Does Your Follow up Leave Something to Be Desired?

It’s no secret that a huge part of a networker’s success is tied to their effectiveness at one thing—following up with the contacts they make.  Networking without following up is—to put it bluntly—nothing more than a waste of time.

So, it makes sense that one of the questions I’m most often asked is about follow up.  No matter what part of the world I’m in, one of the first things people tend to ask is what I believe is the best way to follow up with new networking connections.

In this video, I share my answer to this question and if follow up is something you struggle with, I think you’ll find what I have to say quite reassuring because the most effective way of following up is much simpler than you might think.

Do you have a method of following up which has been particularly effective for you?  If so, please share it in the comment forum below.  Also, if you have an interesting story about how you followed up with someone and left a lasting impression on them or remarkable things happened as a result of your follow up, please share your story via www.SubmitYourNetworkingStory.comWhen you submit your story, it will be considered for inclusion in an upcoming networking book I’m writing with Jack Canfield, and Gautam Ganglani.  Thanks in advance for your participation!

Did Woody Allen Get it Right?

Woody Allen is often quoted as saying that “80% of success is showing up.”  It’s a great phrase and there certainly is some truth to it (you may be able to guess what’s coming next . . .); however, is it completely accurate?  I don’t believe so. Woody Allen1

I believe showing up is, indeed, the first step toward success yet there’s a lot more which must be done after simply showing up in order to achieve any degree of significant success.  I bring this up because a year ago I had a conversation with a man about his participation in a networking group and he used this quote from Allen to argue that he should be experiencing significantly more success from his networking efforts than he currently was, simply due to his dedication to showing up and maintaining perfect attendance at networking functions.  I asked if he was doing some specific things which I feel are very important in order to succeed in a networking group and he said “no.”

I told him that I firmly believe taking action (beyond simply showing up) is key in order to achieve real results and, to put it mildly, that did not make him happy; he was beside himself with agitation in response to my suggestion.  He felt that just being there regularly at meetings and functions should yield the results he wanted from his network.  Well, based on the results he was getting, he was absolutely mistaken.

Years ago, I was filmed by Rhonda Byrne for the film – The Secret (about the law of attraction).  If you saw The Secret and don’t recall seeing me in it, that’s because the segment of film I was featured in ultimately ended up being cut during the editing process.  However, what I talked about in that never-aired segment was that one of the things I love most about the law of attraction is that it’s a great starting point for success (in my opinion).  I’d like to take a second though to clearly point out that the word “action” is part of the word “attraction.”  I believe we must first attract what we want in life but that’s not where things end . . . we must then do our part taking the appropriate action in order to achieve what we desire.  Unlike a portion of the film which talks about having a personal genie who will do your bidding upon your command, I believe WE are our own “genie” and that we must take action to attract and achieve what it is that we want.  Attraction without action is basically wishful thinking.  Wishful thinking alone does not allow you to achieve success.

Going back to Allen’s assertion that “80% of success is showing up”–showing up is indeed taking action and this is certainly the first step toward success, which is why I think what Allen says has some truth to it.  However, just showing up is in no way enough.  I believe you actually have to do something when you show up in order to really obtain success, no matter what it is your aiming for in life (what a notion).

What you have to do depends on what you are trying to accomplish.  For the man I was talking to last year, he wanted more results from his network.  Some of the actions I told him he needed to take were to:

  1. Create an introduction that changed every time and focused on a small element of his business.  I told him it was important to train a sales team, not try to make a sale at each meeting.
  2. Schedule one-to-one meetings with a different person from the group each week to build deeper connections and learn more about his fellow networkers (as well as them learning more about him).
  3. Take a leadership role of some kind within the group.  This would help him stand out among the crowd.
  4. Bring referrals (legitimate ones) for other members.  If you want to get business, you have to be willing to give business.
  5. Immerse in referral education.  Read books, blogs (I suggested this blog as a start), articles–anything to help him learn how to engage in the networking process more effectively.

There is so much more he could have done but the list above is a good start for any networking action plan.  I am pleased to say that, to his credit, he actually took my advice (especially the bit about immersing himself in referral education).  Not long ago, I spoke with the man again and he shared with me that his referrals have gone up dramatically over the last year.  Interestingly enough, we ended that last conversation with him stating, “Woody Allen only got it partially right . . . 80% of success BEGINS with showing up.”  Needless to say, I agreed.

I’d love to get your feedback on what I’ve talked about in this post.  What are your ideas about the law of attraction in relation to success?  Are there specific action steps you’ve taken which have made a dramatic difference for you on your path to success in one or more of your networking, career, or life endeavors?  Please leave your thoughts in the comment forum below–I’d love to hear from you!

Does Your Networking Group Put Enough Emphasis on Quality?

In order for a networking group to be successful and thus ensure optimum networking results for each of its members, the first thing the group needs to do is ensure they are embracing quality.

Embracing quality means being very selective about who you bring into the group.  The only people you should be inviting into the group are quality business professionals who have a positive, supportive attitude and are good at what they do.  If an individual does not meet these criteria, they should not be permitted into the group, period.

Effective networking is dependent on the quality of the relationships are developed within any given networking group, therefore it should go without saying that embracing quality also means building deep relationships among all referral partners in order to generate more referrals.  If your network is a mile wide and an inch deep, you won’t be getting the referrals you expect.

Another aspect of embracing quality is ensuring quality participation which means there absolutely must be accountability within the group.  One of the greatest strengths of a good network is that many of the members are friends.  One of the biggest weaknesses, however, is that . . . well . . . many of the members are friends; friends don’t generally like to hold other friends accountable.  You need to remember, as do your fellow networking group members, that the purpose of your group is not to be a friendship club–your purpose is to be a referral group and in order to generate quality referrals, all members of the group must hold each other accountable for maintaining quality participation.

If you expect the best from your fellow referral partners, you’ll get it.  Likewise, if you expect less than the best from them, you’re guaranteed to get that as well.  Why accept mediocrity when excellence is an option?  Accountability within a group will help all involved to achieve excellence.

The last part of embracing quality is applying the Givers Gain® philosophy within the networking group (i.e., when each member focuses on helping their fellow members achieve goals, gain referrals, and grow business, their fellow members will reciprocate by helping them back in the same way).  The more members who live this philosophy (particularly as it relates to referrals), the more successful a group will be.

How does your networking group currently excel at embracing quality?  Which aspects of embracing quality could your group stand to improve upon?  Please share your thoughts in the comments section and I’ll be more than happy to offer suggested solutions to any challenges your group may be having with putting enough emphasis on quality. Thanks!

Does the Thought of Introducing Yourself at Networking Meetings Make You Panic?

If the thought of giving a brief introduction of yourself and your business at networking meetings makes your palms sweat, read on . . .

When participating, even as a guest, in various networking meetings or functions, the fact is that you will be required to introduce yourself sooner or later.  Preparing a script for introducing yourself will improve your results.  One of your scripts should be an overview of what you do.  Other presentations can address various aspects of your product or service.  Here’s the script sequence I recommend:

  • Your name
  • Your business or profession
  • Brief description of your business or profession
  • Benefit statement of one of your products or services
  • Your name again

Your name and your business profession are easy enough.  A brief description and a benefit statement can be separate items,  but more often they are intertwined in your message.  It’s fairly easy to combine your business with the benefits of your product or service.  I suggest telling people what you do, as well as what you are:

“I’m a financial planner and I help people plan for their future”  or “I’m an advertising and marketing consultant; I help companies get the most out of their advertising dollar.”  These explanations are more effective than saying, “I do financial planning,” or “I plan advertising campaigns.”

In many situations, you’ll be introducing yourself to only one or two people at a time.  Some networking organizations have all the members stand at each meeting, and in round-robin fashion, give a one-minute overview to the entire group.  If you’re a member of a group like this, it is vitally important to vary your presentations.

Many people who are in networking groups that meet every week have a tendency to say the same old thing, time after time.  From what I’ve seen, many weekly presentations are done weakly.  If you don’t vary your presentations, many people will tune you out when you speak because they’ve already heard your message several times.  Your best bet is to give a brief overview, then concentrate on just one element of your business for the rest of your presentation.

If you prepare your brief introduction using these techniques, you will begin to get much more confident at introducing yourself and, what’s better, you’ll begin to get better networking results.  If you try introducing yourself in this way at your next networking meeting or function,

I’d love to hear how it turns out for you–please come back and share your experience in the comments section.  Or, if you’ve already done some things to help you with this issue – share them with us now.  Thanks!

Learning to Use the Law of Reciprocity: 4 Tips

I posted a blog this past Monday explaining what networkers need to know about the law of reciprocity, and I promised that I’d follow up today with some tips on what to keep in mind as you learn to use the law of reciprocity in your networking efforts. Below you will find four very important things to remember:

Tip No. 1–Giving means helping others achieve success. What is your plan to contribute to others? How much time and energy can you spare for this? Do you actively seek out opportunities to help people? You could volunteer to help out with something that’s important to someone in your network, offer advice or support in time of need, or even work hard to connect someone to a valuable contact of yours.

Tip No. 2–The person who helps you will not necessarily be the person you helped. Zig Ziglar says, “If you help enough people get what they want, you will get what you want.” In other words, what goes around comes around. If you focus intently on helping others, you will achieve success in the end.

Tip No. 3–The law of reciprocity can be measured. It is a myth that networking cannot be measured and, in my latest book, Networking Like a Pro, my co-authors and I use the Networking Scorecard Worksheet, part of the Certified Networker Program offered through the Referral Institute, to measure networking. If you apply the law of reciprocity, you will see your weekly total networking score gradually rise.

Tip No. 4–Success takes getting involved. Contrary to Woody Allen’s assertion that “90 percent of success is just showing up,” you have to do more than simply be present to be a successful networker. If you join a chamber of commerce, become an ambassador. If you join a BNI chapter, get involved in the leadership team. If you join a civic organization, get on a committee. The law of reciprocity requires giving to the group; it will pay you back many times over.

A master networker understands that, although networking is not the end but simply the means to growing a business, service to your network of contacts must always be uppermost in your networking activities. Once you have established a solid reputation as someone who cares about the success of others, the law of reciprocity will reward you with an abundance of high quality referrals.

Time Equals Money in Networking

The secret to getting more business through networking is . . . spend more time doing it! OK, well, it’s a little more complicated than that because you have to spend time doing the right things.  However, based on the recently completed Referral Institute study on business networking, we finally have a definitive answer about how the amount of time spent networking impacts the amount of business that is generated.

The most dramatic statistic I have found shows that people who said “networking played a role” in their success spent an average of 6.5 hours a week participating in networking activities. On the other hand, the majority of people who claimed that “networking did NOT play a role” in their success spent only 2 hours or less per week developing their network.

What does this mean? It means there is a direct correlation between the amount of time you devote to the networking process and the degree of success that you realize from it. To illustrate this further, there is a graph below which demonstrates the “average” percentage of business generated from someone’s networking efforts in comparison with the amount of time spent on networking activities.  Here you can clearly see that people who are spending between five to nine hours a week networking are generating (on average) 50 percent of their total business from this activity. 

People who spend, on average, more than 20 hours a week networking are getting almost 70 percent of their business through referrals.

Based on this study, it is clear that people who devote six hours a week or more to networking are generating a large percentage of their business through their efforts. So, it’s time to ask yourself . . . how much time are you spending developing your personal network and what kind of results are you starting to see?

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