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:

  • The Space Violator
  • The Premature Solicitor
  • The New Best Friend
Andy Lopata

The A-Z of Networking: H is for… by Andy Lopata

Another guest video by Andy Lopata about the A to Z’s of Networking.

This month, Andy Lopata shares his networking tips which begin with the letter “H”

• Happiness
• Helping Others
• Honesty
• Honoring your word

and much more…

Click here to watch this video

By knowing why you are networking and what you want to achieve, it is possible to plan accordingly and get great, measurable results.

As a business networking strategist, Andy Lopata works with companies on how to use networking tools to develop their businesses. Networking is not just about sales. Whether for lead generation, breaking down silos internally, recruitment and retention of top staff or developing future leaders, networks and collaboration have a key role to play. Andy works with clients to help recognize that role and put the strategy and skills in place to leverage it.

quality

While Quantity is Important, Quality is King in Networking

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.

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.

Click here to listen to a personal story about this comparison

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.

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.

referral coincidence

Referral Coincidence?

In this video, I share a story about a referral coincidence.

A misconception occurs when someone focuses on the referral rather than on the relationship that produced the referral. Understand the process of building relationships. It’s not the number of contacts you make that’s important, but the ones that you turn into lasting relationships. You’ll always get better results trying to deepen relationships with people you already know than starting relationships with strangers.

Luck is where persistence meets opportunity.

Networking is not about luck, it’s about relationships. No one person is likely to turn your business around, but together, over a long time, they can make a difference.

Click here to watch this video

 

Andy Lopata

The A-Z of Networking: G is for… by Andy Lopata

Another guest video by Andy Lopata about the A to Z’s of Networking.

This month, Andy Lopata shares his networking tips which begin with the letter “G”

• Generosity
• Global
• Goals
• Gratitude
• Guts

and much more…

Click here to watch this video

By knowing why you are networking and what you want to achieve, it is possible to plan accordingly and get great, measurable results.

As a business networking strategist, Andy Lopata works with companies on how to use networking tools to develop their businesses. Networking is not just about sales. Whether for lead generation, breaking down silos internally, recruitment and retention of top staff or developing future leaders, networks and collaboration have a key role to play. Andy works with clients to help recognize that role and put the strategy and skills in place to leverage it.

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.

 

Andy Lopata

The A-Z of Networking: F is for… by Andy Lopata

Another guest video by Andy Lopata about the A to Z’s of Networking.

This month, Andy shares his networking tips which begin with the letter “F”

• Farming
• First Impressions
• Focus
• Follow-up
• Friendships

and much more…

Click here to watch this video

By knowing why you are networking and what you want to achieve, it is possible to plan accordingly and get great, measurable results.

As a business networking strategist, Andy Lopata works with companies on how to use networking tools to develop their businesses. Networking is not just about sales. Whether for lead generation, breaking down silos internally, recruitment and retention of top staff or developing future leaders, networks and collaboration have a key role to play. Andy works with clients to help recognize that role and put the strategy and skills in place to leverage it.

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.

Networker

The Top Five Characteristics of a Great Networker

Recently, I took the opportunity to gather almost 3,400 survey responses from business people around the world.   I gave them a list of almost 20 different characteristics on networking and I asked them to pick the top behaviors they’d like to see in a great networker.  From those responses, I have identified the top characteristics of what people believe makes a great networker and have listed them here in this video.

Good Listener.

At the top of the list is being a good listener.  Our success in networking depends on how well we can listen and learn. The faster you and your networking partner learn what you need to know about each other, the faster you’ll establish a valuable relationship. A good networker has two ears and one mouth and should use them both proportionately.  Listen to people’s needs and concerns and find opportunities to help them.  You can’t help others if you don’t know what they need, and you find that out by listening. In many ways, networking is about connecting the dots but to do that you have to listen so that you can help people make the connections they are looking for.

Positive attitude.

The first thing that people see from you is your attitude, how you take things in general. A consistently negative attitude makes people dislike you and drives away referrals; a positive attitude makes people want to associate and cooperate with you. Positive business professionals are like magnets.  Others want to be around them and will send their friends and family to them.

Helps Others/Collaborative.

People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.  Helping people shows that you care.  One survey respondent said that “people want to network with individuals who have a collaborative attitude.”  Helping others can be done in a variety of ways. For example, clip a helpful article and email it to someone. Furthermore, put them in touch with a person who can help them with a specific challenge.  Several respondents commented about not wanting to network with people who are “in it for themselves.” A willingness to collaborate and help others is essential. It builds trust and helps establish a strong relationship.

Sincere/Authentic.

You can offer the help, the thanks, the listening ear, but if you are not sincerely interested in the other person, they will know it!  Those who have developed successful networking skills convey their sincerity at every turn.  One respondent stated that “it’s all about the authenticity” that someone shows you.  We have all seen people who are seemingly good at networking but lack sincerity.  Faking it isn’t sustainable.

Follows Up.

If you offer opportunities, whether a simple piece of information, a special contact, or a qualified business referral, to someone who consistently fails to follow up, you’ll soon stop wasting your time with this person.  One respondent said that when it comes to networking, “the fortune lies in the follow up” and many people just “don’t follow up anymore.”

Click here to watch the video

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