talk about how to invest time and money into your business in the way that will ultimately pay the highest return–education.

Many businesses fail within their first three years of existence because they only pay lip service to education yet aren’t willing to invest the time, effort, and money into learning about how to continually grow and develop in order to achieve the business goals and the vision they outlined for themselves at the start.

The fact is, people who immerse and engage in a culture of learning are much, much more successful than those who don’t. Watch the video now to learn about an action you can take this week that will help you measure whether or not you’re investing enough of your time and money into what will truly help your business earn more and achieve more. 

I’m quite interested in hearing your thoughts on this video, your comments about what you currently do in order to invest in educating yourself to build your business, and also your results from carrying out the action item I explain at the end of the video.  Please leave your feedback regarding any or all of these things in the comment forum belowThanks!

‘More Money Mondays’–FREE Referral Tips to Shorten Your Work Week

At a recent Referral Institute® Conference, I had the opportunity to talk with my good friend (and partner in the Referral Institute), Mike Macedonio, about a fantastic new (and completely FREE) service which is available to businesspeople and networkers across the globe.  It’s called ‘More Money Mondays’ and by signing up for the service you get weekly referral marketing tips delivered to you via e-mail each Monday which will help you learn how to simultaneously build your business and make your work week shorter and more enjoyable.

Watch the video now to get all the details on this exciting new service and CLICK HERE or go to www.MoreMoneyMondays.com to sign up for your FREE weekly referral marketing tips.  If you’re already utilizing ‘More Money Mondays,’ I’d love to hear what you think of the service it provides–please leave your thoughts and feedback in the comment forum below.  Thanks!

Classic Video Feature–How to Invest Your Time & Money for the Highest Return

I have been doing video blogs for quite a few years now and a while back it occurred to me that some of the videos I’ve previously posted focus on timeless topics that deserve to be revisited and not buried way back in the video blog archive.  For this reason, just this past JulyI decided to occasionally feature a “classic” video blog from my blog archive and today I am sharing the second one–”How to Invest Your Time & Money for the Highest Return.”

In this video, I talk about how to invest time and money into your business in the way that will ultimately pay the highest return–education.

Many businesses fail within their first three years of existence because they only pay lip service to education yet aren’t willing to invest the time, effort, and money into learning about how to continually grow and develop in order to achieve the business goals and the vision they outlined for themselves at the start.

The fact is, people who immerse and engage in a culture of learning are much, much more successful than those who don’t. Watch the video now to learn about an action you can take this week that will help you measure whether or not you’re investing enough of your time and money into what will truly help your business earn more and achieve more. 

I’m quite interested in hearing your thoughts on this video, your comments about what you currently do in order to invest in educating yourself to build your business, and also your results from carrying out the action item I explain at the end of the video.  Please leave your feedback regarding any or all of these things in the comment forum below.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
   Follow Me

Get every new post delivered to your inbox