Andy Lopata

The A-Z of Networking: E 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

Tim Roberts

The Top Five Networking Mistakes – Guest video blog by Tim Roberts

BNI Executive Director, Tim Roberts, shares his tips on how to make your networking more effective by avoiding these five common mistakes.

Tim Roberts shares these tips to avoid while networking:

  1. Sales approach: People are not at networking events to buy things
  2. No preparation: A failure to plan
  3. Not consistent: Only networking occasionally
  4. Talks too much: Being a good listener is Ivan Misner’s number one characteristic of a good networker
  5. Making Assumptions: You do not know who other people know

Tim’s number one tip with networking: Working to better your skills and learning how to use them effectively is what really counts.

Click here to watch this video

Apron

Put On An Apron.

There were a fair number networking groups around when I started BNI in 1985.  However, they were either really mercenary or too social.  I knew the only way BNI could stand out as a networking organization is by having a genuine focus on giving first and getting second.

Years ago, a brand new BNI member shared with his local BNI Director that he had just had an epiphany.  “You know,” he said, “this whole concept of Givers Gain, and helping other businesses so they help you, it’s a little bit like taking off your bib and putting on an apron. I have lived my profes­sional career trying to find ways to close deals and get what I want in business by having others help me. I think I’ve missed the point. Networking is really about trying to find ways to help other people. You take off that bib and put on an apron, you help others and they will help you.”

When I started BNI, I focused the meetings on building relationships by helping others first and that’s what the philosophy “Givers Gain” is all about. This philosophy is a standard that we should all apply to ourselves and how we behave with other people, not a stick we use to get someone to do something we think they should be doing. If you bring in other people into your network who embrace and employ this core value, you will create an amazing and powerful network.  Therefore, take off that bib and put on an apron!

 

 

Behavioral Profiles

Understanding Behavioral Profiles

I’m looking forward to presenting “Behavioral Styles in Networking” next week on Tuesday, March 14, 2017 from Noon to 1pm EASTERN DAYLIGHT TIME as part of @BNI – The World’s Leading Referral Organization’s #BusinessBuilders webinar series.

Register here:

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8829787935322540548

Understanding behavioral profiles is essentially about understanding the four different styles of behavior when looking at individuals.  It  is an excellent way to gain knowledge about how to craft your sales and reporting program to the style of communication most comfortable to the client as well as how to best connect with your fellow networkers.  All customers and all networkers like to be communicated with in a manner that is most familiar to them, and knowing their personality profiles/behavioral styles helps you customize a sales or networking approach for each unique individual.

RFORBlog

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.

Join me on my webinar next week to learn more about these traits.

 

Andy Lopata

“D IS FOR Networking” by Andy Lopata (GUEST VIDEO BLOG)

Guest Video by Andy Lopata about the A to Z’s of Networking.

This video introduces the “D’s” of Networking from Andy Lopata

  • Deliver
  • Dialogue
  • Diversity
  • Digital
  • Dynamic
  • Disarm
  • Definite Purpose
  • Dedication
  • Determination
  • Defer Judgement

Please watch this video to learn more about Andy’s tips. https://youtu.be/H7iBIvY0eck

Top Characteristics

The Top Characteristics of a Great Networker (pt 2)

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.  From those responses, I have identified the top characteristics of what people believe makes a great networker and have listed them here. Each one of the characteristics below ties into the notion of “farming” not “hunting.”  It’s about building mutually beneficial business relationships. Only then will you succeed in creating a powerful, personal network.

  1. 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.
  1. 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.”
  1. Trustworthy. One respondent said best when she said: “it doesn’t matter how successful the person is, if I don’t trust them, I don’t work with them. When you refer someone you are putting your reputation on the line. You have to be able to trust your referral partner and be trusted in return. Neither you nor anyone else will refer a contact to someone who can’t be trusted to handle it well.
  1. Approachable. One respondent said that people “will forget what you said and what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel”. Effective networking starts with approachability – everything else listed above follows from this.

As a young man, I studied under Warren Bennis, who was at the time, the world’s leading expert on leadership.  He taught me that understanding the “characteristics” of a great leader is important.  However, what is even more important, is understanding how to apply those characteristics.  He told me; “know what you are good at and work to enhance those skills.  Know what you’re not good at and surround yourself with people who can help you improve those skills”. 

As with leadership, I believe that networking skills are very important.  What’s even more important, however, is working to improve them and learning how to use them effectively.  That’s what really counts.

What are the Top Three Characteristics?

Check out my blog from January for the top three characteristics of what people believe makes a great networker.

The Top Characteristics of a Great Networker (pt 1)

Marc-William Attie

The Impact of Follow-Up in Sales and Networking

International Networking Week: Follow-up tips from various international BNI leaders

Submitted by Marc-William Attié
Directeur National, France et Belgique francophone

In order to get most of the International Networking Week, be aware of the impact of Follow-Up in Sales. Following up is a must to be in the position to succeed. This is the case in Networking, in our personal life, with our children, in managing our health, in financial management, in Business, etc…. Follow-up is one of the most important behavior to reach a high level of efficiency.
 
Follow-up and Sales
Here is an interesting statistic which proves the importance of follow-up in sales from the National Sales Executive Association:
40% of Salespeople never follow up with a prospect
25% make a second contact and stop
12% male three contacts and stop
only 10% make more than three follow-ups
and now be aware that only 2% of sales are made on the first contact
3% on the second
5% on the third
10 % on the fourth
and 80% on the firth to the twelfth contact.
What salesman do you want to be? You can easily decide.
 
Follow-up and Networking
During this International Networking Week, you will be meeting some potential future customers. I don’t recommend that you try to hard sale to the people you are going to meet. But if you want to get most of these new contacts remember that in order to create a relationship which will ease the future sales process you need to follow-up. Here are some quick tips:
1) Take note on the business card you will receive to keep track on some specific info
2) Send a personalized thank you email immediately after the event
3) Connect with those people on LinkedIn and create files in your CRM or equivalent (write a note about how you met and about what you can do for them.
4) Ask for phone and in-person meeting appointment one week later (the persons you want to reconnect with)
5) During these phone calls and in-person meetings give, ensure you give them something they can benefit from (information, connection, advise, .. remember you took note during the event).
6) Ask for help, people like to be useful.
7) Plan to have follow-up emails every 3-6 months and a call or in-person meeting every year.
Remember that follow-up is one of the most important behavior to reach a high level of efficiency. 

International Networking Week 2017

International Networking Week 2017

Welcome to International Networking Week 2017

Ivan Misner welcomes you to and officially opens the 2017 International Networking Week with this video. Please share this video in your BNI chapter meetings this week. For more information about International Networking Week, please view our website and watch the video at http://internationalnetworkingweek.com/

First Impression

“How to Make a Great First Impression ” By Paul Furlong

Guest video by Paul Furlong about making a good first impression when asked, “What do you do?” at a networking event.

Please watch this video to learn  Paul’s three tips when you are asked, “What do you do?”:

https://youtu.be/I0w1JOFdwCw

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