Frank De Raffele: Localism Is the New Patriotism

The following post is a guest blog written by my friend Frank De Raffele (pictured at right below).  It does focus on America; however, I’m willing to bet that it will get you thinking about localism in you own place of residence, no matter what area of the world you live in.

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“Localism Is the New Patriotism” by Frank De Raffele

Did you know that in 2010 the American people said that they trusted the small business owner over 13 other institutions? According to the Pew Research Center, 71% of those surveyed said that they trusted small business. Only 22% trusted banks & financial institutions and 24% trusted Congress (well no surprise for those two). Large Corporations and the Federal Government were tied with only 25% of the people trusting them. This is interesting; another tie between Federal Government Agencies and National News Media at 31%. Hmmmm. Does that mean people think the News Media and “certain” government agencies are in bed together? I wonder. 32% trusted Labor Unions and 33% trusted the Entertainment Industry. (Those poor innocent actors.) Here is one that is not just surprising but shocking and about to cause a stir of controversy among you and your friends, family and co-workers: 45% trust the Obama Administration! (I am anti-political so this is not a judgment just an observational comment.) Our beloved Colleges and Universities, 61% had trust in them. Church and Religious organizations came in third at 63%. What was above them you ask? Technology companies at 68% and YOU the Small Business Owner at 71%. Imagine that, you are now more popular than God! Didn’t a Rock Band once say that about 40 years ago? Don’t let your ego get too big and start increasing prices by 20%. We don’t love you that much.   Makes you think though. When people are shopping (at least in 2010) were they saying, “Hmm, a sweater or Jesus? Shoes or Jesus?” I wonder?   Now, before you start sending me hate mail, you do know I am joking about the whole being more popular than God and deciding between Jesus and a good pair of shoes, don’t you? But…..a nice car?

On a more serious note, this is great news. It means that with all that has gone on in the last couple of years, that we the consumers believe in our local business owners. It shows that people understand that Localism is a key to our success as a community, a region and a nation. As a capitalist, entrepreneurial society, the support of our local small business entrepreneurs is of the utmost importance.

The question is, why? Why do you think that the American people trust the small business owner over almost every other institution including: Police, Educational Institutions, Religious Institutions and the Media? Because your local. Because you are one of them. Because they know you, trust you and like you. We the American People understand that supporting each other is the key to our success. Our country cannot exist with a selfish mentality. We understand, now more so than ever, that we must give to each other. We must support each other. And from a monetary standpoint, that begins with buying locally. Supporting our local small business entrepreneur. Therefore, if I really love this country the best way to show my patriotism (besides being one of our troops, God Bless Them) is by shopping in my locally owned business.

As a small business owner, what does this mean to you? Now that you know this, how do you capitalize on it? Keep up your marketing, but more importantly get yourself out in front of your local neighbors. Make sure you are involved in the Chamber of Commerce, Lions or Rotary or Kiwanis. Volunteer for local charities or get on boards, be a member of BNI. The more people know you, trust you , like you, the more they will want to give their money to you versus someone else. YOU don’t need to tell them to buy local. You need to show them that you are local. Let them see you out participating, helping and making a difference. Show that you live locally and that your kids go to school here. Hire locals to work with you. The more invested they see that you are in the community the more they trust you. The more “you the business owner” becomes one of us, the local people who need to spend our money wisely.

No, you’re not bigger than God or The Beatles. But you are important to us, your neighbors. I want to know that you respect my money. I work hard for it, very hard. I don’t mind spending it, but I HATE giving it to businesses that don’t respect it. I will not buy just based on price, I will purchase based on the value you show me. If it costs a little more from you versus the “Big Guy” down the street, I will spend with you, if you show me the value.

Localism being the New Patriotism is great news for all of us. But as the business owner you now have a greater responsibility to prove yourself to your customers, not less. We are putting our trust in you and supporting you; Don’t Blow It! If you take advantage of me, I will not only never do business with you again….I will make sure all I know and some I don’t, never do business with you as well.

We are Patriotic. We are Loyal. We are Committed. But we won’t be taken advantage of. America is an amazing place with amazing people. People that are full of positivity, dreams and cheering for the underdog. In the last couple of years we have been the underdog and we have been cheering hard and working harder. We are clawing our way back and we will be better than ever before. Let’s continue our new form of Patriotism by being stronger and stronger supporters of our local businesses. In this case especially, when one wins, we all win!

Simple, Compound, & Complex Referrals

In this video, filmed at a business networking conference in Nashville just last week, I talk to my very good friend and Business Networking and Sex Co-author, Frank De Raffele, about the difference between simple, compound, & complex referrals.

Frank explains the importance of understanding that there’s a certain amount of time and energy spent correlating to each different type of referral and that there is, indeed, one type of referral that is considered the ‘ultimate’ referral–the type of referral that we’re all ideally searching for.

Watch the video now to learn the difference between these three types of referrals and to learn what it takes to achieve the ‘ultimate’ referral.  After watching the video and learning to differentiate between the referral types, I’d love for you to share which type of referral category that either the last referral you gave or received fell under and the story behind you giving or receiving the referral.  Please share your story in the comment forum below–thanks!

Want to Achieve Networking Success with the Opposite Sex?–Advice for Women & Men

Last week I posted a summary of the conclusions my Business Networking and Sex co-authors and I came to after surveying over 12,000 people and conducting months of research.  I promised that this week I would post advice for both women and men in achieving networking success with the opposite sex so below I’ve outlined some key tips Frank De Raffele, Hazel Walker, and I put together.

We Say . . .

We’re all trying to get to the same place.  It will be much more profitable for all of us if we can help each other along the way.  Here are a few things to guide your success in networking with the complementary gender:

For the Ladies

  • Don’t get stuck in the credibility phase of the VCP Process®.  Ask for what you want.
  • When asking for help, communicate clearly exactly what it is that you want.
  • Make time for networking.
  • When speaking to men, try to impress them and share your accomplishments.
  • When spoken to inappropriately, speak up about it immediately.
  • Dress for business at business events.
  • Put systems in place to track your business.
  • Stay in contact with and follow up on leads, referrals, and acquaintances made.
  • Diversify your networks.
  • Remember that networking is ultimately about getting business, so ask for both business and referrals.
  • Convey an image to others that you are a serious businessperson, in all that you do.
  • Get educated about referral systems.
  • Don’t lump all men into the same group.

For the Guys

  • Slow down and build the relationship.
  • Work through the VCP Process® in the proper order of its phases.  Don’t race through the credibility phase.
  • Make and maintain eye contact.
  • Listen and ask relational questions.
  • Don’t assume that women don’t take their business seriously.
  • Don’t hit on women at networking events.
  • Edit what you are about to say, using filters to sift out what is not business appropriate.
  • Stay in contact with and follow up on leads, referrals, and acquaintances made.
  • Stay informed about the best, most current, and cutting-edge networking practices.
  • Develop and use systems for your networking activities.
  • Make time for networking.
  • Speak to relate, not just to impress.
  • Remember that women are at networking events for business gain, just as you are.

The difference between the genders when it comes to networking is a great advantage, not a disadvantage.  By following the tips we have outlined above, you should be able to develop more productive relationships with members of both sexes.  Also, be sure to visit www.BusinessNetworkingAndSex.com if you would like to follow the latest developments on the subject of business networking and the genders.

Survey Says: Summarized Conclusions about Business Networking & Gender

What have my Business Networking and Sex co-authors and I concluded after 12,000 individual surveys, almost 1,000 comments and stories, numerous interviews, months of research, and years of experience?  Below is a recap of the facts we uncovered.

Study Findings, Summarized

  • Men and women were closer together than we expected in most areas.
  • However, the perception of the difference is very dramatic.  Remember: The exception becomes the perception.
  • Women feel that networking has played a slightly larger role in their success than men.
  • Women use a much wider variety of techniques to learn their networking skills than men do.
  • Men are more likely to focus on business first than women are.  Women are a little more likely to focus on building the relationship first–then the business.
  • The time of day for networking was not a big issue for either gender.  This was a surprise to us.
  • Family obligations were more of a problem for women.
  • Women definitely did not feel as safe as men in attending evening events.
  • Men preferred either a structured or unstructured networking event.  Women felt okay with either.
  • Both men and women felt that other people were more uncomfortable networking than they felt about it themselves.
  • Men felt stronger about transactional aspects of networking.  Women felt stronger about relational aspects of networking.
  • Men spent a little more time networking.
  • Women received a higher percentage of their business from networking than men.
  • The more time either men or women spent in their networking efforts, the higher the percentage of business they generated.
  • The more often people used systems to track their business from networking, the more likely they were to feel that networking played a role in their success.

Men and women are not so different in the success they desire in business and networking.  However, the process, the mindset, and the way of making the results happen are very different.  The reason is that we have different ways of viewing the world.  Some of this comes from nature and some from nurture.  What it means is that if we want to be more effective, we must learn how to respect, appreciate, and embrace one another’s differences.  We must understand that we can work more effectively together as a team in business and in our networks.  We just need to learn to be adaptable, empathetic, sensitive, and understanding that THEY are not you.

You can and will beat the odds.  The exception doesn’t have to become the perception.  It can be you! 

Come back next week for some advice from the whole team of Business Networking and Sex co-authors–these tips will help you achieve your highest potential when it comes to networking and guide you into your brightest future in referral marketing.

My ‘Business Networking and Sex’ Epiphany

In this video, Hazel Walker, one of my Business Networking and Sex co-authors, asks me what I learned from the research we conducted for the book and, specifically, what my biggest epiphany was.

I explain the answer that really blew me away and caused me to come to a major realization when I was interviewing someone prior to writing the book.  I’m telling you, no matter how much you may learn about networking, there’s always more to learn!

Business Networking and Sex: Survey Says . . . Why This Book?

In this short video from a business networking conference this past November, I offer a very brief overview of why my co-authors and I decided to conduct a four-year, worldwide survey of over 12,000 businesspeople and write Business Networking and Sex. I also offer an important warning about the book (no need to be scared by this . . . chances are it will only pique your interest a little and maybe even cause you to chuckle).

If are interested in reading the book, be sure to watch this quick video and, by all means, feel free to come back and leave any comments about what you think of the concept of the book, any expectations you may have prior to reading it, etc. . . . I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Video: Learning to Network–What’s Your Tactic?

 

How did you learn (or how are you learning) to network?  Do you think there is a difference in the way women learn to network vs. the way men learn to network?  If you think both genders learn to network in relatively similar ways, let’s just say you’re in for a surprise . . .

In this short video, my Business Networking and Sex co-authors and I discuss five different ways of learning to network and how, based on our worldwide survey of over 12,000 businessmen and businesswomen, one of the genders generally utilizes almost all five ways of learning to network while the other gender is not so diverse with their learning strategy.

Can you guess which gender dabbles in a wide variety of ways of learning to network and which gender keeps a more narrow focus?  Watch the video and then let me know whether your predictions prior to watching match up with what we reveal in the video and whether the way you learned/are learning to network jives with what our survey results specified about how your gender learns to network-I’d love to hear your comments!

Business Networking and Sex . . . and Shopping?

In this video, my Business Networking and Sex co-authors and I explain the very different ways in which men and women shop for any given item and, aside from learning a thing or two from this one, I guarantee you won’t be able to keep from laughing at Frank and Hazel’s antics!

After watching the video, come back and leave a comment . . . do you think the observations we talk about in this video ring true in your experience?

International Networking Week® 2012–New Video

 

 

The new video for International Networking Week 2012 has just been released!

This short, 9-minute video, sponsored by Referral Institute (www.ReferralInstitute.com) and Entrepreneur Press (www.Entrepreneur.com), explains how the week of February 6th-10th, 2012 will bring about great opportunities for businesspeople around the world and increase worldwide awareness about the powerful benefits of business networking.

2012 will mark the 6th annual celebration of International Networking Week which is now recognized by many countries across the globe, with thousands of events being held during the celebratory Week.  One of the main goals of the Week is to help businesspeople everywhere build their networking skills and expand the opportunities within their reach and, in the video, my Business Networking and Sex co-authors and I offer some very valuable pointers on where to focus your efforts in order to make the most of International Networking Week.

Don’t wait until the last minute to join in the celebration and start the year off as a better networker–watch the video now, find an event in your area, and come back and let me know what you’ll be doing to recognize International Networking Week.

For additional Information, please visit www.International Networking Week.com.

Preview of Business Networking and Sex Book

Last week I posted a blog asking all BusinessNetworking.com blog readers to take a short survey relating to the book I’m currently writing with Frank De Raffele and Hazel Walker about gender and networking.

The book won’t be released until early next year but I’ve already received several requests for more details in regard to what the book is going to be all about.  In light of that, Frank, Hazel and I decided to make a short video for those who are curious to learn more about our upcoming book.  The video is only a few minutes long and you can view it by clicking on the link above.

I’d love to hear what you think of the concept of the book, or even of just the video, so please feel free to leave a comment.

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