9 Questions to Help You Start Gaining Visibility through Volunteering

One of the first steps toward networking your business is to become more visible in the community. Remember that people need to know you, like you and trust you in order to refer you. Volunteering can position you to meet key people in your community. It connects you with people who share your passion. It gives you opportunities to demonstrate your talents, skills and integrity, as well as your ability to follow up and do what you say you are going to do. It instantly expands the depth and breadth of your network.

 

People who volunteer demonstrate their commitment to a cause without concern for personal gain. Thus, you should be volunteering with organizations or causes for which you hold genuine interest and concern. If administrators or other volunteers perceive that you are in it primarily for your own gain, your visibility will work against you, and you will undermine your own goals.

Volunteering is not a recreational activity; it’s a serious commitment to help fulfill a need. To find an organization or cause that aligns with your interests, you need to approach volunteerism with a healthy level of thought and strategy.

Start by asking yourself the nine questions below.

1. What do you enjoy doing for yourself in your spare time?

2. What hobbies do you enjoy?

3. What sports do you know well enough to teach?

4. What brings you joy and satisfaction?

5. What social, political or health issue are you passionate about because it relates to you, your family or your friends?

6. Based on the answers to the first five questions, what are three organizations that you can identify that appeal to you? (Examples: youth leagues, libraries, clubs, activist groups, church groups, homeless shelters) Choose the one that most appeals to you, and research the group online and in the community.

7. Now that you’ve researched this group, will it give you an opportunity to meet one of your professional or personal goals? If so, visit the group to “try it on.”

8. Now that you’ve visited this group, do you still want to make a final commitment of your time?

9. Are other group members satisfied with the organization? (To learn this, identify three members of the group to interview in order to assess their satisfaction with the organization. Consider choosing a new member, a two- to three-year member, and a seasoned five- to six-year member to interview.)

Once you’ve done the research required to satisfactorily answer these nine questions, join a group and begin to volunteer for visibility’s sake. Look for leadership roles that will demonstrate your strengths, talents and skills. In other words, volunteer and become visible. It’s a great way to build your personal network.

Are you already an active volunteer?  If so, what organization do you volunteer for and how has it helped you gain visibility within your community?  I’d love to hear about your experiences so please share your thoughts in the comment forum below.  Thanks!

 

Facts + Stories = Powerful Messages

In this video, I talk to Ireland-based business networking expert Sandra Hart about the importance of embedding the facts about your business within the form of a story.

When you’re networking or advertising for your business, the most powerful way to present your message is to use a story to ensure your message is heard.  Facts by themselves are, for the most part, simply not memorable to most people.  If you are a banker and you tell people that you specialize in offering low-interest home loans, people may remember that your bank offers loans, but whether or not they remember what kind of loans you specialize in is left to chance.  However, if instead of simply stating that you specialize in low-interest home loans, you tell a story about how you helped a young family of four to overcome their financial struggles by granting them a low-interest home loan, and how this enabled them to purchase their dream home in the sought after Sunny Pines community, you can bet people are going to remember you when they run across someone looking for a home loan.

Remember, facts only tell but stories sell . . . why is this?  Because people don’t emotionally connect to facts.  People emotionally connect to stories and this is what makes stories memorable.

What is an example of a memorable story you could tell about your business that would powerfully present a fact (or several facts) about the products/benefits/services your business offers?  Please share your story in the comment forum below.  Thanks!

Are You on the Right Track with Career Networking?

Despite what a lot of people might think, there are actually many more similarities between business networking and career networking.  In this short video, I point out some of the key similarities between these two types of networking and explain the ideal time for people to start thinking about their career needs and making efforts toward career networking.

Watch the video now to learn the five magic words that can completely change the dynamic of potentially challenging conversations and open the way to form important, lasting connections and beneficial relationships in your networking efforts and throughout your career.

Also, if you have a story about how you have used basic networking skills within your job, before you were looking for a job, or as you were starting a job, I’d really love to hear from you.  Please share your story in the comment forum below and be sure to submit your story at www.SubmitYourNetworkingStory.comWhen you submit your story via SubmitYourNetworkingStory.com, it will be considered for inclusion in the upcoming networking book I’m writing with Jack Canfield and Gautam Ganglani.  Thanks in advance for your participation–I’m looking forward to reading your stories!

How to Get an Edge and Stand out in the Networking World

To some businesspeople, networking is something to try when they’re hurting for business.  However, networking is actually a primary strategy for generating business relationships that lead to more referrals.  When done correctly, networking is a proactive strategy for business growth, not a reaction to slow business.

I think the most important single idea in networking is to do what others don’t Doing what others don’t gives you an edge.  It can position you head and shoulders above your competition.  It helps you stand out in a positive way and, when you do, people are attracted to you and your business, and your success grows stronger, deeper and more durable.

 

So go beyond the norm. Take the time to gather information for improving your business by getting straightforward feedback from people.  This will help you identify your business’s strengths and weaknesses so you can take corrective action.  Some more ideas that most people don’t take the time or effort to implement are:

  •  Adopt the attitude of a host at networking mixers
  • Use your influence and professional status to help members of your network solve problems
  • Learn to specifically ask for referrals
  • Take every opportunity to educate yourself on how to better your business and your networking efforts

What is something you do to go beyond the norm and do what most people don’t when it comes to your networking efforts?  There are so many things you can do to stand out from the crowd and I’d really love to hear your ideas. Thanks!

Think “That Online Networking Stuff” Is Just for “Young People”?–Think Again . . .

Many of my video blogs of late, including this one, focus on topics that Jack Canfield, Gautam Ganglani, and I will be focusing on in our upcoming book about networking.  I’m posting these videos to share my own thoughts and stories about different networking topics because Jack, Gautam, and I are looking for personal story submissions from networkers across the globe and these videos give examples of the kind of stories we’re looking for.

In this particular video, I talk about different aspects of online networking in relation to face-to-face networking.  It seems that younger networkers (mostly those belonging to the millennial generation) are often all about online networking and don’t see the point in face-to-face; whereas networkers from the older generations tend to be completely on board with face-to-face networking but see online efforts as a fad or a waste of time.  One of the things I emphasize in this video, however, is that networkers today should never take an “either” face-to-face “or” online networking stance–instead, for maximum results and increased opportunity, they should take a “both/and” stance, integrating each type of networking into their overall referral marketing strategy.

If you have a story similar to the one  I share in the video about making powerful connections online, please visit www.SubmitYourNetworkingStory.com to submit your story for a chance to be published in the upcoming networking book which I mention above.  Also, I’d love for you to briefly summarize your story in the comment forum below as well.  Thanks in advance for your participation!

The Darkside of the VCP Process®

The dark side of the VCP Process® occurs when people get disconnected from what networking is really all about–they’re not carrying out the VCP Process as it is meant to be carried out and that’s when everything goes wrong.

As I mentioned in the video blog I posted last week, Jack Canfield, Gautam Ganglani, and I are currently working together on a book about networking.  Today’s video is, again, one of several short videos I’ll be posting which cover networking topics that we will be focusing on in the book.  These videos are the result of brainstorming sessions for the book and in this particular video, I explain the networking disconnect–the unfortunate occurrence which takes place when everybody comes to a networking event to sell yet nobody comes to buy.

If you have a story relating to the ‘networking disconnect’ which fits the criteria I describe in the video, please visit www.SubmitYourNetworkingStory.com to submit your story for a chance to be published in the upcoming book on networking that Jack Canfield, Gautam Ganglani, and I will be publishing.  Also, I’d love for you to briefly summarize your story in the comment forum below as well.  Thanks in advance for your participation!

8 Questions to Ask Yourself When Considering a Sponsorship Opportunity

Local communities and organizations–be they service clubs or professional groups–depend on sponsorships to make ends meet at some of their events.  This is also true for association trade shows and exhibitions.  In most cases, the dollar amounts for sponsoring events of this sort are modest–ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars.

How many times have you been asked to be a sponsor?  How many times have you offered to sponsor a select event in order to help out someone in your network?  Both situations have the potential to give you huge exposure if done well.  In addition, sponsoring an event for someone on your word-of-mouth marketing team enhances the relationship, because you are helping that person meet a goal.

When you consider which people you will network with and where, you’re being selective.  Choose carefully, too, when you’re thinking about sponsoring an event.  Is it a good investment of your time and money?  Whether you’re being recruited or are volunteering, ask yourself the following questions before deciding . . .

  • What is the target market for this event?
  • What kind of exposure do I get for my investment?
  • Can I get this kind of exposure without this investment?
  • Do I get direct access to the audience?
  • Does it make sense for me to be there?
  • Which business or networking goal does it help me complete?
  • Are other sponsors my competitors?
  • How does this enhance my credibility with the person I’m helping?
  • Why wouldn’t I do it?

All of these questions help you determine the value of a sponsorship opportunity.  Now, imagine one day being in charge of putting on a huge event.  Suddenly, someone from your network steps forward to offer you a substantial sponsorship because she heard through the grapevine that your event needed money.  How would you feel about that person?  You can create that same feeling toward yourself in someone else by offering that exact gift.  Be selective, and offer your support in person.  In effect, you are making a tidy “deposit” in your relationship bank account.  This act of generosity definitely comes back to you in time, but for now it simply nurtures the relationship by helping someone in your network meet her goals.

This week, think of the people in your network.  Who do you know that is planning an event–a conference, an open house, a 10K fundraiser–who could use your financial support?  To strengthen your relationship with this individual, offer as much help from your business as you can provide.

Have you sponsored an event in the past?  If so, I’d love to hear about your experience and how it impacted your relationship with the person in charge of the event.  Please share your story in the comment forum below.  Thanks!

The VCP Process® Explained–What’s Your VCP Story?

As some of you may know, Jack Canfield, Gautam Ganglani, and I are currently working together on a book about networking.  This short video is one of many others, some of which I’ll post in the future, that cover networking topics which we will be focusing on in the book.  The videos are the result of brainstorming sessions for the book and in this particular video, I explain each step of the VCP Process® approach to networking in careful detail, emphasizing that credibility is really the key to networking success.

I share a personal story which demonstrates why trying to drum up referrals from people you’ve never met before is an exercise in futility as you’re not even at the visibility stage with them, and I outline the absolute best way to establish credibility with others.

If you have a story relating to the VCP Process® which fits the criteria I describe in the video, please visit www.SubmitYourNetworkingStory.com to submit your story for a chance to be published in the upcoming book on networking that Jack Canfield, Gautam Ganglani, and I will be publishing.  Also, I’d love for you to briefly summarize your story in the comment forum below as well.  Thanks in advance for your participation!

 

Hyper-Active Visibility Is Not a Good Thing!

Years ago, I met a woman who was known as the consummate networker – she had hundreds (if not thousands) of contacts, giving her a wide-ranging network made up of people from all walks of life.  She was well-known as the go-to person if anyone needed anything.  Then, one day during a conversation she and I were having, she dropped a bombshell . . . she said that her networking efforts weren’t really paying off for her.  She went on at some length about all the groups she went to, all the people she met, and how she had made all these contacts and was continuing to make more all the time but wasn’t actually getting any solid business from her efforts.

Why wasn’t she seeing real results?  Because despite her great talent for making contacts and gaining visibility, she was never really getting to the heart of what networking is about–building relationships.  She was so busy running around and making appearances that she wasn’t ever learning how to actually “work” the networks she had built in order to build deep relationships with people and develop credibility with them.

It’s true that she was visible in the community–very visible, actually.  The problem was that she viewed “activity” as an “accomplishment” when it came to her networking efforts.  Her network was a mile wide but only an inch deep.  She had not taken the next, and most important, networking step with the many, many people in her wide-reaching network–she never devoted the time to developing the kind of rapport with any of them that would allow them really get to know her, like her, trust her, and want to pass her business.

I bring this up because I just recently saw the same thing with someone I’ve known for a few years.  He made a consistent habit of going to every single networking meeting/event he could go to and he was incredibly visible.   Not only was he always at networking meetings but he was always full of energy and enthusiasm from the time he arrived to the time he left.  Again, the problem was in no way due to a lack of activity, effort or enthusiasm in regard to putting himself out there and meeting new people; the problem was that he was running around so much that he never stopped long enough to spend the time necessary to establish the kind of long-term roots that lead to an ongoing, reciprocal referral relationship.

If your goal is to significantly grow your business, networking with your main focus being solely to make as many contacts as possible will not help you achieve your aim.  If you’re networking in this way, you’re also guaranteed to get burned out on networking because constantly being on the go and trying to keep track of hundreds of people who you don’t really know is exhausting.  There needs to be a balance between the visibility-creating aspect of your networking efforts and the credibility-creating aspects of your networking efforts.

What are your thoughts on the ideal networking focus/approach?  What do you feel your main networking focus is currently?  I’d love to hear your thoughts and, also, if you know someone with the type of  hyper-visibility networking style I describe in this blog, please share what you’ve observed as far as their networking technique and how you think it has worked out for them.  Thanks!

 

Lisa Nichols: Powerhouse Speaking to Build Business

In this short video, I’m joined by my good friend, master speaker and trainer Lisa Nichols, to talk about “Powerhouse Speaking.”  It’s nearly impossible to grow a business without speaking, which is why business owners around the world use speaking to increase their customer base.

The question is, what is the most effective way to build your speaking platform and hone your core message in order to create the most revenue and financially infuse your business?  How do you systematically move your audience to action?  Watch the video now to learn how you can become a Powerhouse Speaker, build trust and rapport with your audience within the first seven minutes of speaking, and increase your closing ratio from 10 to 25 percent.

In what ways, large and small, have you used speaking to grow your business? Have you joined a weekly networking group where you give a short speech about your business to your fellow networkers each week?  Have you made a habit of speaking to community service clubs such as Rotary or Kiwanis?  There are so many ways to use speaking to build your revenue stream and I would love to hear about the particular ways you’ve used speaking and what results you’ve experienced from it.  Please share your stories in the comment forum below and, as always, thanks so much for watching my video blogs and participating by offering your feedback–I absolutely love hearing from BusinessNetworking.com blog readers!

MotivatingTheMasses

For more information, be sure to visit Lisa’s website: www.MotivatingTheMasses.com/Powerhouse.

Want Visibility, Credibility, & Profitability? First You Need One Thing . . . Relationships

I’ve mentioned the VCP Process® time and time again throughout the years on this blog site because we simply can’t achieve success at networking without strategically building visibility, earning credibility, and then ultimately gaining profitability.  The key to all three of these things, however, is found in one thing . . . relationships.

In this short video, my good friend Lisa Nichols and I explain how building quality relationships is the single most powerful thing you can do to position yourself for success and fulfillment in every area of your life.  As Lisa puts it, when you nurture your relationships with good intention, people will innately want to give back to you.  Lisa talks about how she has built her entire business through investing in quality relationships (as have I) and because of this, her business has grown by double digits each and every year.

Lisa and I are a perfect example of how building quality relationships with others can enrich your life and your business in amazing ways.  Over the years since we first met at a TLC Conference, we have developed a deep respect for one another and an irreplaceable friendship through our mutual dedication to helping each other in any way we can.

Watch the video now and think about how you might take specific actions in the coming weeks to invest in building quality relationships with those around you . . . who would you most like to approach and ask, “How can I help you? . . . Is there something I might be able to do for you in order to help you meet your goals?”

I would love to hear your feedback on this video or how you are going to take action in the near future toward nurturing your new and existing relationships.  Please leave your ideas and thoughts in the comment forum below–AND . . . I’ll send a surprise gift to the first ten people who add to their comment the correct answer as to where another of my good friends (Bob) is hiding in this video.  He may not be so easy to spot this time but I promise he’s there just begging to be noticed!  (NOTE: To ensure you receive your gift, you’ll need to send your full name and mailing address to Erin@bni.com after you leave your comment in the comment forum below).  Thanks in advance for your input and participation!

Bob2

Also, Bob says he really recommends that you click here (www.MotivatingTheMasses.com) to read more about Lisa and the inspiring work she does on a daily basis. 

 

Tiffanie Kellog: Facts May Tell But Stories Sell

I’ve done quite a few video blogs with Tiffanie Kellog and there’s a very good reason for that . . . she is an outstanding Referral Institute® Trainer, Consultant, & Speaker and she has an unending supply of highly useful ideas and comments to offer.

In this video, I talk with Tiffanie about the power of using compelling stories as testimonials for your products and/or services.  Everyone who makes an effort to build their business through referral marketing has the same goal–to have all those in their network talking positively about their business on their behalf.  So, the best thing to do in order to achieve this goal is to arm those in your network with compelling stories of how you’ve helped clients in ways that have transformed their lives in some aspect . . . your fellow networkers can then share these stories with others who may be potential prospects for you, thus creating the most powerful form of a testimonial you can receive.

Watch this short video now to find out why testimonials that simply state facts about your business do nothing more than tell and how in order to really sell someone on your product or service, you need compelling stories.  Remember . . . facts tell, stories sell!

Be sure to check out Tiffanie’s website by clicking here or visiting TiffanieKellog.com and if you have a compelling story about how you’ve helped a customer or client that you think would be a great testimonial for your business, please share it in the comment forum below–you never know who will see it and you might even generate some referrals by sharing it!

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