Desperation

Desperation is Not Referable

When people demonstrate certain behaviors as part of their networking efforts, it’s a tell-tale sign of desperation. There are four types of behaviors that desperate networkers exhibit. Please check out these links below that describe each of these four types of behaviors that desperate networkers exhibit:

There are four types of behaviors that desperate networkers exhibit.

Click on these links to find out more about each:

Are You a Desperate Networker?

Remember these behaviors when you go to networking events and whatever you do – don’t demonstrate any of these behaviors yourself.  Remember that networking is more about farming than it is about hunting. Generally, these people are not actually trying to help you — they simply want to sell something to you. Granted, they may want to sell something to you because in their mind it’s only to “help you,” but it’s never really about you. It’s about what they want from you. Desperation seeps from their pores.

Photo Attribution

New Best Friend

The New Best Friend

Desperation is not referable.

When people demonstrate certain behaviors as part of their networking efforts, it’s a tell-tale sign of desperation.  There are four types of behaviors that desperate networkers exhibit. “The New Best Friend” is the final of these four “desperate networker behaviors” that I shared during the past weeks.

The New Best Friend

Follow-up with the people you meet at a networking event is important.  But be a professional – not a stalker.  The New Best Friend is the over-eager seller who after you meet at a networking event – calls you, emails you, social media messages you, and tries to become your New Best Friend in the space of just a few days. Generally, they’re not actually trying to help you – they simply want to sell something to you.  Granted, they may want to sell something to you because in their mind – it’s only to “help you,” but it’s never really about you.  It’s about what they want from you.   Desperation seeps from their pores.  I’ve experienced this many times over my career.  The one that stands out the most in my mind happened a couple years ago.  I met a young man (late 20’s) at a networking event and he went right into “New Best Friend” mode – calling several times, emailing every day, messaging me on Facebook etc.  But when he wrote me and said that he thought of himself like my son (yes, seriously – he said that) and he needed my help in his business venture – I had to pull the plug.  I tried to pull it gently by talking about the importance of establishing credibility before pitching something and that the process of developing credibility takes time.  Curiously, my “new son” abandoned me.

Remember this behavior when you go to networking events, Whatever you do – don’t demonstrate “The New Best Friend” behavior yourself.  Furthermore, remember that networking is more about farming than it is about hunting. Please check out my blog posts during the past weeks as I described each of the four types of behaviors that desperate networkers exhibit.

What other kinds of desperate networker have you seen?

Check out these links to the other three types of “desperate networker behaviors” below:

Premature Solicitor

The Premature Solicitor

Desperation is not referable

 When people demonstrate certain behaviors as part of their networking efforts, it’s a tell-tale sign of desperation.  There are four types of behaviors that desperate networkers exhibit. “The Premature Solicitor” is the third of these four “desperate networker behaviors” that I’ll be sharing each week.

The Premature Solicitor

The person guilty of Premature Solicitation (don’t say that fast three times, it will get you in trouble!).  This is the person who confuses networking with direct selling.  Therefore, they meet you and immediately go into sales mode.  In addition, they want you to do business with them without asking questions about you, your business, your interests, or your needs first. Hence, to this person, everyone is a target and every target is a dollar sign.  Consequently, these people are the reason why many individuals don’t like to go to networking events.  Because they go to meetings and feel slimed by people soliciting them for business, they leave the meeting and run home to get a shower.

Remember this behavior when you go to networking events and whatever you do – don’t demonstrate “The Premature Solicitor” behavior yourself. Therefore, remember that networking is more about farming than it is about hunting. Please check out my blog next week. I will describe the final of the four types of behaviors that desperate networkers exhibit: “The New Best Friend”.

What other kinds of desperate networker have you seen?

Check out these links to the other three types of “desperate networker behaviors” below:

Space Violator

The Space Violator

Desperation is not referable

When people demonstrate certain behaviors as part of their networking efforts, it’s a tell-tale sign of desperation.  There are four types of behaviors that desperate networkers exhibit. “The Space Violator” is the second of these four “desperate networker behaviors” that I’ll be sharing over the next weeks.

The Space Violator

Here’s the guy that thinks the closer he gets when he’s talking to you, the more you’ll be interested in what he’s saying. Nope.  Not true.  In fact, it has the opposite effect (especially if his breath has the aroma of a smelly camel).  So, what’s the right distance to stand from someone without getting into their personal space?  The answer to this question varies based on the cultural standards of the country you are in.  In North America, it’s fairly common to have conversations at roughly “arm’s length” for people that you meet at a networking event.  From my experience, that distance is definitely less in some countries around the world.  What’s also interesting is the issue of gender and personal space or “proxemics.”  According to a “Journal of Psychology” study, “male-male pairs tend to interact at greater personal distances, whereas female-female pairs tend to interact closer.”

Remember this behavior when you go to networking events and whatever you do – don’t demonstrate “The Space Violator” behavior yourself.  Remember that networking is more about farming than it is about hunting. Please check out my blog next week as I describe the next of the four types of behaviors that desperate networkers exhibit: “The Premature Solicitor”.

What other kinds of desperate networker have you seen?

Check out these links to the other three types of “desperate networker behaviors” below:

The Card Dealer

The Card Dealer

Desperation is not referable.

When people demonstrate certain behaviors as part of their networking efforts, it’s a tell-tale sign of desperation.  There are four types of behaviors that desperate networkers exhibit. “The Card Dealer” is the first of these four “desperate networker behaviors” that I’ll be sharing each week over the next month.

The Card Dealer

This is probably the most common form of desperation that I’ve seen over the years.  The Card Dealer is a person that darts around the room passing out cards like they’re at a poker table.  They don’t spend time really getting to know anyone (unless they think they can get something from them).  To the Card Dealer, networking is mostly a numbers game.  The more people they can pass their cards to – the better they’re doing (or so they think).  Card Dealers tend to have a network that is a mile wide but an inch deep because they don’t spend time building relationships. It never works in the long-run and they just look inexperienced, frazzled, and yes – desperate.

The image above is from a great video called “BNI – The People in The Room” about “The Card Dealer” type of networker.  It was done by Charlie Lawson – check it out. https://youtu.be/EDONaoEcuNM

Remember this behavior when you go to networking events and whatever you do – don’t demonstrate “The Card Dealer” behavior yourself.  Remember that networking is more about farming than it is about hunting. Please check out my blog next week as I describe the next of the four types of behaviors that desperate networkers exhibit: “The Space Violator”.

What other kinds of desperate networker have you seen?

Check out these links to the other three types of “desperate networker behaviors” on my blog over the next few weeks:

Graduates

Six Steps to Find a Job Through Networking For New Graduates

It’s graduation season so, I thought I would share some ideas on how new graduates (or even seasoned professionals) can find a new job if they are looking for employment.

Over 80% of all jobs are found through networking according to a recent study published on LinkedIn.   Here are six steps to help someone who is looking for work (along with two bonus ideas when they get a great connection).

  1. First, get your mindset right. Desperation is not referable. Since you’ll be depending on your network to speak highly of you to their hiring manager and contacts, practice confidently touting your skills.
  2. Image-check your social media. Potential employers will – and you won’t want to make your network look bad if they stick their neck out and recommend you.  I was once considering hiring someone and I checked out his Facebook page.  OMG!  He threw out the “F” bomb time after time on his posts.  In addition, he posted widely inappropriate comments and tirades about people.  He was not the kind of influence I wanted in my office.
  3. Start with current relationships. Reach out to friends, family and business contacts in person, on LinkedIn and via social media to tell them exactly what kind of position you’re looking for. Ask if they can check for any upcoming openings and keep you in mind.
  4. Inventory your other connections. Don’t forget to check in with neighbors, professional organizations, past customers, and community organizations for more contacts.  When it comes to referrals for employment, don’t underestimate the strength of weak ties.
  5. Determine where you stand with these contacts. Whether they are active, passive, or dormant will determine the strategy. I can outline how to approach each.  Active; pick up the phone and ask for assistance.  There’s a relationship.  They will most likely love to help. Passive; set an appointment to reconnect (preferably in person).  Find out about them and let them know you’re looking for something.  Dormant; reconnect by social media or email.  Just talk.  Don’t ask for anything – yet.  Stay in touch, build the relationship before you ask.
  6. Visit organizations in the industry you want. Network right there, on the ground. Check in with the front desk, drop your resume off in-person and ask to meet with the HR director. Better yet, find out if someone in your network can connect you to a current employee in that company. Contact them through the referral.  Meet them for coffee and come prepared.

Once you get a referral, do these two things:

  1. Research your prospective employer. Never go in without being prepared on the history of the company, their latest press releases, their corporate culture and values – whatever you can find.  Checking out their website is only the start.  Google the organization to get more information.   If possible, find out who might be interviewing you and learn more about them.  I landed one of the biggest jobs of my career (before starting BNI and long before Google) because I researched the company and knew so much about the organization and the professional background of the person interviewing me that it blew him away and he hired me.
  2. Offer to do a “working interview.” This is a great way for any company to take your experience and work ethic for a “test drive.” It will give you an opportunity to show them what you’re made of. If all goes well, ask them to consider you for the position.  I’ve been recommending this to job-seekers for many years.  In fact, one week before I wrote this article, I suggested this idea to my eldest daughter.  She tried it out with a company she wanted to work for and they took her up on a “working interview.”  She did such a great job, they hired her the next day!

Your network is the lifeblood of your career.  Don’t let it die of professional loneliness.  Learn how to network your way into a job.

Share this with anyone you know who is looking for employment.

 

quality

Quantity is Good but Quality is King

The more people you meet at an event, the more successful your networking efforts are–and that’s simply not the case.  Instead, the quality of the connections you form is much more significant than the quantity of connections you make.

A few years ago, I had a long conversation with a good friend who was considered a networking expert in Europe.  He did a lot of work with online networking or social networking.  During this conversation, we got into a fundamental disagreement on the subject.  He believed that networking was first and foremost a numbers game.  He said that “the more people you were connected to the stronger your network.”  At first, I went along with this comment agreeing that the number of people in your network was in fact, very important.  I then said, “the only thing more important than the quantity of people was the quality of people in your network.”  Suddenly, our paths diverged.  He said the “quality of people in your network are really not that important, instead it is all a numbers game.” 

To this day, I steadfastly disagree.  Networking is not a numbers game.  It’s more like a people puzzle.  It’s about building relationships with the close people in your network.  That means that it’s about finding ways to interconnect the relationships you have to build a powerful personal network.  In order to do that – you actually have to have a fair number of quality relationships in that sea of contacts.

If your network is a mile wide and an inch deep, it will never be successful.

Instead, your network needs to be both wide and – in places, deep.  That is, you need to have a wide set of contacts but some of those need to be connections that go deep.  Therefore, the quality of your network is just as important, if not more important than the quantity of your network.  This doesn’t mean that quantity isn’t important.  It is important.  The thing is that a small network of quality people limits your success.  However, a large network with multiple quality relationships makes for a much more powerful, personal network.

It is a little like your left hand and your right hand.  Both are really important. But one is generally stronger, more powerful, and generally used more than the other. You can’t accomplish what you want as easily without both.  However, one is the stronger hand.  This is similar to the quantity vs. quality argument in networking.

I believe that it is NOT, what you know, or who you know – it’s how well you know each other that counts.

Strong relationships take simple “contacts” and turn them into powerful “connections.”  It doesn’t really matter if I have an amazing database of people with many phone numbers.  What really matters is if I can pick up the phone and ask some of them for a favor and they take my call then are willing to do that favor.

By the way, since that argument a few years ago, my friend is no longer in the networking business.  Quantity is good but quality truly is King.

Summertime Networking

Summertime Networking

The temperature is rising and so are your networking opportunities!

Every once in a while I hear a BNI member say that their chapter slows down during the summer months. I also know of many chapters that flourish in the summer with new members and referral growth! So why are some up and some down? It is a matter of gearing towards the season.

In the Northern Hemisphere, winter coats sell better in December than July and bathing suits sell better in June than January! So have you changed your networking season?

What summertime networking activities are you attending? These may not seem like a networking mixer events, however, you should still always be prepared.

… BBQ?

… Pool Party?

… Picnic?

… Golf… Boating… Tennis… Gardening?

Pool Party Networking:

Remember that a good networker has two ears and one mouth and uses them proportionately! Listen to what everyone is really saying.

– Are they complaining about business?  Invite them to visit your BNI chapter!

– Are they excited about a wedding?  Share about those in your chapter that are a good referral for them!

– Do they have a frozen drink in their hand complaining about staying cool at home? Talk about your HVAC member!

– Do they need work on their home or need a new home? It’s Referral time!

– Are they talking about the stock market? Mention your BNI financial planner!

Ball Game Networking:

A great networking strategy is to get tickets to a ball game and invite a BNI member and a potential referral. Whether your team wins or loses great connections can be made from the stands!

Above is a photo of me with the ceremonial ball from when I did the first pitch for an AA Baseball team in LA.  It was BNI night and we had a blast with members and staff from Southern California.

The FOUR hour one to one:

If you are a golfer, you know what I mean! Find a fellow BNI Member who also plays golf. Set up a round and you each bring a client to introduce to each other. What a great way to solidify a top referral source! Do you not play golf? Is there an activity like bowling that you do that you and a fellow member can invite clients too?

Any place you go with family, friends or strangers is a networking opportunity!

… Bring your business cards!

… Remember your fellow members’ cards too!

The GOAL?

… One referral per event you attend!

… Who have you met at these summertime events that you can invite to your chapter as a visitor?

Here’s to a GREAT summer in the Northern Hemisphere filled with lots of referrals! Those BNI Members south of the Equator can wait to use these tips in December.

 

Strategic Alliances

Strategic Alliances

A strategic alliance is an arrangement between two companies that have decided to share resources to undertake a specific, mutually beneficial project. With strategic alliances, each member will contribute to your success. No one person is likely to turn your business around, but together, over a long time, they can make a difference. By having a series of small actions over time, you can gradually enhance your relationships and really yield big results

Don’t give up if there’s no immediate payoff. The key is to stay in touch. The best strategic alliances stay connected several times over the year. Plus, you meet in person on several occasions. During that time, you discuss some really simple ways that you can help each other. Therefore, you gradually enhance the relationship.

Successful networking is a series of small actions. Most people who are successful at networking and creating strong strategic alliances view the process as a series of small actions taken with many people to create long-term positive growth for your company. It’s not a get rich scheme. By working with multiple people over a long period of time, you build your business. Don’t just write somebody off if they can’t add something or contribute something to your business immediately.

If you are a member of a networking group, look at the members of the group. Each of them will contribute to your success and they layer a little bit of success on top of each other for you. Each one is a little layer of success for you. No one person in your chapter is likely to turn your business around, but together over a long period of time; they can make a dramatic difference.

In conclusion, I highly recommend that you form strategic alliances with others. By working with multiple people over a long period of time, you build an incredibly solid foundation for successful business.

characteristic

The Least Important Networker Characteristic

What is the least important characteristic for a great networker?

The answer might surprise you.

In this video, I share the five least important skills for networking according to a survey of 3400 business people. Knowing what not to do can be as important as knowing what to do. Furthermore, it is also clear from these results that great networkers and great salespeople have different skill sets.

In conclusion, many people think you need to be an extrovert to be a good networker, but that’s not what the survey says. Here are five least important skills for networking.

You don’t need to be:

  1. Fearless
  2. A salesperson
  3. A self-promoter
  4. Direct
  5. Social media savvy

Click here to watch this video

Networking

Four Tips for Networking at Non-Networking Events

You can network anywhere, including events where it might not at first occur to you to try it—and, paradoxically, it’s at these non-traditional networking settings where you’ll get the most bang for your buck. Why? Because not many people think of it. You’ve got the field to yourself, with many opportunities to develop lasting relationships with potential referral partners.

  1. Person-to-Person

What non-traditional settings are we referring to? Well, everybody goes to parties, and the holiday season is full of them. It’s also a business slowdown season for many of us who are not in retail. But networking is not just a New Year’s Day to Thanksgiving activity—it’s year-round. Holiday parties and other social mixers bring new opportunities to network, even more than the rest of the year.

When we tell people this, we usually get strange looks. They think of boorish sharpies selling time-shares to your aunt and uncle at your grandparents’ 50th wedding anniversary or trying to round up business at funerals. But networking is not just trying to sell something or passing business referrals; it’s building meaningful relationships and social capital. Master networkers understand this. That’s why they’re always networking.

You’re already in a relationship with everybody you know. The only question is how developed that relationship is. Is it a relationship of visibility, in which you know each other but haven’t had dealings? Is it credibility, in which you’ve interacted enough to establish a degree of mutual trust? Or has it deepened over time to the point of profitability, with both parties receiving mutual benefits as a result of assistance, business referrals, or other interactions?

In today’s environment, it’s easy for us to lose that personal touch when we do so much of our communicating via email and cell phone. The fact is, most relationships develop through physical presence in one-to-one interactions and get stronger every time we meet face to face. The holidays are times when we are more likely to see people in a social setting, and this setting definitely lends itself to building relationships. There are, however, some things that are important when networking at a holiday social—or at any event, for that matter.

  1. How Can I Help?

“Givers Gain” is the number one rule to remember. You should always be thinking: How can I help this person? Many of us know this and try to apply it to our relationships, but we’re more inclined to do it instinctively with those in the profitability category. How can we apply it to the relationships that are in the visibility and credibility categories?

At a social event, you 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 of 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.

In a conversation I had recently, I asked an individual how things were going and got the standard answer that things were great, the company was expanding, and business better than expected. My next question was “Are you hitting all of your goals?” Yes, the business was exceeding all of its goals by a large margin.

Sounds like this person didn’t need any help, you say? On the contrary: to me it sounded like a big opportunity. Think about it: a company that was expanding faster than the owner projected. What kind of help might it need?

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.

In this case I was able to make some introductions that the individual was very grateful for. But it was only after getting past the generalities that I was able to figure this out.

Always plan on maximizing your networking productivity during the holiday season. Remember, networking means developing relationships, and the holidays are filled with opportunity.

  1. Be Sincere

If you’re networking successfully at a non-networking event, people won’t even know it. You’re genuinely looking for ways to help other people, and your concern for the person you’re talking with is plainly apparent. Anyone who is networking exclusively for personal gain comes across as shallow and insincere.

A good networker doesn’t have to work at sincerity. She really cares about making connections for others, not just for herself. Some people are so accomplished and successful at networking that they are able to network virtually anywhere. No one minds your using an opportunity to share information that will benefit others, even when that exchange takes the form of a business card at a bar mitzvah.

  1. Honor the Event

This one should be a no-brainer, but we all know some scorched-earth, overzealous networkers who trawl the room at a party in pursuit of a sale, any sale. They may do the same, less blatantly, at family and purely social events, but this is still the exact opposite of what networking is all about. Remember, relationships are the name of the game. Socials are a great place to get visibility and credibility, so focus on building these aspects of relationships.

LCD's

Specific is Terrific with LCD’s

Weekly networking presentations with LCD’s

It is very important to be prepared to introduce yourself by breaking down your business into your LCD’s (Lowest Common Denominators). Each week, create a business educational curriculum to train your sales force to focus on just ONE aspect of your business.

For example, each week just focus on:

– A service
– A product
– A benefit

When you want to nail a presentation, start by explaining your lowest common denominators, or the most immediate, universal value of your business. Your LCD is your secret weapon.

Click on the graphic below, or click here, to see this video. Learn more about developing this training approach for your weekly presentations.

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