2 Tips for Moving People in the Right Direction

The business I’m in involves a lot of coaching and guiding of franchisees to teach them how to coach and guide entrepreneurs, salespeople, and professionals to generate referrals for themselves and others.  Sometimes this feels a little like ‘herding cats’; entrepreneurs hate being told what to do and it takes a real skill set to move them in a direction that involves a lot of hard work but will help them achieve the results they want.

Image courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

One of the biggest challenges I have in this process is not with the actual entrepreneur or salesperson but with the individual I’m coaching to be able to guide the entrepreneur or salesperson. These people have gone through many hours of training, tend to have a fair amount of field experience, and have support manuals that exceed a thousand pages of documentation to assist in the process.   They are true expertsI’ve discovered, however, that sometimes expertise can actually be a problem. Just because your expertise may arm you with the knowledge to recognize the solution to a problem or challenge, it doesn’t mean other people are going to automatically ‘believe’ you know the solution and/or want you to actually tell them the solution.  I know that sounds counter intuitive; however, if you’ve ever raised a child, you know that this is often times absolutely true!

So, let’s say you’re an expert.  You know you’re an expert.  You know that you can help someone else.  You also know that this “someone else” is a grownup who runs their own business or is an independent sales rep who chose their particular career for good reason . . . they like the freedom of being independent.  How do you move these people in the right direction?

I had a person who worked for my company who once went into one of my locations and was appalled by how badly things were being run by the members of the group.  She let them know in no uncertain terms what they were doing wrong and how they needed to turn it around. Her assessment of the situation and the solutions she proposed were spot on but her presentation of them was all wrong. She was so blunt with the group’s members that she received a very negative reaction from them and ended up leaving the place an even bigger mess than it was when she first walked in.  When I met with her to talk about how she might have done things differently, she grew furious with me for not supporting her since she was right and the members of the group were wrong.  I wasn’t arguing that she was right–she was.  The problem I had was how she handled the situation–in that area, she was completely wrong. I tried to explain this to her by sharing one of my favorite sayings relating to the dilemma:  “Don’t burn down the barn to roast the pig.” In other words, don’t make things worse than you found them when you were trying to fix them in the first place.

She could never really wrap her head around the concept that people may not welcome her advice with enthusiasm and agree with her stance on an issue when she was clearly right.  She didn’t work for me for much longer (make of that what you will) and, eventually, we got an expert to work with that group who ‘listened’ to their issues,  Built relationships with the group members, and then coached them into achieving the greatness they had within them.  It’s important to note that this process took time and patience.

There are two things I try to teach people in this situation.

First, people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” If you want people to listen to you when you are coaching them or re-directing them, they have to know that you care about them and want them to succeed.  If they don’t know this down to their core – they will not listen to your advice.  Ever.

Second, is a saying given to me by mother on a paper weight when I was about 16 years old and I was running an uphill battle for a student council race.  My mother gave me this paper weight (which is still on my desk in my home to this date).  The paper weight says: Diplomacy is the art of letting someone else have your way.” When she gave me that, she explained that I had to learn how to work “with” people – not “through” people.  She said that even if I did know the answer to a problem – it did no good if no one else believed me.  That advice helped me win the election and it has helped me many times throughout my life.  I have to admit that I don’t always use it as well as I can – however, when I do use it, things almost always go more smoothly.

The bottom line is this: being right doesn’t help much if no one is willing to follow you.

What are your thoughts on this issue?  Maybe you can share a story . . . but, remember to keep it positive.  Let’s focus on positive outcomes more than just horror stories.

Free Monthly ‘Networking Cafe’ Webinar–You’re Invited!

In this video, filmed at a recent networking conference in Nashville, TN, I talk to my good friend and partner in the Referral Institute®, Eddie Esposito, about the monthly Networking Cafe webinars we offer to the public.  These FREE monthly webinars offer invaluable information about how to grow business through networking and referral marketing and we often have guests on the webinar who are experts at helping people achieve business success.  Past guests include Jack Canfield, Michael Gerber, and Susan RoAne, among others.

These “Networking Cafe” webinars take place on the last Friday of each month and all you need to do to find out how to participate (we welcome you to ask questions during the webinar) for free is to visit the following link: http://referralinstitute.com/index.php/en-us/networking-cafe.

Thanks so much for watching this video and I really hope to interact with you on one of the upcoming webinars in the near future.  Also, if you have any suggestions for topics which you would love to have addressed on a future webinar, by all means, please leave your topic suggestions in the comment forum below–I’m  more than happy to address all valuable and relevant topics.  Thanks!

Are You Serious about Being in Business? Here’s How to Find Out . . .

A while back, I was one of the featured speakers at a conference for small business owners and one of the other speakers offered a list of things that all business owners must have in place in order to truly be in business and position themselves for success.  The speaker said, “If you don’t have all these things in place, you’re not really in business!”

This really stuck with me because there is a lot of validity to it.  With all the responsibilities of being a business owner, sometimes circumstances can get over whelming and some of the key things that should be in place to truly be in business tend to get pushed aside for “when there’s more time” (which will never happen) or get forgotten. 

Image courtesy of ddpavumba / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of ddpavumba / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Below is the list given by the speaker.  These are the things which all serious business owners must have in place in order to truly be in business and position themselves for success:

  1. I have business cards for myself and my team.
  2. I have a distinct phone line specifically for my business.
  3. I have a registered domain.
  4. I have a current website.
  5. I have an e-mail that corresponds with my business domain.
  6. I have a dedicated office or business space (even if it is home-based).
  7. I know what my target market is.
  8. I have a contact database system in place to communicate with my prospects.

As obvious as this list seems, half the participants at that conference did not meet all the requirements. I spoke to the same group of people again during another event, however, and I’m pleased to report that virtually all of the participants this time around met the above requirements (and more).

So here’s my question for you . . . Are YOU truly serious about being in business?  For those of you who can answer ‘yes’ to that question, what would you add to this list, if anything?  I’d love to hear your thoughts–please share them in the comment forum below.  Thanks!

 

A Burning Question for Richard Branson

Last year, My wife Beth and I posted a question on Facebook in search of the most creative and interesting answer.  The question was: “If you had an opportunity to ask Sir Richard Branson one question, what would it be?”

In this video, I reveal the best, most interesting question that someone responded with:

“What venture or company do you wish you had started instead of someone else, or what business did you have a chance to invest in but didn’t and now regret not investing in it?”

I go on to reveal the equally interesting (if not more interesting) answer to this question which I got lucky enough to receive directly from Sir Richard Branson himself during a visit to Necker Island.

Watch the video now for Branson’s answer . . . and, hey, you never know–perhaps this will be the answer to a question you get during a game of Trivial Pursuit somewhere down the road, in which case you’ll be darn glad you watched this video! 😉

I’m curious– what would YOU ask Richard if you could ask him anything?  As long as it’s not something like, “Richard, will you adopt me (even though I’m 57) and make me independently wealthy so I don’t have to work for the rest of my life?” (Ha, ha . . . :-)), then I’d love to hear what questions you come up with!  Please leave your feedback in the comment forum below.  Thanks!

Give Me One Good Reason I Should Do Business With You

SHARK-TANKA few months ago, I started watching some episodes of “Shark Tank” and I got hooked!  There are some serious business lessons that can be learned by viewing the show and I saw one of them last week while I was watching a rerun from a previous season (it’s sad, I’m completely hooked now and I’m checking out past episodes).

There was an entrepreneur on the show by the name of Raven Thomas.  Raven started a food business called, The Painted Pretzel (pretzels covered with chocolate and other confectionaries).

She had a pretty good business and, according to the panelists (The Sharks), a product that was delicious. After a fair amount of discussion, Lori Greiner (one of the Sharks) got down to the end of the conversation and asked, “Why should we invest in you?”   I realized at that moment that this was the big question and I knew Raven’s answer could make or break the deal.  Raven replied to Lori with… “The main reason is that I have two little kids and . . . (blah, blah, blah, blah, blah).”  I immediately paused the show, looked to my wife Beth, and practically screamed “She just blew it!  She totally gave a relational answer to a bunch of transactional SHARKS!  They don’t care about blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, they want something closer to ‘show me the money’ than ‘I love what I do!’” 

Beth replied, “You have to know your audience when you are talking about your business.” Her statement was spot on.   Before I started up the episode again, Beth and I talked about how crucial it was for Raven to speak the language that the Sharks speak if she wanted them to invest in her.  She needed to speak a language focused on opportunity, growth, ROI, and cold hard cash.  Instead, Raven talked about how she felt about her business and how it related to her children.  Her answer failed to include anything at all that the Sharks would relate to as serious, analytical business investors looking for reasons to convince them Raven’s business would be a wise financial investment.

I resumed watching the episode so I could witness the train wreck which I was sure was about to ensue.  To my astonishment, Robert Herjavec gave Raven a “do-over” (I really like this Shark – if I ever have the chance to be a panelist on a business show, I’d like to think my style would be similar to his).  Robert looked at Raven and gave her a chance to give a better answer by saying to her, “Let’s do that again.She took a moment and said, “A good reason to invest in me is that I had to walk away from a $2 million deal because I did not have the capital to fill the order . . . and that door is still open.” This answer was a show stopper—it completely landed the Sharks’ attention.  Within a few moments, Mark Cuban (Shark and owner of the Dallas Mavericks) offered Raven $100,000 cash and distribution of her product at his stadium and at each location of the movie theater chain he owns!  She, of course, said yes to Mark’s offer.  As a result, she now expects that her company’s sales will exceed $1.2 million dollars this year!

The lesson to be learned here is that it is absolutely imperative to know your audience and tailor your comments to suit the people you’re talking to.  This is an extremely important lesson in both the business arena and the networking arena.  In fact, it’s one of the main reasons why I recommend that when you first meet people, you begin by asking them questions about themselves prior to speaking in length about yourself.  The more you know about the people you’re talking to, the better able you will be to craft your own message in a way that effectively resonates with them.

I’d love to hear either a success story or a horror story that you might have about people “knowing” or “not knowing” their audience.  Please share your story in the comment forum below. Thanks!

Jim Blasingame: ‘The Age of the Customer’

I have been good friends with small business expert Jim Blasingame for over ten years and I can fully attest to the fact that his knowledge of what it takes to achieve success in small business is unparalleled (but don’t take my word for it, check out his bio below*).  I am excited to announce that just a few weeks ago, he released a revolutionary new book that will change the way the we think about buying and selling.

This short video offers a quick overview of the premise of Jim’s newly released book, The Age of the Customer, which focuses on the momentous marketplace shift currently taking place that is affecting the way we all do business.  Watch the video now to get a glimpse of what this significant marketplace shift means and to gain an awareness of the greatest danger it presents to business owners across the globe.

Knowledge is power and preparation is one of the greatest keys to success in business; The Age of the Customer arms you with the knowledge you need to prepare your business for lasting success.  CLICK HERE FOR A FREE SAMPLE OF THE BOOK.

After watching the video, reading through the free book sample, or reading the entire book, I’d love to hear your thoughts on Jim’s ‘Age of the Customer’ concept–please leave your feedback in the comment forum below. Thanks!

  * Jim Blasingame is one of the world’s foremost experts on small business and entrepreneurship, and was ranked as the #1 small business expert in the world by Google.  President and founder of Small Business Network, Inc., Jim is the creator and award-winning host of The Small Business Advocate® Show, nationally syndicated since 1997.  As a high-energy keynote speaker, Jim talks to small business audiences about how to compete in the 21st century global marketplace, and he talks with large companies about how to speak small business as a second language.  A syndicated columnist and the author of three books, including Small Business Is Like a Bunch of Bananas and Three Minutes to Success, which have sold almost 100,000 copies combined; his third book, The Age of the CustomerTM launched on January 27, 2014.

 

Wealth Dynamics with Roger Hamilton

At a recent TLC Conference in Cancun, Mexico, I had the opportunity to talk with wealth expert Roger Hamilton to discuss the Wealth Dynamics system which Roger created to help entrepreneurs achieve ultimate success.  I took the Wealth Dynamics profile test myself and found out my wealth profile is that of a “Supporter,” which I found quite surprising yet very informative, helpful, and enlightening.

In this video, Roger explains how the Wealth Dynamics program can specifically help people who want to build their business through a referral-based marketing program.  Watch the video now to learn about how everyone is different in the way they form connections and how the Wealth Dynamics program can teach you to identify your best way of connecting with others through understanding your individual connection style, and also through pinpointing and understanding how other individuals would like to connect with you.

For more information on Wealth Dynamics, please visit www.WDProfileTest.com where you’ll find a complete explanation of the eight different Wealth Dynamics profiles and more.  If you take the test, I’d love for you to come back and share your results and what you learned from them in the comment forum below. Thanks!

BNI Business Index Results for 2013

Over 1,000 business people from every populated continent in the world responded to the BNI Business Index for year-end, 2013.  According to the survey results, almost 76% of the respondents felt that business was better today than in 2012.  That’s up over 9% from the 2011 survey.    In addition, only 6.1% felt that it was declining in the 2013 survey which is down from the 9.6% that said that business was declining in 2011.

How is Business

The most promising news was the hiring trend numbers.  The 2013 survey found that 55.3% of the respondents said that they would be or possibly would be, hiring in the 2013 survey compared to an anemic 42.9% in 2011.

Why the Improvement?

The three most common reasons cited for growth by the respondents was restructuring, niche marketing, and networking.

Restructuring was a common theme relating to many respondents.  Comments such as: “one of the reasons my business keeps growing is that I… adapt my offerings to support the goals [of my clients].”  Reorganizing showed up in responses like: I’ve “reorganized staff and cut expenses and it is starting to pay off.” “My number one goal was to reduce overhead to the max, and as well as “refocusing our services back to our core competencies… and better communication” has helped substantially.

Two comments that summed up many of the respondents beliefs were: “I’ve changed the way I do business,” and I “can’t keep doing the same old thing if it’s not working.  You have to re-invent yourself.”

Other respondents focused on a niche market.  Such as those who said things such as: “last year I became clearer about my target market, strategic partners and taking a hard look at my numbers and what work would be necessary to grow” and “many of my competitors were bought out and closed their doors.  I focused on my core business.”

Networking continued to be a strong business builder as represented by comments such as: “my business depends a lot on referrals and networking” and “my business is flourishing today as a result of my networking efforts both via the internet and face to face.”  Once respondent claimed that “my business has tripled its income over the past year due largely to my committed involvement to networking.”

Is Your Company Hiring

The one thing that came up by many people who said they were still struggling were complaints about government regulation which have been a constant since the BNI Business Index was first released in 2010.  Issues like the impact of health care reform, government regulation of businesses, and legislative incompetence showed up throughout the survey this year and every previous year.

I’d love to hear your feedback on the two questions posed in the graphs included in this blog post (How is business for you today compared to this time last year? ; Is your company hiring or planning on hiring people over the next few months?)–please share your answers in the comment forum below.  Thanks!

 

How to Achieve Optimum Career Performance & Enjoy Retirement

At a recent TLC conference in Mexico, I had the opportunity to talk to my good friend Eric Edmeades, one of the world’s leading experts in entrepreneurship, about his take on the one thing entrepreneurs need to nurture in order to achieve phenomenal success and to be able to actually enjoy their retirement once they enter into it.

What is that one thing? . . . Watch the video to find out.  I will tell you that if you don’t have it, your brain will not be capable of functioning at full capacity and it will be very difficult to achieve lasting success.  Also, you won’t be fully able to enjoy the retirement you worked so hard for when that stage of your life finally arrives.

Once you’ve watched the video, I highly encourage you to help out the community of blog readers on BusinessNetworking.com by sharing one of the most effective things you do to nurture the area of your life that is so crucial to succeeding and thriving throughout your career and ultimately making the most of your retirement years.  Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comment forum below–thanks!

 

 

Welcome to International Networking Week®!

This week marks the 8th annual celebration of International Networking Week® which is recognized each year by thousands of people around the world.

International Networking Week is about celebrating the key role that networking plays in the development and success of business around the world.  It is about creating an awareness relating to the process of networking.  Not just any kind of networking, but what I call “relationship networking”–an approach to doing business based on building long-term, successful, genuine relationships with people strategically through the networking process.

International Networking Week has been acknowledged by many governmental organizations (including a joint resolution of the California State Assembly and Senate) and is celebrated in many countries across the globe.  Start the new year out with more business by using this week to build your networking skills and expand the opportunities within your reach.  If you belong to any networking groups, be sure to tell them that this is International Networking Week (Feb 3-7).

CLICK HERE to view a short video about International Networking Week 2014.  Please feel free to share the video with others and show it at your networking meetings this week.

For more information and a list of worldwide events, please visit www.InternationalNetworkingWeek.com.

So what will you be doing to recognize International Networking Week?  Please share your plans in the comment forum below–thanks!

Vitality + Health = Greater Success in Business

As this is a blog about business and networking, you may be wondering why some of my recent blogs have seemed to have a fairly apparent focus on health.  I think the video I’m sharing with you today should answer that question for those of you who may wondering.  Over the past couple of years, I have indeed become quite an advocate of the importance of health in regard to achieving success and there is good reason behind that.

In this short video, I talk with my good friend Lise Janelle, renowned success coach for companies & entrepreneurs across the world, about the role that vitality and health play in achieving ultimate productivity and success in business.

Lise offers three keys to achieving vitality and explains why it is important not only for business owners, but also for all of their employees, to focus on staying healthy and engaged in order for any given business to truly thrive.

After watching the video, if you’d like to find out more about Lise Janelle and how she helps businesses and people alike to achieve their full potential, please visit www.HeartAtWorkInstitute.com.

To find out more about the book I mention in the video, The Misner Plan: How We Healed Cancer Naturally with Food, Nutrition, and Healthy Living , please click here.  If you’d like to learn more about the Misner Plan, please visit www.MisnerPlan.com.

Do you have certain habits and/or tactics you employ to stay healthy?  Do you  have specific ways of making sure you stay connected to your core values?  I’m really interested in hearing your thoughts on this and, also, if you have questions pertaining to this topic, I highly encourage you to ask them!  I am more than happy to do a future blog addressing your questions and to consult with Lise about them in order to get you the best answers possible.

 

Could You be Making Things Harder Than They Really Are?

In business, there are endless opportunities to learn from the successes and mistakes of others who have ventured into the entrepreneurial waters before us.  So, why is  it that we often ignore the lessons we can learn from others’ mistakes and doom ourselves to making the same bad decisions?  People in business and sales do this all the time.  For example, there are tried-and-true sales techniques that are so simplistic it doesn’t seem as though they can really be effective so we write them off and try to reinvent the wheel.

Many times, we try to re-evaluate, improve upon, and complicate these simple yet proven techniques and all we’re really succeeding in doing is making things harder than they really are!  One of the biggest mistakes that people in business (and especially in sales) make is not listening to the people who have experience.  For some reason, they assume that they have to know better . . . and the truth is, they don’t.  There is nothing like experience–it beats education every day of the week.  The only thing better is a combination of education and experience . . . or a willingness to learn from other people’s experience.

There are many basic sales techniques that any good salesperson knows to be effective.  They don’t look for something more complicated or involved because they know from their own experience, as well as from the experience of others, what works in sales and what doesn’t work in sales.  If you’ve read my book, Masters of Sales, you may have read things that seemed to simple to be effective or you may have seen ideas that you’ve heard before.  The fact is, instead of being dismissed, these tactics and ideas should be embraced.  True Masters of Sales learn from other people’s success and remember that sometimes the simplest ideas can have the biggest impact.

Is there a simple lesson you learned from another business owner/entrepreneur which has helped you achieve success in your business?  I’d love to get a conversation going about this in order to share simple tactics for success and important lessons learned so we can all lessen our risk of making things harder than they really are.  Please share your thoughts in the comment forum below. Thanks!

 

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