Networking Tactics Archives - Dr. Ivan Misner®
not need your business card

No Thank You, I Do Not Need Your Business Card

Imagine you’re at a networking event. You are mixing and mingling and start passing out your business cards like candy. Suddenly, someone hands it back you and says, “No thank you, I do not need your business card.” This actually happened to a BNI Member. He wrote to me, astonished, and asked what I would do in his situation. Well, here’s my answer.

Please watch this video

How and When to Deliver Your Business Card

  • A business card is a tacit invitation to make a future connection.  How you handle that connection afterward will determine how responsive your new contact will be.  So be respectful of what you do after someone gives you their card.
  • You should always have plenty of business cards with you.  It still amazes me that people go to networking events and knowingly don’t bring cards with them.  I recently read a blog where many people said they didn’t bring cards so that they wouldn’t get spammed by people they meet.  Really?  Have they never heard of a spam filter?  I use it regularly with unwanted spam.  Besides, that argument is like saying I don’t want to advertise because someone might read the ad and cold call me?  What kind of logic is that?  Buck-up, dandelion, bring cards.  It is a “networking” event!
  • The ideal scenario is to have a meaningful (even if brief) conversation with someone where they ask for your business card (how to do that is an entirely different blog).  However, that doesn’t always happen.  When it doesn’t, it is still ok to offer your business card to someone.  There is nothing wrong with that.

Refusing to take someone’s offered card is just plain bad manners. What do you do if this happens to you?  Realize that some people just have little or no people skills and move on to someone who does.

The 29% Solution

The 29% Solution book is 10 years old

 

 

The book, The 29% Solution: 52 Weekly Networking Success Strategies, is ten years old.

This year, The 29% Solution is celebrating its 10 year anniversary. Looking back when Michelle and I shook hands in Long Beach, we began a memorable journey together as co-authors. Therefore, our journey included many, many hours of blending our writing styles, phone calls, and collaboration. Additionally, it included multiple versions of a title and cover design. Furthermore, our journey included changing the publisher mid-stream. Finally, it involved loads of radio interviews, speaking opportunities, and book signings. Most notably, our journey ended with a lasting friendship. Today’s blog is from my co-author, Michelle Donovan.
Happy Anniversary Michelle and a toast to “The 29% Solution”…CHEERS!
  

Celebrating 10 Years of Friendship and Collaboration in Seven Languages

By Michelle R. Donovan

Growing up in a small town outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, I never gave much thought to becoming a Wall Street Journal bestselling author. That is until I met Ivan Misner!

In 2006 I was performing the role of Education Coordinator for my BNI chapter, the Circle of Excellence, in BNI Western Pennsylvania. One week, while preparing for my spotlight, I came up with what I thought was a great idea for a book. I wanted to create a book for business owners that had one networking focal point each week for 52 weeks. I formulated an outline for the book and began to write a few chapters.

Since I had never written a book before, I thought it might be a good idea to share the concept with others to see if they too felt that the idea was a good one. There was one person in particular that I knew needed to see it and that was Deanna Tucci Schmitt, the owner of my BNI region at the time. Once she read the first two chapters, she said, “I think we need to show this to Ivan.”

As a BNI Director, I was scheduled to attend the next BNI Conference in Long Beach, CA with Deanna and some other colleagues. The plan was that Deanna would arrange a one-to-one with Ivan while at the conference to show him the concept. We had hoped that he would give us his blessing and maybe a few tips for a new author.

We met with Ivan around 9:30 pm in his suite. I remember it well because I was quite nervous. I didn’t know what to expect but I knew I would follow Deanna’s lead. Ivan, the icon of BNI, comes around the corner in a t-shirt and sweatpants. Instantly, I felt myself relax. The three of us discussed the concept while Ivan reviewed the outline and first few chapters. He passed it over to his wife, Beth. She gave her nod of approval. Ivan liked it!

What happened next changed my life. Ivan offered me two options 1) He could give me some tips and offer any help with some connections or 2) We could co-author the book and he would make me a bestselling author. Hmmmmm? Which would you choose? You guessed it. We shook hands on a co-authored book deal that would eventually make me and Ivan the Wall Street Journal bestselling authors of The 29% Solution.

Today, The 29% Solution is currently published in seven languages. When I see this book on my shelf in multiple languages, it warms my heart. I am reminded of how much I love to write, the generosity of my friend Ivan Misner and the true power of networking to make even my unimaginable dreams come true. I am grateful to Deanna for bringing Ivan and me together for a book that keeps on giving to its readers.

Happy Anniversary Ivan and a toast to The 29% Solution…CHEERS!

The 29% Solution: 52 Weekly Networking Success Strategies

 

Net-Sit

It’s Not Net-Sit or Net-Eat — It’s Called Network

I came up with this phrase, “It’s Not Net-Sit or Net-Eat — It’s Called Network”, back in 1985 when I went to a business mixer and witnessed virtually everyone either sitting around the edges of the room or standing around eating and drinking.  Almost no one was actually networking. It struck me like a bolt of lightning that this was supposed to be a “networking” event but people were just eating and drinking (especially the later)! As a result, the first mixer that I personally organized, I went to a printer and printed up this phrase on little signs and put them all around the room to remind people why they were there.

I also came up with the original version of the 10 Commandments of Networking which I printed and posted around the room.

The 10 Commandments of Networking

  1. Have the tools to network with you at all times (card holder, badge cards, etc.).
  2. Set a goal for the number of people you’ll meet.
  3. Act like a host, not a guest.
  4. Listen and ask questions.
  5. Don’t try to sell to them.
  6. Give referrals whenever possible.
  7. Exchange business cards.
  8. Manage your time efficiently.
  9. Write notes about your conversation.
  10. Follow up!

One last thing I did before the event got fully underway was to tell everyone that it’s ok to come to a networking event with someone you know or a co-worker; just don’t hang around with that person.

What a difference in networking events.  By just giving a little guidance to the participants, the event was much more successful than the ones I’d seen in the past. So GET UP, get off your phones and network.

Networking Fundamentals

Networking Fundamentals

Have you ever wondered what the ONE secret to success is in regard to networking for your business? In this video, I reveal the answer to that very question and I also explain four key networking fundamentals which are guaranteed to boost your bottom line.

In order to be successful in building relationships that will lead to business referrals and opportunities, there are four things you need to focus on:

  1. Be selective.

Quality is first on the list for a reason. The process begins by being very selective about who you bring into your circle of business networking relationships. You want your network to include quality business professionals who have a positive, supportive attitude. You also want people who are good at what they do.

Effective networking is dependent on the quality of the relationships you develop. If your network is a mile wide and an inch deep, you won’t be getting the referrals you expect. Therefore, it is important to build meaningful relationships with your referral partners over an extended period of time if you want to generate more business.

  1. Continuously add people to your network.

Years ago, I learned that there is a dramatic correlation between the size of a quality group and the number of referrals that are generated by that group.

In your network, the number of possible business referral connections is a squared multiple of the actual number of people in your network. So as you begin to build your own network of referral relationships, keep in mind that the more, the better. The bottom line is that the greater the number of connections you have (based on quality relationships of course), the more referrals you can generate. The math is pretty significant and consistent.

  1. Seek engagement.

Engagement involves a promise and an action. In order to achieve success in your networking relationships, you and your contacts must promise to support one another and take the actions necessary to fulfill that promise.

There are many ways that you can become engaged. Have you taken the time to regularly meet with the people in your network? Have you educated them on the key features of your business so that your products or services will be top-of-mind as they meet others who have a need for them? Have you educated yourself on the key features of their businesses so that you can do the same?

The greater the number of people in your network engaged in these activities, the more likely they will be to generate significant referrals. The reason for this is a shared vision of success and a shared implementation of that vision.

  1. Share stories.

Listening closely to information shared by those in your referral network will help you tell positive stories about them when you see potential opportunities to refer them. Holding regular meetings with contacts in your network will help you tell stories when you give referrals and vice versa.

A good story compels people to take action. If you want to build your network in order to generate more referrals, place story-telling at the top of your efforts. Facts tell, but stories sell.

“Can't do” or “Won’t do”

Helping others depends on either a “Can’t do” or “Won’t do” answer

Whatever the issues are that are holding someone back, focus on a constructive approach. If you ask them, “How can we help you?”, their answer will always be either a “can’t do” or “won’t do” answer. The person will either explain why they are having difficulty with the situation because they don’t know how to address it effectively, or they will give an answer that illustrates that they don’t really want to do this for some reason or another.

How to handle a “Can’t do” answer

Once there was a printer that was dead last on P.A.L.M.S. report in a local BNI group. We did not tell him that he was dead last. Instead, we asked him, “How can we help you?” His response was that his print shop was new and he admitted that he did not understand networking. This is a classic “Cant’ Do” response. It is our job to teach them because we were all a “can’t do” when we first started networking. We all make tons of mistakes. When someone says they can’t do something, they are open to being coached. It is our job to teach them.  If we were just negative and told the printer he was dead last, he would have quit. Instead, if we pour into them and help them, they become champions in BNI.

Where the clients come into the lobby area of the print shop, we recommended that he put up a sign where everyone could see it with slots for the BNI members’ business cards. He was instructed to get 20 copies of everyone business cards to fill sign with only the cards from BNI members. When someone took a card, they were told to say that Bob’s printing referred you. If someone not in BNI wanted to give him their cards for the sign, the printer was instructed to invite them to the next BNI meeting instead. True story! Nobody just took a card and left. They asked Bob his opinion on each of these. He gave a testimonial with everyone he had cards for. He went from last to number one in giving the most referrals. He went from being embarrassed to the top referral giver within 6 months. He was the winner of the year. He now loves BNI. We changed his business by coaching him.

How to handle a “Won’t do” answer

In this example, they give excuses: it’s too difficult… they are busy…I’m different. With a clear-cut “won’t do” answer, if you open the door for them they will leave on their own. I recommend saying, “I understand your frustration, it is ok to leave the group, feel free to come back if things change”. However, if you kick them out, they will become defiant and negative towards BNI. They blame the chapter and claim it is everyone fault. Therefore, if they don’t save face, they will fight you all the way. On the other hand, they don’t hate you if you give them the option to leave in a positive manner.

Here’s a suggestion. On rare, rare occasions – when someone is a “won’t do” but they don’t want to leave.  Tell them you appreciate their involvement and that you’ll throw them a “retirement party”. OK, not a real party – but recognize their past participation in the group and thank them for their involvement. This should be done rarely but it allows them to save face and leave. With this advice, you can cut down the percentage that will require a tough conversation by 90%. Then, only 10% of the time you need to have the tough talk about opening their classification and not renewing their membership. You want to be invested in their success, yet cut them loose when needed.

Being a member of the group is not enough.  If you are not contributing then why are you there? Being complacent is what I call a “MINO” (Member In Name Only). How can we help you to get more engaged? How can we help you to… bring more members? …bring more visitors? …bring more referrals? Whatever the issues are, just ask, “How can we help?” Their answer will tell you if you can help them.

Four Behavior Styles

Four Behavior Styles (the video)

There are Four Behavior Styles you will find in others when you are networking. Do you know your behavioral style? Please watch this video to learn about these different styles.

In the book Room Full of Referrals which I co-wrote with Dr. Tony Alessandra and Dawn Lyons, we offer insight into the following four different behavioral styles:

Go-Getters: (Driven, Bold, Decisive, Strong Desire to Lead)

Promoters:   (Energetic, Outgoing, Fun-Loving, Positive, Talkative)

Nurturers:   (Patient, Helpful, Understanding, Sentimental, Reserved)

Examiners:   (Effective, Efficient, Thorough, Research-Oriented)

If you pay careful attention to the behavioral characteristics of others, you will improve how you communicate with them effectively by adapting to their style.

app

The Networking Scorecard™ App

Now, the power of networking smarter comes to your smartphone for free.

In this comprehensive app, your mobile device now becomes your networking tool. You will discover strategies that go beyond collecting business cards and turn networking into a profitable resource for your business. Dive into this FREE app based on the book. Discover how the most successful networkers leverage their brand, expertise, and customers to achieve greatness in life.

The networking scorecard app is a way of measuring the kinds of things that you should be doing. It is a way of tracking your networking success. In the networking scorecard app, you track the kind of things that you need to be doing in order to achieve success in networking. These things include sending a thank you card, calling someone in your networking and having a conversation, arranging a one-to-one meeting, attending a networking event, setting up some kind of activity to connect with people, giving a referral, and sending an article of interest. In conclusion, there are a whole lot of things that you can do to track your networking scorecard, and they are part of the mobile app.

So if you are doing things that are listed in the networking scorecard app, then you’re mining your network. Although it may take time, you’re doing the things necessary to generate the business. With the networking scorecard, you know you have to do a certain number of these things in order to get business. Furthermore, it’s a way to track and feel better about the activities that you’re conducting.

Features of this amazing app:

FREE

  • Track networking activities like thank-you notes, meetings, calls, events, and referrals
  • Earn points to track your networking skill level and performance
  • View weekly networking activities at-a-glance
  • Set up a customized networking calendar
  • Access resources, worksheets and templates from Dr. Misner, Brian Hilliard, BNI, and Asentiv designed to help you get the most out of your network.
  • And most importantly, measure if you are Networking Like a Pro!

 

In business, you achieve what you measure.  The Networking Scorecard™ App provides you with a mobile solution to measuring your networking efforts. If you’re ready to build connections that turn relationships into profitable customers, this mobile app is for you!

Are you having problems signing up for “The Networking Scorecard”?

 We have released a patch to resolve the issue that users with certain phone number formats were facing when signing up for the Networking Scorecard App. Please update the app and try the sign up again. For those who have previously downloaded it and you were experiencing problems, you will need to update it then sign up again.

You may go to the App Store and update or click this link and update:

https://itunes.apple.com/in/app/the-networking-scorecard/id1318616340?mt=8

Download the free app now

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.networking.scoreboard

https://itunes.apple.com/in/app/the-networking-scorecard/id1318616340?mt=8

Paul Furlong

Planning Your Networking (by Paul Furlong)

Paul Furlong shares his networking tips in this video.

Most people are disappointed with their networking results at networking events because they did not have a clear strategy for how they were going to be networking. Paul Furlong, BNI Director Consultant, shares his networking strategy questions:

There are so many different networking events. It is important to decide which ones should attend. Use the following questions to help you to decide which events to attend.

  1. Why do you want to go to networking events?
  2. How are you going to network?
  3. What are you going to do to build the relationships with those you meet at the networking event?
  4. Do you know the type of businesses are you wanting to network with?
  5. What networking events do these businesses you want to meet attending?

Now that you have decided which event to attend, here are a few tips on how to network at the event.

  1. Ask the host for a list of who is attending to determine who to approach.
  2. Determine if they are in it for the long term relationship you desire or if they are only transactional when you meet them.
  3. Be prepared to network with your business cards, brochure, and appointment calendar.
  4. Talk as little as you can about your business and ask them what is currently happening in their work.
  5. Share a succinct story if asked about how you help others and share who are your ideal referrals.
  6. Schedule a second meeting to follow-up and learn more about each other.
  7. Send an email after the event to confirm the second meeting and thank them for meeting with you.

Rule the World

Great story-telling is essential to effectively communicate your ideas in order to inspire and influence your audience. In this show, Paul Furlong, Creative Director at Opus Media, deconstructs world-class story-tellers from all echelons of society. Digging deep, Paul attempts to find the recurring and unique principles they use to help you make your stories more engaging and better communicate your ideas to stimulate your audience to take action.

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/rule-the-world-the-art-power-of-storytelling/id1164974213?mt=2

Desperate Networkers

Four Desperate Networkers

Desperation is not referable. When people demonstrate certain behaviors as part of their networking efforts, it’s a tell-tale sign of desperation. Here are four types of behaviors that desperate networkers exhibit:

Click here to watch this video

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 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.”

The Premature Solicitor

This is the person who confuses networking with direct selling. They meet you and immediately go into sales mode. They want you to do business with them without asking questions about you, your business, your interests, or your needs first. To this person, everyone is a target and every target is a dollar sign. These people are the reason why many individuals don’t like to go to networking events. They go to meetings and feel slimmed by people soliciting them for business. They leave the meeting and run home to get a shower.

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.

Desperation is not referable. Remember these behaviors when you go to networking events and whatever you do – don’t demonstrate these behaviors yourself. Remember that networking is more about farming, than it is about hunting.

Networking Up

Networking Up: Connecting with Successful People

We’ve all heard the advice: “you become the people you hang out with”. This means that you need to surround yourself with successful people (however you define success). Plus, you also need to be networking up to raise the bar for yourself over time. Having run the world’s largest business networking organization for more than three decades, one of the things I’ve learned is that: There’s generally room at the top.  It’s the bottom that’s really crowded.  So how do you start networking above your weight class to move your way up? Here are seven things I recommend that will help you accomplish that goal.

One of the most important endeavors for our professional success is also one of the most confusing and daunting for so many. That endeavor is “networking up” – connecting in a meaningful and memorable way with those who are at a higher level of success or whose influence and connection could potentially change everything for your business.

Finally, remember that if you’re always the most successful person in the room, you’re hanging out in the wrong rooms.  Take these five suggestions and start “networking up” to the right rooms.

holiday office party

Networking At The Holiday Office Party Can Be Tricky. Here’s How To Do It Right.

Ah the holiday office party . . . Free food, open bar, and a chance to get a glimpse of your company’s most elusive executives letting loose a little.

The holiday party is a great time rub elbows with the upper echelons of your company, but, especially in big corporations, it can be hard to make an impression. Here’s how to ‘network up’ and get face time with your busiest bosses that can lead to career opportunities in 2018.

Ten Tips for “Networking Up” at Your Holiday Office Party:

Don’t be a suck up.

Executives appreciate knowing their work makes a difference but don’t “puppy-dog lick” them to death. Instead, share a specific story about how their big wins this year helped someone or made a difference in the work you do at the company.

Don’t assume they remember you.

In bigger companies, don’t assume executives know about the work you do for them. Always help them out by giving them context on what your role is, “Hi Mr. Jones, It was so exciting to be in charge of our contract with XYZ company this year, my team in the x department had a lot of fun working on that one.”

Listen More Than You Talk.

Remember that a good networker has two ears and one mouth and should use them both proportionately! Ask questions. Some suggestions: How did you start in business? How did you grow the business or the department? What were some of the challenges with…? Have you read any good books lately? (My favorite (after talking for a while) is: How can I help you?)

Do Your Research.

Now, this is critical, DO YOUR RESEARCH. Before the party, find out who you want to talk to and what they’re currently interested in. Ask them what project they’re most excited about working on in 2018 and invite them to tell you about it.

Add Value.

If you can find a way to add value to their work, you’ll be remembered. For example, I had the opportunity to talk to Richard Branson, I asked him about his latest endeavor and asked if it would be of value if we did a short video interview so that he could share the program with my audience. He loved the idea, and we shot the video for my blog.

Remember to always “honor the event.”

This is really important! Make sure when networking at a holiday party – or any non-traditional networking event – that networking is supplementary to the reason people are there, so don’t treat it like a business mixer. Be aware of the primary focus. Don’t act as if you’re in the boardroom giving a presentation, keep it natural and leave them intrigued. The real emphasis must be on ‘finesse’ at a holiday party. Yes, it is a great networking opportunity – but, if you overtly sell yourself or your efforts, you may turn people off! After all, it is a holiday.

Responsible consumption.

Don’t Have More than a Couple Drinks. It’s a party, but it’s not YOUR party. You don’t want to be stinking of liquor when you approach the people you want to connect with. Impressions count. Make the right one.

Embrace discomfort.

When networking with powerful company execs, feeling nervous is normal. Plus, it’s usually a sign that this is the exact person you should be talking to.

Don’t Go Negative.

Whatever you do, don’t go negative. I know that sounds obvious, but it happens all the time, especially if you’re nervous. Don’t complain about how busy you are, how the bartender messed up your drink, or how bad the traffic is getting to work. You want to be remembered, but not as the person who is always negative.

Be confident of your value.

Introducing yourself to an executive can be an intimidating experience, so give yourself an informed pep talk. Before the event, make a list of the things you have done over the past year and understand how what you do may integrate into discussions. Once you’ve got this down, there’s no reason you shouldn’t feel good about yourself. Consider how what you’ve done can integrate with their interests.

The truth is, that if you believe that networking is about building relationships – then you can network anywhere, anytime, and anyplace – as long as you honor the event and focus on building relationships and not merely conducting transactions.

International Networking Week 2018

International Networking Week 2018®

International Networking Week 2018® is an initiative of BNI®. International Networking Week 2018 will feature a number of networking events across the world!

The 2018 International Networking Week® is just around the corner. Are you prepared to build a powerful personal network by inviting a diverse group people to your networking meeting from February 5 through 9, 2018? Check out the promo video for next year’s International Networking Week®. #BNIINW18

Are you planning on participating in International Networking Week®

Join us for the 11th Annual International Networking Week® on February 5-9, 2018

This Year’s International Networking Week Theme: DIVERSITY!

Networks are by nature “clumpy”. We tend to surround ourselves with people who are like us—but that’s not the most powerful kind of network. People tend to cluster together based on education, age, ethnicity, professional status, etc. Therefore, when we surround ourselves with people who have similar contacts it may be difficult to make connections with new people or companies with whom we desire to do business. The more diverse your network, the more powerful it is. It’s the people who are not like you who can connect you to a completely new “cluster.”

One of the most important keys to being successful at building a powerful personal network is diversity. A diverse personal network enables you to have people in your circle as connectors to other people in communities where you may lack contacts.

Please watch this video to learn more…

The goal of International Networking Week® is to celebrate the key role that networking plays in the development and success of businesses across the world. Simultaneous events will be held globally to celebrate International Networking Week®. For more information or to promote your local networking event please see internationalnetworkingweek.com

The Networking Scorecard™ App provides you with a mobile solution to measuring your networking efforts. If you’re ready to build connections that turn relationships into profitable customers, this mobile app is for you! The map can be downloaded from the Google play store. However, the app will soon available in the Apple Store for iPhones. GET THE MOBILE APP on Android or Sign up for the soon-to-be-released Apple version

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